Nurses’ intention to work after retirement, work ability and perceptions after retirement: a scoping review
Wonpen Kaewpan1, Karl Peltzer2,&
1Department of Public Health Nursing, Faculty of Public Health, Mahidol University, Salaya, Phutthamonthon, NakhonPathom 73170, Thailand, 2Department of Research and Innovation, University of Limpopo, Turfloop 0527, South Africa
Karl Peltzer, Department of Research and Innovation, University of Limpopo, Turfloop 0527, South Africa
Nurses have been identified as active workforce post-retirement. Little is known about nurses' intention to work post-retirement and their work ability and perceptions post-retirement. The aim of this scoping review is to identify studies that have investigated nurses' intention and recruitment strategies to work post-retirement and their work ability and perceptions post-retirement. PubMed, CINAHL, Web of Science, Nursing and Health Database and in addition Google scholar were searched using different keywords (retired nurses, retired RNs, work intention, work ability, work perceptions, and older nurses) and an independent reviewer cross-validated all the identified articles. Of the thirty-seven studies identified from the search, 26 papers were excluded based on exclusion criteria, with a total of 11 studies finally included in the study sample. The review found in two studies low and high intentions to work as nurses after retirement. Factors influencing both intentions and recruitment strategies to work as a nurse post-retirement focused on lighter and flexible work conditions, supportive environment, financial incentives and formal rehiring policies. Nurses working post-retirement reported benefits (intrinsic factors such as self-worth, overcoming social isolation) and barriers (such as job demands and reduced physical work ability). The review found low and high intentions to work as nurses after retirement and identified factors influencing both intentions and recruitment strategies to work as a nurse post-retirement and benefits and barriers of working as nurses post-retirement that can inform strategies to retain nurses post-retirement.
Globally, there appears to be a growing shortage of nurses [1-3].
In addition, the average age of the nursing workforce has been increasing
[4, 5]. The retirement age for nurses
differs by country, with e.g. no statutory retirement age in Australia
Various statements have indicated the need of nurses to work as nurses
in post-retirement, e.g., "flexible working after retirement can help older
workers adjust" . "Reactivation of retired nurses:
a part time employment and understanding attitude of the work environment" . "Reject
retirement age of 65" . "Bring nurses out of retirement
to help ailing hospitals" . For example in Thailand,
the crisis of the nursing shortage is not only the failure to retain
qualified and experienced nurses but also inadequate production.
The research on policy
on demand and supply projection of nurses for the period of 2017
to 2021 found that the shortage of skilled and experienced nurses
in Thailand will become
more severe in next 10 years due to early leaving of young nurses
and retirement of senior nurses . The results also
revealed that improving policies in recruiting and retaining qualified
positive practice environment and engagement, strengthening collaboration
and resource sharing among all stakeholders are needed .
Moreover, maximizing the efficient use of nurses, particularly among
the seniors, was also suggested to reduce the degree of severity
of this problem, in line
with Thailand's Twelfth National Economic and Social Development
Plan (2017-2021) .
Yet, there is a scarcity of research on how retired professional nurses can
help in filling some of the gaps of the nursing shortage .
There is also little professional literature on the intention and
ability of nurses to work as nurses post-retirement .
Some research seem to suggest that retired nurses are entering the
because of financial reasons, which could have positive impact on
the nursing shortage . Previous reviews of research
studies focused on the intention and work ability of nurses to retain
them into employment
until retirement [13-19], but we are not aware of a review
of studies focusing on the intention, recruitment strategies, work
ability and perception of nurses post-retirement, which prompted
this scoping review.
Search strategies: according to CRD guidelines on EQUATOR, a comprehensive
search strategy was used to identify relevant studies. PubMed, CINAHL, Web
of Science, Nursing and Health Database and in addition Google scholar were
searched for combinations of keywords, such as retired nurses, retired RNs,
work intention, work ability, work perceptions, and older nurses (Table
1). Specific inclusion and exclusion criteria were used to select
relevant studies and an independent reviewer cross validated all the identified
this scoping review included studies conducted between 2000 and 2018 that: (a) were published or electronically available in the English or Thai language; (b) were based on empirical quantitative and qualitative studies; (c) measured the intention and recruitment strategies to work as nurse post-retirement or beyond 65 years; and (d) focused on nurses working post-retirement or beyond 65 years in various settings and capacity.
this scoping review excluded papers that: (a) involved
insufficient details on either intention or working as a nurse post-retirement
(not early but regular retirement); (b) included samples consisting of other
professionals (doctors, social workers); (c) described retirement experiences
of nurses in general but not in the nursing profession; (d) retired nurses describing
past nursing issues; (e) merely gave descriptive accounts of projects and/or
programmes on the role of retired nurses without evaluation. The selected studies
included in this scoping review were analysed based on their findings and reported
in terms of the description of the intention of working as nurses post-retirement
and work ability and perceptions of retired nurses.
Current status of knowledge
Using the described search strategy, a total of 37 studies that met
the inclusion criteria were electronically identified from PubMed,
CINAHL, Web of Science, Nursing and Health Database and in addition Google
and hand search. However, following application of the exclusion
criteria, 26 of the 37 studies were excluded leaving 11 relevant studies.
