Work Ability among Older Nurses

  As the U.S. workforce ages, many older nurses continue to work in direct patient care. However, by 2030, an estimated 1 million nurses will have retired from the workforce (Buerhaus, Skinner, Auerbach, & Staiger, 2017). The known safety and health hazards for nurses in direct-care positions could be even more dangerous for older workers. Nursing care requires physical tasks with repeated bending, lifting, and twisting that can lead to musculoskeletal disorders (MSD). On average, nurses lift 1.8 tons during an 8-hour shift in the clinical setting, contributing to the estimated 35–80% lifetime prevalence of back injury (Nelson & Baptiste,