Quote from poopylala
I notice that most nurses now are younger rather than older (less than 35 years old). Where have all the older nurses gone? Do they tend to work in certain units at your hospital or work in clinics?
From my observation of working as a nurse for more than 20 years and now moving towards the age of 50 I find that most nurses on high traffic/ high workload floors including med/surg and all intermediate care units tend to be of a younger age as you have already observed.
It seems to change when you look at areas that are "less crazy" and offer better work conditions including critical care areas, PACUs, intervention areas.
In the major teaching hospitals, older nurses also gravitated towards the night shift if working on a medsurg or stepdown floor.
Why is this happening?
First of all, many nurses used to move towards shifts that would accommodate their family /family planning better and that used to be night shifts for many or evenings etc. - a lot of them like their arrangement and do not wish to go back to the busier day shifts.
Secondly, some nurses plainly drop out of the hospital once they have family because they are looking for something that fits their lifestyle better.
Thirdly, we are not getting younger....
Fourthly, you discover that the hospital is not the "holy grail" and look into other options that do not require nights and weekends - which tends to be not the hospital environment unless you have a special position or agreement.
I can say that when I got older and got past 35 I noticed that I felt less energetic but also less likely to put up and accept bad working conditions. I became more critical of the way management treats their nurses and asked questions pertaining to how quality of care, workload/support/staffing, and health/satisfaction of myself interfaces. Once it became more important for me to have a job that enables me to do my best work/ quality instead of just pushing the numbers of admissions and discharges on the busy floors with constant running/multitasking/ punitive hospital culture/ unhealthy working climate I took action.
It became less important for me to put the "big names" on my resume because by that time I had already enough work experience in different areas of "big name" hospitals and instead focused on what is important to me now. I also was in the position to take a risk with starting a new job. For some nurses it is more important to suffer through the status quo because they depend on the specific job due to money or arrangements. For me it was more important not to get burned out by the giant churning machine...
It seems that most nurses who want to keep their sanity look to leave the bedside after a few years - favorite places are case management, management (if one is inclined to move over to the dark side..), administration, areas with less patients to take like critical care/PACU....
For a while, home care was also very popular but now it is basically the same craziness as hospital nursing - only that your trunk is full of supplies, you drive around and see one patient at a time. The documentation requirements are crazy.