(3 quantitative and 1 qualitative) dealt with nurses' intention
to work post-retirement, two qualitative studies on strategies and attitudes
attract nurses working post-retirement, and five studies (2 mixed
method and 3 qualitative) on work ability and perceptions of working as
post-retirement. This is illustrated below (Figure
1). Of these 11 identified studies, majority (n=9) were from high-income
countries (5 from USA, 3 Australia and 1 Singapore) and 2 from
middle-income countries (South Africa and Thailand).
Nurses' intention to work post-retirement:
the review identified four studies on nurses' intention to work post-retirement [20-23
]. One study in Australia reported a high intention to work as nurses post-retirement (73.2%) [20
], while in Singapore only 18.3% wanted to work post-retirement (>65 years) [21
]. Facilitators of the intention to work as nurses post-retirement included no shift work, reduced workload, job sharing or job rotation, short-term placements, financial incentives, supportive work environment, having a degree, disagreeing with attitudes not to work post-retirement [20-22
]. Barriers to the intention to work as nurses post-retirement included work place incivility, remoteness of nurse practice settings, only informal system of post-retirement working arrangements [22
] (Table 2
Strategies and attitudes to attract nurses working post-retirement:
the review identified two qualitative studies on strategies and attitudes to attract nurses to work post-retirement [24
]. Nurse managers in South Africa had mixed attitudes regarding nurses working post-retirement. Some argued that they could still have a useful role to play while others were against bringing retired nurses back [24
]. Nurses in the US recorded different strategies to attract retired healthcare workers back into the work force, including attractive rehiring policies (financial, status, flexible work schedules) [25
] (Table 2
Work ability and perceptions of working as a nurse post-retirement:
the review identified three studies on work ability and perceptions of working as a nurse post-retirement [26-28
]. In all studies nurses in older homes, nurse mentors and nursing lecturers expressed benefits of working post-retirement (positive view, ability to contribute to nursing, satisfaction such as positive intrinsic factors, and enjoyed capacity for engagement with new people, etc.). Various challenges were also expressed in the form of overworking, handling technology, feeling disconnected from nursing community post-retirement, and their own physical decline due to ageing (Table 2
Work ability and perceptions of retired nurses working as volunteers:
the review identified two studies work ability and perceptions of retired nurses working as volunteers [29-30
]. Retired nurse volunteers expressed several benefits of their work (enhanced self-worth, intellectual stimulation, opportunity to help others, and reduction of social isolation) and several challenges or barriers (such as physical problems, increased paperwork, new technology, lack of respect and licensing problems) (Table 2 suite
This review identified 11 studies on nurses' intention to work after retirement
and work ability and perceptions after retirement. The intentions to work after
retirement ranged from 18.3% in Singapore [12
] to 73.2%
in Australia [11
]. Facilitators of both intentions to work
as a nurse post-retirement and strategies to attract nurses post-retirement were
similar, including lighter and flexible work conditions, supportive environment
and financial incentives [11-13
Likewise, barriers of both intentions to work as a nurse post-retirement and
strategies to attract nurses post-retirement were similar, including lack of
attractive rehiring policies, lack of formal system of post-retirement working
arrangements, un supportive environment and inflexible work schedules [4
on the retention of older nurses (up to retirement)found similar facilitating
and challenging factors, ranging from supportive environment, reduced and flexible
workload, to improved education and training. Nurses working as nurse or nurse
volunteer in post-retirement reported both beneficial and challenging aspects
of their work. Benefits included intrinsic factors (self-worth, overcoming social
isolation) and barriers included job demands and reduced physical work ability
]. Current retirement policies
in the various countries may need to refocus by introducing more flexible opportunities
for post-retirement employment of nurses [13
]. Other programmes
seem to successfully employ nurses post-retirement in the academic sector, such
as in the study from Thailand [17
] and Baldwin et al
] describe the integration of retired nurses into a new
graduate orientation programme in the US.
most studies (9 of 11) included in this scoping review had been conducted in high-income countries, lacking generalize ability to low- and middle- income countries. Due to the scarcity and descriptive nature of the data, no quality assessment of the specific studies was conducted.
the research was carried out within the framework of research
project "development of intermediate and long term care model for dependent elderly
by enhancing competency and employment of retired nurses as community nurse managers",
supported by Mahidol University.
The scoping review found low and high intentions to work as nurses after retirement, and identified factors influencing both intentions and recruitment strategies to work as a nurse post-retirement and benefits and barriers of working as nurses post-retirement that can inform strategies to retain nurses post-retirement. Too few studies have been conducted on the topic emphasizing the need for more quantitative and qualitative research, especially in low- and middle-income countries.
What is known about this topic
- Previous reviews of research studies focused on the intention and work ability of nurses to retain them into employment until retirement;
- We are not aware of a review of studies focusing on the intention, recruitment strategies, work ability and perception of nurses post-retirement.
What this study adds
- The intentions of nurses to work after retirement ranged from 18.3%
in Singapore to 73.2% in Australia;
- Nurses working as nurse or nurse volunteer in post-retirement reported
both beneficial (self-worth, overcoming social isolation) and challenging
(job demands and reduced physical work ability) aspects of their work;
- Current retirement policies in the various countries may need to refocus by introducing more flexible opportunities for post-retirement employment of nurses.
The authors declare no competing interests.
Wonpen Kaewpan and Karl Peltzer conceptualized, conducted the formal analysis and wrote the paper.
Tables and figure
Table 1: detailed search strategy
Table 2: method, sample and findings of identified studies
Table 2 suite: method, sample and findings of identified studies
Figure 1: PRISMA 2009 flow diagramme showing study selection and data extraction process at every stage of the review
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