Faller also says that older nurses are a bit more cynical about the quality of patient care. Older nurses tend to say patient care is worse than it used to be, whereas younger nurses say it's better, a difference that Faller attributes to nurses being busier and having sicker patients than in the past.
"Patient care in hospitals has really changed dramatically," Faller says. There's now little time for nurses to have long conversations with patients at the bedside or to give them "the backrubs that we used to give when I graduated from nursing school," she says.
As older nurses start retiring at a faster clip, the people who remember when such intimate and personal care was the norm will dwindle. Nurse leaders should start thinking now about what that will mean for their hospitals and for patients.
"I think we've been expecting it. I don't think it will be a surprise. I think it will be a little scary," Faller says. "They know it's going to happen… it's just a matter of when."