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Nurses feel secure in jobs but not about retirement

A survey of practicing nurses found that they currently feel secure about their jobs but pressures due to the rough economy have impacted their retirement plans.

The 2011 Fidelity Investments Nurses Study, conducted online last month by independent research company Versta Research, surveyed 408 practicing nurses in the United States. The survey’s purpose was to find out how the economy and changes to the healthcare industry may be affecting nurses’ perspectives on their jobs and retirement plans.

[See also: Recession causes reevaluation of physicians' retirement plans.]

About 79 percent of nurses responding to the survey said they feel secure about their jobs and their financial future even though nearly all respondents said they expect changes in their profession due to healthcare reform, the tough economy and rising costs. Nurses indicated that continued hospital consolidation has raised their stress levels, lowered morale and impacted their benefits. Respondents said that they expect in the next five to ten years, a shortage of qualified workers, more demanding hours and more nurses leaving the profession.

Like many Americans, nurses feel they aren’t prepared for retirement. Seventy-one percent said they don’t feel they are saving enough for their retirement. Almost half of respondents said they have changed their retirement plans because of the economy and continuing market instability, with 26 percent saying they now plan on retiring later than they had originally planned and 42 percent saying they believe they will never fully retire. Of those saying they will not retire, 79 percent said they will continue to work because they need to meet basic living expenses.

Despite their concerns that they are not saving enough for retirement, nurses say they are saving an average of nine percent of their annual salary and the majority feel they are better prepared, emotionally and financially, for retirement than workers in other professions.

Follow HFN associate editor Stephanie Bouchard on Twitter @SBouchardHFN.