Retirement in the nursing field.

Posted
by A.B.123 A.B.123 (New) New

There is an issue going on at health care facilities about nurses who are still working as nurses well into their 60's and 70's. Assuming everyone ages differently, consider the effects of aging (such as decrease in vision, hearing, unsteady gait, ect.) do you think they put their patients and themselves at risk for injury? If so do you think there should be a mandatory retirement age for nurses?

Rose_Queen, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in OR, education. Has 17 years experience. 5 Articles; 11,086 Posts

Some nurses in their 20s and 30s can put patients and themselves at risk for injury. It's not so much the age as it is the knowledge and the physical ability. I've seen nurses in their 60s run circles around the 20-something new grad who knows it all, "cause we just learned about that in school". If you're concerned about a nurse you are working with, then you should report facts (NOT opinion) to your manager, who may already be aware of the situation. There are some out there who believe older nurses should retire and make space for new grads; I certainly hope this doesn't turn into that. I also hope this isn't a homework question.

meanmaryjean, DNP, RN

Specializes in NICU, ICU, PICU, Academia. Has 45 years experience. 7,899 Posts

Can you cite specific instances of an experienced nurse putting patients at risk? Or are you just assuming? What types of health care facilities have this 'issue'?

Decreased vision and hearing are found throughout the age spectrum and are easily treated with glasses and hearing aids. A nurse with an unsteady gait would be unlikely to be employed as a bedside caregiver to begin with.

As another poster stated, I feel is FAR more vulnerable to a new grad than an experienced RN.

roser13

roser13, ASN, RN

Specializes in Med/Surg, Ortho, ASC. Has 17 years experience. 6,504 Posts

There is an issue going on at health care facilities about nurses who are still working as nurses well into their 60's and 70's. Assuming everyone ages differently, consider the effects of aging (such as decrease in vision, hearing, unsteady gait, ect.) do you think they put their patients and themselves at risk for injury? If so do you think there should be a mandatory retirement age for nurses?
Is there a specific facility that you are familiar with that is experiencing frail, tottery nurses who cannot read their MARs?

Or is this a generalized assumption?

I truly don't mean to sound cavalier. I have just never heard of this "issue" and am wondering what statistical and/or anecdotal evidence exists to support it.

Edited by roser13

MedChica

MedChica

Specializes in Psych, LTC/SNF, Rehab, Corrections. 562 Posts

What 'issue'?

60 isn't old...and I have 2 aunts that are nursing and in their 70's. My charge is in her 70's, too.

If a nurse can perform the job, why would you pull them off the floor?

You need to re-evaluate how you see 'your elders' and remember that everyone of a certain age isn't one in the same. Just because someone's hitting 70 doesn't mean that you have to take their car keys and make them retire/sit at home 24/7.

They're just old. They're not broken and useless.

On another note - and while we're making poster requests - please don't turn this into an anti-new nurse thread, either.

I notice that OP didn't even mention it and posters are already in here trying to take digs at 'new grads'. Really? LOL

I mean, think about: Someone mentions older nurses/safety issues and, like clockwork, the posters start throwing jabs at new nurses in defense of the older ones among us?

What the hell sort of knee-jerk response is that?

It's an AGEIST issue...not a new grad vs experienced nurse issue.

...and, anyway, new nurses OVERstand that they lack experience and skill. So...why do people on here continuously mock them/us for it? It's ridiculous. Even on the internet, some people don't know better than to play out their adversarial tendencies.

No, it doesn't hurt my feelings. LOL I just think it's stupid and petty. And...I just thought it ironic (how the dialogue's playing out so far) and decided to remark on it.

I'm just saying....

Seems like nurses ought to be trying to work together...and sorry - that can't happen if you consider one part to be less than the whole.

>shrug

Palliative Care, DNP

Palliative Care, DNP

Specializes in Family Nurse Practitioner. 781 Posts

I work on a busy oncology floor. We had a RN that retired last year at 74. She could not keep up but was working full time. Often other RNs picked up her slack. Also, the reports she gave at shift change were terrible.

roser13

roser13, ASN, RN

Specializes in Med/Surg, Ortho, ASC. Has 17 years experience. 6,504 Posts

Welcome to AN.com! You sure picked a great subject for your first post ;)

somenurse

1 Article; 470 Posts

I dislike mandatory retirement ages for anything, as i am almost always against lumping any group of humans all together as "all just the same".

I think older nurses, should be evaluated just like any other nurse-----------based upon her performance, etc. If a nurse, of any age, is having problems, well, those problems need to be addressed, or the nurse has to be let go,

but, i don't see the connection between a nurse having gray hair, and not being able to be an awesome nurse. I don't like "agism" and i suggest each and every nurse,

regardless of her hair color,

be evaluated based upon on her or his performance.

None of the things that the OP lists as "effects of aging" are specific to ONLY older people:

//(such as decrease in vision, hearing, unsteady gait, ect.) //

Any and all of those things can strike various humans at various ages. A nurse of any age, can easily perform well even if she is nearsighted or slightly hard of hearing, using glasses, surgery, or hearing aides, etc.

Even handicapped nurses, of any age, who can not walk well, can occasionally find areas of nursing where they can still nurse.

Edited by Esme12

CapeCodMermaid, RN

Specializes in Gerontology, Med surg, Home Health. Has 30 years experience. 6,089 Posts

I'm 58 and plan on working at least 20 more years. My hearing is better than any 20 year old's and I can still run circles around most of the younger nurses who complain they are exhausted after working 24 hours a week. I work at least 50 hours. People should be judged on their performance and their ability to do the job not on their age.

Edited by CapeCodMermaid
Punctuation

applewhitern, BSN, RN

Specializes in ICU. Has 30 years experience. 1,871 Posts

I have known a few nurses in their early 70's who definitely did need to retire. That being said, I have also known nurses in their early 20's who needed to quit and change careers.

CherylRNBSN

CherylRNBSN

Specializes in critical care, Med-Surg. Has 14 years experience. 182 Posts

There is an issue going on at health care facilities about nurses who are still working as nurses well into their 60's and 70's. Assuming everyone ages differently, consider the effects of aging (such as decrease in vision, hearing, unsteady gait, ect.) do you think they put their patients and themselves at risk for injury? If so do you think there should be a mandatory retirement age for nurses?

Not sure where you are going with this, but it smacks of ageism.

Any nurse should be evaluated on her PERFORMANCE, not her/his age.

I am in my forties, and need glasses. A friend of mine, a psychologist, wears a hearing aid.

You are prob in your twenties to pose this question.

I know some great surgeons in their sixties and seventies. How long did Michael DeBakey work before he retired?

Most nurses retire themselves by sixties, and prob only a few work til in their seventies.

Management assessing EVERY nurse on their performance. 'Nuff said.

traumaRUs

traumaRUs, MSN, APRN, CNS

Specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU. Has 30 years experience. 164 Articles; 21,155 Posts

Back to the original poster: where do you see this "issue" and what specific examples can you provide?