Ageist NHS holding back older nurses

Older
nurses wanting to progress within the NHS are running into a wall of ageism,
despite the chronic shortages of qualified staff and an ageing workforce.

A
poll of nurses over the age of 35 found almost two-thirds felt they would be
unlikely to progress into a senior nursing role beyond the age of 40.

Of
these, more than 60 per cent felt they had damaged their chances of career
progression because they had taken time out to raise children.

The
research also found that less than a third of the 147 nurses questioned felt
their promotional prospects were equal to that of colleagues under the age of
35.

Training
and development in the sector was also criticised with experienced nurses
citing a lack of good-quality learning as one of the biggest barriers to
progression.

Because
of a lack of effective training mature nurses said they often struggled to come
to terms with rapidly changing technology, especially when returning from a
career break.

Hospital
managers were also criticised for being too inflexible, with nurses urging them
to look more closely at the needs of the more mature worker.

The
findings of the survey, by recruitment firm Celsian, revealed widespread
cynicism about age legislation with three-quarters of respondents claiming it
will make no real difference.

European
legislation banning ageism comes into force in 2006, but only 28 per cent were
optimistic about age equality for all staff during the next five years.

By Ross Wigham

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