Adjusting to personal and organisational change: Views and experiences of female nurses aged 40-60 years

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Journal Article
Collegian, 2008, 15 (3), pp. 85 - 91
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The Australian nursing workforce is ageing and there is a well-documented shortage of nurses. This global phenomenon means that retaining nurses in the workforce is gaining in importance as older nurses retire and leave nursing. The existing literature reveals deficiencies in knowledge about older nurses as they adapt to ageing often within stressful work environments. The aim of this narrative-based study, informed by feminist principles, was to explore the views and experiences of female registered nurses aged 40-60 years, in acute hospital and community health care settings. In-depth semi-structured interviews of approximately 1 h duration were gathered during late 2004. The transcribed narratives were subjected to thematic analysis. Two major themes were identified. The first theme: "Feeling uncared for" contained three sub-themes-Unsupportive work relationships: "We should be helping each other"; Workplace bullying: "It hurts me and I feel really bad"; and, Stress and burnout: "It's just like being in a pressure cooker all the time". The second major theme identified was "Adapting to ageing: my nursing career". Findings of this research suggest some unmet support needs for older nurses in the workforce which could discourage them from remaining in nursing. The findings highlight a need for further research into the support needs of older nurses. © 2008 Royal College of Nursing, Australia.
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