Retirement Derailed: 3 Ways Baby Boomer Nurses Can Stay on Track During COVID
Across our healthcare system, there is a population of seasoned nurses with decades of experience known as Baby Boomer nurses. These nurses have valued resources, bringing significant experience and wisdom to the nursing profession. Early in my nursing career, I was a little bit terrified of these nurses. After overcoming feeling intimidated by their knowledge and no-nonsense personalities, I learned that they were incredible resources and welcomed their teaching and expertise.
Baby Boomer nurses are nearing the end of their careers and preparing for retirement. It has been reported that "since 2012, roughly 60,000 RNs exited the workforce each year, and by the end of the decade more than 70,000 RNs will be retiring annually. In 2020, baby-boomer RNs will number 660,000, roughly half their 2008 peak." However, this report does not take the COVID-19 pandemic into account. With the strain on the economy due to shelter-in-place orders and the increased dependence on healthcare resources, how can boomer nurses stay on track for retirement?
If you are scheduled to retire soon, stick to your retirement date! Nurses are caregivers to their core, and caregiving doesn't end with their patients. Nurses may hesitate to take a scheduled retirement date if they are worried about leaving their colleagues short-staffed. The patient-to-nurse ratio has been affected by the influx of COVID-19 patients, and new safety protocols designed to prevent exposure are making day-to-day nursing practices more complicated than usual. Given these circumstances, nurses preparing for retirement may consider postponing until the pandemic subsides. If nurses moving toward retirement want reassurance that they aren't leaving colleagues in a bind, they should consider the opportunities they are giving other nurses! Nurses who have as much experience as Baby Boomer nurses often hold unique or coveted positions. With their retirement, Boomer nurses are paving the way for other nurses to expand their careers and seek new opportunities.
Investopedia links low retirement savings for Baby Boomers to the stock market decline of 2008 to 2009. This decline occurred in the middle of prime retirement savings time for Baby Boomers, which led many Baby Boomers to defer retirement in order to increase their funds. If you are a nurse considering retirement, now is the time to check in on your investments - or start your 403b retirement savings plan if you haven't already! Contact the financial advisors through your human resources department to ensure that your accounts are growing and that you are taking advantage of employee incentives. Some hospital systems match employee contributions up to a certain percentage. In addition to the financial advisors available within your institution, seek out a financial advisor who can specifically help with securing or shifting existing life insurance plans to ensure you aren't paying premiums on policies you no longer need.
Congratulations, Baby Boomer nurse—you've retired! Celebrate and enjoy your retirement, but don't stop saving and planning. Even if you have all of your financial systems lined up, expenses accounted for, and systems in place to track your monthly spending, you should still continue to save. Check on your investments often to ensure they are growing and bringing in more than you are spending. Another tip from Investopedia is to consider your living situation. Are you still living in the multi-bedroom home where you raised your family? Do you live in an area you chose for the top-notch school system that has higher property taxes? Downsizing your home or moving to a more affordable area are two ways to add income to your retirement savings.
The nursing workforce will be forever changed once the Baby Boomer nurses retire at the predicted rate of 70,000 annually; definitely adding to the current nursing shortage. They began their careers at the time when starched white uniforms, pantyhose, and the signature white nursing cap were standard. They learned to titrate intravenous medication drips by counting drops per minute, while nursing students now learn to deliver intravenous medication using electric pumps. They weathered massive changes in technology and shifts in healthcare policy and paved the way for new nurses to enter a respected career with countless opportunities for advancement. The cumulative years of experience that boomer nurses bring cannot be measured, but their mark on the nursing profession should be applauded. A well-planned retirement is highly deserved.
RELATED COVID-19 CONTENT ON REGISTEREDNURSING.ORG
- Breastfeeding Recommendations in the Time of COVID-19 – What Nurses Need to Know
- Telehealth to the Rescue During COVID-19 Health Crisis
- The “Human Good” Throughout the Nation - Nurses’ Views From the Frontlines of COVID-19
- 8 Ways Nurses Can Boost Their Immune Systems In Times Of Stress
- 3 Ways Nurses Can Protect Our Most Valuable Resource: Our Fellow Nurses
- The Fear of Being Fired During COVID-19
- CDC Estimates of Nurse & Healthcare Worker COVID-19 Cases Are Likely Understated
- They Said There Would be Masks
- The Coronavirus Exposed Flaws in Protecting Nurses: What To Do Next
- What to Do When Your Patient’s Complaint Isn’t Coronavirus-Related
- See all Nursing Articles
- 25 Nursing School Leaders Tell Nursing Students What to Expect in 2021 - October 2, 2020
- 5 Things You’d Be Surprised to Find Out About a Career as a CRNA - September 22, 2020
- The Future of Nursing: Growing Need for Pediatric Nurse Practitioners - July 13, 2020
What Is CNOR and Why Should You Go For It?The Competency and Credentialing Institute (CCI) is an organization that focuses on perioperative professional certifications for nurses. CCI identifies the…
You Are Not Alone: Tips to Deal With or Avoid Anxiety for the Nervous New NurseIt's the night before her shift and nurse Kayla is starting to get a sinking feeling in her stomach, worrying…
The Factors That Bind RNs: Are RNs Nurses If They Don’t Work at the Bedside?Congratulations! You are officially a part of the most trusted profession, with the opportunity to make a difference in people's…
5 Ways to Improve Your Performance as an ER NurseLike many medical careers, emergency nursing is much different than how it's portrayed on television. With the fast-paced environment of…
5 Leadership Core Competencies That Will Help You Manage NursesBeing a nurse is no easy feat. In addition to dealing with medical procedures, you also interact with many different…