Research Article| Volume 53, ISSUE 2, P66-72, March 2005

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Health and safety of older nurses

      The nursing workforce is aging at an unprecedented rate yet little is known about the health and safety of older registered nurses (RNs). The survey reported here examined the relationships between demographic variables, job attributes (job satisfaction, control over practice, and job demands) and the physical and mental health and job-related injuries and health disorders of 308 nurses over the age of 50. Findings indicate that nurses with higher job satisfaction, higher control over practice, and lower job demands experienced increased physical health. Increasing age was positively correlated with mental health. Almost a quarter of older RNs experienced a job-related injury within the past 5 years, and over a third experienced job-related health problems. Nurses with higher job demands and those employed in hospital settings were more likely to have an injury. Overall, older RNs reported higher levels of physical and mental health than the national norm. Efforts must be made to keep older RNs healthy so we can retain them in the workforce.
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      Susan Letvak is a at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, NC.