Retired Nurse Information: Recommendations for Successful Transition Through
the Phases of Retirement
There are numerous programs that could be implemented to help ensure a healthy transition into retirement. Most of these programs are best implemented in the pre-retirement phase and are best served as a combination of employee and employer responsibility and include but are not limited to: pre-retirement counselling, resources on the subject of retirement that include the psychosocial aspects, the opportunity to gradually reduce hours worked in the year prior to retirement, exit interviews by managers, a website dedicated to retired nurses to establish pre and post-retirement connections, mentorship programs connecting retirees to newly graduated nurses, and the ability to continue an active relationship with our regulator, professional association and union.
Counselling about the psychosocial aspects of nursing could be encouraged at least a year before the planned retirement date. The counselling may encompass such things as post-retirement activities, relationships, how to establish a new identity, the likelihood of experiencing a sense of loss and grieving at the end of a passionate career and how to deal with these feelings. Not everyone will have a problem with retirement. Some individuals will be very happy to retire and will already have a sense of what to do because of already developed outside interests and relationships.
Most facilities have an Employee Counselling Service that could be used for this. Collaboration with human resources departments could also help implement this program.
Resources about the Psychosocial Impact of Retirement
Resources about the psychosocial aspects of retirement should be given to every nurse in the pre-retirement phase. If educational resources such as this were readily available to nurses, the knowledge gained would help many nurses transition successfully into retirement.
Resources could be made available through a pre-retirement counselor as a package. Additionally, resources such as these pages, could be posted and cross-posted across various nursing websites.
The Opportunity to Gradually Reduce Working Hours in the Year Prior to Retirement
Working full time in nursing is very time consuming and fast paced. Many nurses have competing priorities such as children and elderly parent care. They do not have the time while working to consider: “Who will I be when I retire?”. A reduction of working hours, approved through their employers of course, could enable nurses to have the time to search for other activities that may be beneficial during the transition to retirement.
Exit Interviews by Managers
The employer is about to lose a nurse with significant expertise in the profession. During the exit interview, discussion could ensue as to whether or not the employee may be interested in continuing in some capacity that would not involve significant physical effort or full-time work. For example supporting new nurses! During the exit interview, the manager could also ascertain the comfort level the employee has with retirement and ensure the employee has received all available resources about retirement. It could also provide the employee the opportunity to provide feedback about the work environment for future consideration by the manager.
A tool could be developed for use by the manager during the exit interview, in addition to collaboration with human resources to ensure exit interviews become expected practice for managers.
Websites Dedicated to Retired Nurses
Nurses are collaborators, researchers and critical thinkers throughout their careers. Having resources, such as this space, available so nurses can collaborate with retirees would be invaluable. It could be a place to validate feelings and experiences, continue camaraderie with other nurses and connect with younger nurses.
Watch this space as this aspect continues to grow!
Connect Retired Nurses with Newly Graduated Nurses
It’s no secret that often newly graduated nurses find their work environments an intimidating place during these times of staff shortages, increased acuity of patients and dwindling numbers of experienced nurses. Nursing is not something learned from a textbook. It is gained by years of experience practicing with a variety of patients. A connection such as this could give interested retired nurses a continued sense of purpose during the transition period. It could also give new nurses a sense of support. A win-win!
Managers could encourage retiring nurses to remain part of the work force by spending time with new nurses at the bedside (without the necessity to physically participate or work full time). The time could be spent helping new nurses prioritize care, organize care, access resources quickly and efficiently, discuss ethical dilemmas, journaling and just being there for them.
Another venue that may be helpful is connecting retirees with new nurses via online relationships. This could be established at the beginning of a first position in the work force. The retiree could provide support via email, journaling, telephone conversations, or secured face book connections.
Ongoing connection with the regulator, association and union
When you retire, your income decreases substantially (especially if you are supporting two people)m yet staying connected is so important for nurses and this is one more venue that could help nurses’ transition to retirement.
In addition to facilitating the above relationships, it would be highly beneficial to the retiree to continue access to the same informational resources as an actively working nurse. Continuing to keep up to date knowledge is important especially when supporting new nurses.
- Which of the above recommendations do you think would facilitate your transition to retirement?
- Can you think of any more ideas for implementation?
- Which of the above might work for your place of employment?
- How would you go about implementing some of these ideas at your work?