Aims: The aim of the Late Career Nurse research project was to determine the characteristics of nurses working in New Zealand who were born before 1960; their experiences in the workplace; their perceptions of their health and their retirement intentions. This paper reports on the retirement intentions of regulated nurses aged over 50 in the New Zealand workforce. Background: The mean ages of registered nurses in New Zealand has been rising steadily, and 40% are now aged fifty or over (Nursing Council New Zealand 2011) While there is a substantial international literature on the phenomenon and consequences of the ageing nursing workforce, it is unknown whether international experience will predict future nurse behaviour in New Zealand, or how this may impact on nursing workforce modelling or planning. Method: An anonymous on-line survey was emailed to eligible NZNO 1 nurse members over 50 years old in February and March 2012. Quantitative and qualitative analyses of the 3273 responses received were undertaken. Results/findings: New Zealand nursing age demographics have been confirmed and reflected in the respondents to the survey. In concordance with the international literature, good health, access to flexible working options, safe staffing levels and choice of shifts were all very important to older nurses. Evidence of ageism and a bullying culture towards older nurses was reported. Better pay levels were particularly important to younger late career nurses (age 50-55). Specific to New Zealand, lack of retirement funds may delay retirement, and migration to Australia may exacerbate shortages and skill/experience deficits. Conclusions: The New Zealand nursing workforce will be vulnerable to skill and experience shortages if as indicated in this study, 57.2% of nurses aged over 50 retire within the next 10 years, and around 30% within the next 2-5 years. Adoption of measures to ensure better choice of shifts, and continued access to flexible or decreased hours is required, along with less physically demanding work options and roles that recognise and utilise the knowledge, skills and experience of older nurses. These measures have the potential to enable older nurses to continue to contribute for longer to the workforce, albeit on a more part time basis. Better pay, better rostering and safer staffing levels have the potential particularly to reduce the attrition seen in the early to late fifties, and these are urgently advocated. Longer term, access to better retirement planning and financial advice would decrease a considerable source of distress and reduce the numbers of older nurses for whom continuing to work despite ill health is not an option.
https://ojs.victoria.ac.nz/LEW/article/view/1972/1796, 2013, pp. 1 - 9