Baby boomer RNs on verge of retirement within three years

Nearly two-thirds of registered nurses older than 54 are considering retirement, and 62 percent of them plan to retire within the next three years, according to a soon-to-be-released survey by AMN Healthcare's Center for the Advancement of Healthcare Professionals.

More than half of RNs are older than 50, an announcement from the San Diego-based healthcare staffing and workforce solutions firm notes, so the findings are significant.

"This data confirms what we've known anecdotally and allows us to finally put dimensions and a timeline around a predicted retirement surge," Marcia Faller, R.N., Ph.D.,chief clinical officer of AMN Healthcare, said in the announcement. "But the harm to the healthcare industry goes beyond the numbers. The loss of this intellectual asset may be acutely felt in terms of quality of care and patient satisfaction."

Other key survey findings:

  • The surge of retirement will severely impact nursing education roles, potentially limiting training opportunities for new nurses.

  • More than 8 of 10 nurses surveyed said they're happy with their career choice, but many are disappointed they don't have enough time to spend with patients and are dissatisfied with their jobs.

  • A majority of nurses surveyed plan to seek a higher degree in nursing. Younger nurses are most passionate about training and education.

The findings about retirements appear to contradict those of a RAND Corp. study released last year that revealed that between 1991 and 2012, 74 percent of nurses were working at 62, and nearly a quarter were working at age 69. Between 1969 and 1990, by contrast, less than half of registered nurses still worked by age 62. The economic uncertainty of the late 2000s prompted some to delay retirement, the study suggested, but researchers also found that nurses liked their jobs and didn't want to leave them.

Judith Shindul-Rothschild, an associate professor at Boston College Connell School of Nursing, noted earlier this year that the average age of nurses has increased to 55 to 60, and the numbers of nurses retiring had slowed, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

To learn more:
- register to see the survey
- read the announcement