• contributing factors to early retirement;
  • retention of older nurses

Aim  This study explored the factors that influence nurses to retire early and the incentives that might encourage them to stay longer in employment.

Background  The increasing number of nurses taking early retirement reduces an already depleted nursing workforce.

Methods  A mail-out questionnaire was sent to 200 randomly selected nurses aged 45 and older, living in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. SPSS descriptors were used to outline the data. Multiple t-tests, with a Bonferroni correction, were conducted to test for significant differences between selected responses by staff nurses and a group of nurse managers, educators and researchers.

Results  Of 124 respondents, 71% planned to retire by age 60. Staff nurses and a group of nurse managers/educators/researchers differed significantly in two reasons for leaving. The two groups also differed significantly in five of the incentives to stay.

Conclusions  Findings from this study could prove useful for healthcare and government organizations developing retention strategies to forestall the predicted shortage of nurses.