Older nurses and employment decisions
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Older nurses and employment decisions

Roger Watson Professor of Nursing
Jill Manthorpe Reader, Community Care
JoyAnn Andrews Research Assistant, School of Nursing, Social Work and Applied Health Studies, University of Hull

Aim To investigate the options, decisions and outcomes for nurses aged over 50 in terms of remaining in, retiring from, or returning to, work in the NHS.

Method Interviews were conducted with 18 employers, advisers and policy makers linked to the nursing labour market. They were conducted by telephone (n=14) or face to face (n=4), recorded (with consent), transcribed and analysed thematically. Interviews were also held with 84 older nurses who were remaining in nursing, had retired or had returned to nursing. One focus group was held with older nurses who ‘remained’ in Scotland (n=11) and the rest of the data were collected in face-to-face and telephone interviews (n=73). Again, interviews were recorded (with consent), transcribed and analysed thematically.

Results There is a gap between the rhetoric of policy and the implementation of practice in the employment of older nurses.

Conclusion Older nurses could continue to make a valuable contribution to the NHS, especially in light of the shortage of nurses, but their value is not always recognised. If older nurses are to continue making a contribution then they need good advice about employment, retirement and pension options.

Correspondence r.watson@hull.ac.uk

Nursing Standard. 18, 7,35-40. doi: 10.7748/ns2003.10.18.7.35.c3480

Published in print: 29 October 2003

Peer review

This article has been subject to double blind peer review