• ageing nurses;
  • healthcare facility design;
  • nurse injuries;
  • nursing workforce;
  • older nurses;
  • retention


The aim of this article is to describe the physical challenges that ageing nurses experience and the facility design features that can promote healthy work environments to motivate nurses to continue working.


Older nurses are working longer and beyond the usual retirement age. They often experience chronic fatigue and the usual physical and cognitive changes associated with aging. Nursing is a physically demanding profession and many older nurses work in pain while providing direct patient care. The literature is replete with studies focusing on the organisational factors that retain older nurses, but little research addresses design factors that facilitate nurses working longer and more safely in direct patient care.


Electronic databases in medicine, nursing, psychology, and architecture were searched and evidence-based, non-evidence-based, and review articles and government and organisational newsletters were evaluated.

Key Issues

Hospital design can help address the physical work challenges that older nurses experience.


Older nurses have a wealth of knowledge and expertise, and the design of nursing units can optimize their work experience.

Implications for nursing management

Nurse Managers must participate in design efforts and advocate designs that support aging nurses.