A study by Edinburgh’s Queen Margaret University – commissioned by RCN Scotland – reviewed the available evidence on, and implications of, the ageing nursing workforce in Scotland.
It shows that the age profiles for acute, mental health and community nurses all peak in the 40-50 age band, though community nursing has the highest age profile – one in three nurses is aged 50 or over.
Theresa Fyffe, RCN Scotland Director, said: ‘There are growing concerns about the increasing loss of skills and expertise as more and more nurses think about retiring. If we are to prevent a skills shortage in the future, work must begin now to address this and help retain the skills of older nurses.’
The college is calling on the Scottish Government to set up a national forum – including representatives from employers and nursing organisations – to collect nursing workforce data and test measures that could be taken to encourage nurses to stay in the workforce longer.