David Auerbach, Ph.D.

Nursing homes may benefit from registered nurses working longer after age 50, researchers from RAND Corporation say.

Nurses are working 2.5 years longer after they turn 50 than RNs in previous decades, according to David I. Auerbach, MS, Ph.D., policy researcher at RAND Corporation, and co-authors. 

Changes in care delivery under the Affordable Care Act suggest that an increase in demand for RNs to handle care coordination, management or ambulatory care may occur. Additionally, analysis shows that older RNs are far more likely to work outside of hospital settings. 

“Because many RNs tend to shift out of hospital settings as they age, employers seeking RNs for nonhospital roles may welcome (and seek to capitalize on) the growing numbers of experienced RNs potentially able to fill these positions,” the researchers wrote. For nursing homes seeking RNs, this could be “good news,” Auerbach told McKnight’s.

The researchers attribute the trend toward later retirement to the recession and the delayed retirement of baby boomer RNs. Later retirement isn’t unique to nursing, they noted.

Results were presented at the AcademyHealth Annual Research Meeting in San Diego in June and were published in the July issue of Health Affairs.