Nurse Retirement Surge Coming Soon: AMN Survey

Nurse RetirementA majority of baby-boomer nurses say they are considering retirement now that the economy has improved, and most say they will retire within three years, according to a survey of nearly 9,000 nurses by the Center for the Advancement of Healthcare Professionals at AMN Healthcare.

Download the 2015 Survey of Registered Nurses/Viewpoints on Retirement, Education and Emerging Roles.

Of 8,828 nurses who responded to the survey, 62% of those older than age 54 answered “yes” or “maybe” when asked, “Now that the economy has improved, are you thinking more about retirement?”

In addition, 21% of older nurses, or more than one in five, say now that the economy has improved, they will consider moving to part-time work.

Loss of Experienced Nurses Costly to Healthcare

Strong Interest in EducationThe intention to retire among older nurses apparently are not idle musings, because of those planning to retire, 62% say they plan to retire in the next three years.

If older nurses retire and switch to part-time work as this survey indicates, it could cause a serious challenge. Older nurses comprise a disproportionately large cohort in the nursing workforce, so a wave of retirements among them could mean a large loss in numbers. The loss of nursing experience and wisdom also could challenge organizational performance. An institution’s procedures, safety and effectiveness could be compromised from the loss of the experienced nurses’ interpersonal skills, institutional knowledge and ability to perform well under stressful situations. In addition, experienced nurses are needed to mentor novice nurses.

The survey also showed that the retirement surge could hit specialties particularly hard, including nursing instruction. Without adequate nurse educators, the healthcare industry could struggle to secure an adequate supply of nurses.


Strong Interest in Education

The survey contained good news about the strong interest among nurses in pursuing further education and training. Among nurses under age 40, more than three-quarters said they planned to pursue a bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree within the next three years. Survey respondents also showed awareness and interest in new and emerging roles for nurse, with 62% saying they would enter a training program for one of these roles if a program were available.

Many nurses are clearly drawn to the greater autonomy and wider scope of practice of nurse practitioners, with 36% of nurses under 40 saying they are currently enrolled in or are considering pursing a degree in advanced practice nursing.

In addition, the survey also examined nurses’ opinions on the field of nursing, and found that while a very large percentage are satisfied with their choice of nursing as a career, many are not satisfied in their current roles. Large percentages say they do not have enough time to spend with patients and that the quality of care has gotten worse. Some say they often feel like quitting and that they worry their jobs are harming their health.

The biennial survey of registered nurses is available on the AMN Healthcare website website and provides nurses’ views on career plans, education, quality of patient care, and concerns and satisfaction with their profession. This survey report is provided to healthcare leaders and managers, policymakers, regulators, the media and to nurses to enhance understanding of this vital profession.