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Job Satisfaction, Work Environment, and Successful Aging: Determinants to Remain in Older Acute Care Nurses


Michele Wargo-Sugleris

Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing

University of California, Los Angeles, 2013

Professor Emeritus Linda R. Phillips, Chair

This study investigated the determinants of job satisfaction, work environment, and successful aging in association with retire among older registered nurses (RNs). In addition, this study was designed to further understand what motivates nurses to remain employed in their current positions by investigating the relationship among these determinants and their predictive value in the retirement of older RNs. Job satisfaction has long been correlated with retention of RNs and the work environment has more recently emerged as an important factor in retention of RNs. Positive work ability, perceived health and psychological work-related factors, including reward incentives, work environment, job autonomy, and job satisfaction are significantly associated with nurse intentions to continue working, instead of seeking alternative employment or retiring but these factors have not been studied among older RNs. Successful aging has been influential in the retention of workers in the business arena. The combination of these three concepts, job satisfaction, work environment, and successful aging, and how they relate to retirement is particularly significant in face of the current and continued nursing shortage in the United States and around the world.

As nurses age there is a suggested difference between older and younger nurses’ ability to work and this difference could affect decisions made to remain on the job. Common stereotypes specific to older workers may lead to an overall disinterest about retaining older workers by human resource personnel and possible discrimination when hiring, workplace education and layoffs of older nurses. One clear priority towards older nurses is to redress employer attitudes on the subject of older workers and their ability to work. This research sought to find ways that change rather than entrench seemingly inappropriate stereotypes of older workers. Understanding older RN’s decisions on retirement in terms of the multi-faceted topics of job satisfaction, work environment, and successful aging contributes to the development of strategies important to the decision to stay or delay retirement of older nurses for human resource departments.

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