• early retirement;
  • nursing;
  • occupational health;
  • organizational behaviour;
  • questionnaire survey;
  • work organization


Title. Determinants of early retirement intentions among Belgian nurses

Aim.  This paper is a report of a study to gain insight into older nurses’ retirement intentions and to establish factors determining early retirement intention in these individuals.

Background.  In many developed countries, the working population is ageing. This will lead to a structural labour shortage in the near future. In nursing, this is already taking place. To retain nurses in employment, information on the determinants of their early retirement intentions are imperative.

Method.  A cross-sectional study was carried out in 2005 in one Belgian hospital. Data were collected by questionnaire with 100 nurses aged 45 or older. The response rate was 69·9%.

Findings.  No fewer than 77% of the nurses wanted to stop working before the age of 65 years. The following individual, work-related, and organizational factors contributed to older nurses’ intention to retire early: perceived health, marital status, gender, opportunities for change and development, workload, and negative stereotyping of older employees.

Conclusion.  Our findings offer insight regarding the influencing factors of early retirement intentions in nurses. This information may be useful to human resource managers and may enable them to successfully prevent early retirement in nurses. More research on this topic is needed as this will enable the development, implementation and evaluation of well-founded measures for retaining older nurses in the workplace.