If you were born between 1946 to 1964 and are a nurse, you are part of the baby boom generation. We were suppose to be leaving the workforce in large numbers but the recession hit and for obvious reasons most nurses chose to stay or return to work.
This is why new nurses have had a hard time recently finding a nursing job. But not to worry new nurses, we aging baby boomers are starting to leave the workforce but in smaller numbers than was expected.
Retirement these days is not what it used to be and “The Longer Goodbye” as quoted in a New York Times headline about retirement, is happening across all industries.
So for mature nurses ( in your 50s or 60s) who want to retire soon or you’re considering leaving nursing but remaining in the the workforce, here is a list of questions to ask yourself now.
What does retirement really mean to you? Does it mean you will retire from your current nursing job but still work elsewhere or will you be traveling, volunteering or working on your hobby?
Do you want to continue working but not as a nurse after you reach a certain age? And if you want to leave nursing completely what would you do? Start researching your options now. Or maybe you want to stay in nursing but in a different capacity such as working for an insurance company or doing research? Be on the lookout for opportunities that are coming with all the changes in healthcare taking place over the next 5 years there is going to be new opportunities for all nurses.
Have you considered decreasing your hours? Can you go part time or to a casual schedule working only 10 – 20 hours a week? Could you afford to do this now or in the near future? Check with your employer to see if this option is available or suggest it if it isn’t.
Are you financially prepared to retire? If not soon, when? And will your finances support the kind of life you want to live when you retire? Cost of living will still go up after you retire while your retirement pay will not and we are all living longer, you may live another 30 years, are you prepared financially?
What are your physical limitations? Doing bedside nursing for 30 to 40 years really takes it’s toll on a nurse’s body, mind and spirit. Will you be able to pay for medical costs for the physical limitations you have now or may have in the future?
There isn’t a right or wrong answer to these questions, it’s what’s best for you and how well you have planned for your retirement.
And good news on the nursing job front for mature nurses who decide to stay working as a nurse.
Employers are understanding the benefits of keeping a seasoned nurse around longer – you’re a wealth of knowledge and with lots of experience, it becomes cost effective for an employer to keep you rather than train a new nurse. Employers are making adjustments in schedules, allowing nurses to work less or on weekends or to work shorter hours such as 2 to 4 hours shifts.
For myself, I will be leaving nursing by the end of this year and embarking on a new adventure as an full time entrepreneur and I am thrilled. Will I miss nursing and being with patients, their families and all the great supportive staff I have worked with over the years? YES!
I know I’ll still be involved in nursing in one way or another but for the second half of my life it will be on my terms.
So if you’re a mature nurse like me, a nurse in her 50s, it’s time to start thinking about what you want to do? Will you remain in the workforce, semi retire or retire completely?
This information comes from the book titled Your Career in Nursing, Chapter 6 called The Mature Nurse – Options and Opportunites is 12 pages dedicated to providing useful information for the mature nurse. Highly recommend!