Delayed Nursing Retirement: What Does It Mean For Nursing Students?

Delayed Nursing RetirementCurrent nursing students or those considering a career in the field may be concerned that delayed nursing retirement will affect their prospects of finding a job after graduation. However, a series of recent reports suggest that there may be no better time than the present to be pursuing a career in nursing. As hospitals hurry to fill the void created by a workforce that is quickly reaching retirement age, the demand for a new class of well-trained and motivated RN's and LPN's is likely to increase dramatically.

According to a recent survey by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, nearly 55% of the current nursing workforce is over the age of 50.1 Additionally, the public demand on the healthcare system is also increasing as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act exposed 32 million Americans to a wider range of healthcare services.2 The potential for increasingly crowded waiting rooms and a smaller workforce to meet patient needs represents a watershed moment for the healthcare industry, but its good news for current or prospective nursing students at CTU. Here's why.

Nurses Are Waiting Longer To Retire

In an interview with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Peter Buerhaus, a professor of health policy at Vanderbilt Medical Center, explains that RN's are spending an average of 2.5 more years in the workforce than the previous generation of nurses. This is partially to help meet the increased demand and to ease the transition to the next generation, but Beurhaus notes another interesting fact. "A lot nurses as they age report higher levels of career and job satisfaction," Beurhaus says. "Some 80 to 85 percent of nurses report being satisfied with their careers."3 The older generation's decision to remain on the job has allowed hospitals to maintain a quality of service as the newer generation of nurses receives the necessary training. For nursing students who are close to hitting the job market, these statistics add up to a simple fact: The nursing community is anticipating your arrival. In fact, it's counting on it.

A High-Demand Decade

The next ten to fifteen years will see a huge spike in demand on the American healthcare system, and trained nurses will be on the front lines. The majority of the Baby Boomer generation, which makes up the largest age demographic in the US, is reaching the age of 65. According to the Center for Disease Control, this group will make up 20% of the US population by the year 2030.4 Moreover, baby boomers are expected to consume two to four times as much healthcare as those under the age of 65.5 For prospective nursing students, the statistics represent a strong career outlook. As we reported in a recent blog on the different types of nursing degrees, job growth for licensed practical nurses alone is projected to outpace the national average, with employment expected to add 182,900 jobs through 2022.6 Based on these facts, the healthcare industry will need to adjust to meet the needs of the Baby Boomer demographic, and part of that adjustment is employing knowledgeable, highly motivated nursing professionals.

Nurses Are In The Driver's Seat

Remember that statistic about high career satisfaction rates among the veteran nursing community? According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, one of the driving factors of this rating is an adequate level of nurse staffing.7  Nurses like to spend time with individual patients in order to improve their quality of life. A well-staffed nursing unit allows each nurse the freedom to focus on individualized care. When hospitals employ a sufficient team of well-trained RN's and LPN's, they see across-the-board improvements in the quality of medical care--not to mention a higher level of job satisfaction among all types of healthcare providers.8 Without a doubt, the future of healthcare depends in part on the next generation of RN's and LPN's. Are you a part of it?

Interested in pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree? CTU’s RN to BSN program is CCNE accredited. Learn more.

The Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree program at Colorado Technical University is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, One Dupont Circle, NW, Suite 530, Washington, DC 20036, (202) 887-6791.

6Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses, on the Internet at