Nurse Retirements: What's Happening & What to Expect

August 23, 2021

Registered nurse retirements are leaving healthcare organizations with nurse shortages as COVID-19 cases rise, but those retirements are not necessarily due to the coronavirus pandemic.  

“There’s no good evidence but I am hearing about some early retirements,” said Peter Buerhaus, PhD, RN, FAAN, director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Health Workforce Studies at the College of Nursing at Montana State University in Bozeman. “It’s difficult to pin it down with any numbers.”

The Future of Nursing 2020-2030 report from the National Academy of Medicine indicates that the pandemic may accelerate or slow nurse retirements.

Peter Corless, MBA, executive vice president of enterprise development for OnShift in Cleveland, Ohio, reported that “many providers have told me that they experienced an increase in retirements over the past year—some a reaction to the virus and health concerns, some burnout, and some the demographic aging of the workforce. It’s anticipated that this will continue for all three reasons.”

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