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Experiences of Working after Retirement: A Qualitative Study in the Swedish Health Care Sector
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Work and organizational psychology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Work and organizational psychology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Work and organizational psychology. North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa.
2018 (English)In: Book of Proceedings 13the Conference of the European Academy of Occupational Health Psychology: Adapting to rapid changes in today's workplace / [ed] K. Teoh, N. Saade, V. Dediu, J. Hassard & L. Torres, Nottingham: European Academy of Occupational Health Psychology , 2018, p. 267-268, article id O83Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Older people represent an increasing share of the population in many countries. While higher life expectancy is a remarkable social achievement, accelerated demographic ageing poses several challenges, particularly to health care, labour market and pensions systems. A greater awareness of the importance to increase the participation of older workers in the labour market and to delay the transition to full retirement has turned retirement into an issue of global significance and an important research topic.

Notwithstanding the increasing flexibility and heterogeneity in the exit pathways from employment to retirement, most research have focused on the decision regarding when to retire; while fewer studies have investigated the dynamics of engagement in post-retirement work, or bridge employment. This form of employment is becoming more common in several countries, including Sweden, where between 2010 and 2015, the number of employed people aged 66–74 has increased by 36 percent. Furthermore, qualitative studies, allowing for an in-depth understanding of the complexity of the topic, remain scarce.

This study aimed to explore the transition to retirement, the motivation to engage in bridge employment and experiences of working after retirement among assistant nurses. The study used Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis to analyze data from semi-structured interviews with seven retired assistant nurses working at a Swedish hospital. The interviews focused on retirement decision-making, experiences of working after retirement and ageing issues. The following super-ordinate themes were identified: the retirement process, meaning of retirement, functions and meaning of work, drivers to continue working after retirement, working as an assistant nurse after retirement and the experience of ageing.    

In this group of assistant nurses, bridge employment seemed to allow for a gradual adjustment to retirement, which in turn contributed to their well-being. Interviewees did not plan for their retirement while some would have preferred to do so. Full-retirement was regarded as stagnation and “the end of the road”, while work was valued positively. Work defined one’s existence and identity, provided a sense of purpose and belonging to the society, was a source of social contact and nurturing, a physical and mental health booster and postponed ageing. Interviewees reflected much on their reasons to continue working: Feeling able to work and the absence of major health problems was, not surprisingly, a major driver, but other factors were of equal importance, such as being intrinsically motivated to work and feeling appreciated and needed at work. Interviewees regarded their job as challenging, varied and not particularly demanding. Their contacts with the patients and being able to help others was perceived as highly rewarding and a prominent reason for continuing to work. Having control over working time and opportunities for recovery were also much valued. Interviewees reported some improvements that came with ageing, but also felt some limitations, which they tried to compensate for at work. These results may contribute to a further understanding of issues motivating people to continue working as assistant nurses, an occupation that plays an important role within the health care sector.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Nottingham: European Academy of Occupational Health Psychology , 2018. p. 267-268, article id O83
Keywords [en]
aging, bridging, interviews, health care
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-160550ISBN: 978-0-9928786-4-1 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-160550DiVA, id: diva2:1251713
Conference
13th European Academy of Occupational Health Psychology Conference 2018, Lisbon, Portugal, September 5-7, 2018
Note

This research was supported by a FORTE-grant to Dr M. Sousa-Ribeiro.

Available from: 2018-09-27 Created: 2018-09-27 Last updated: 2019-01-10Bibliographically approved

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