The average age of the active nursing force in the United States is approaching 50 years (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2010). Nurses are retiring at a rapid rate; 55% of respondents to one survey indicated a plan to retire in the next seven years (Sverdlik, 2012). Of the survey participants, 13% held an administrative or management position and 44% were aged 55 years or older (Sverdlik, 2012). The age demographic of active oncology nurses mirrors that of the national nursing force. Of the 33,323 active members of the Oncology Nursing Society who indicated an age range on their membership application, 15,735 (47%) self-identified as aged 50 years or older (see Figure 1). At a time when many are planning for retirement, their respective employers are scrambling to fill open positions. With no clear vision or plan in place, many healthcare organizations will struggle to meet the ongoing needs of communities they serve. The challenge is to develop programs that identify, develop, motivate, and transition younger nurses to available positions.
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