What is giving vitality to continue at work? A qualitative study of older health professionals’ vitality sources

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Background and aim: Vitality is described as ‘life energy’, ‘inner strength’ and ‘inner health resource’ and is the essence of health. Especially during the ageing process, it is of fundamental importance that an individual's health resources are strengthened to support work ability. The need for health services increases as the population ages and meanwhile the workforce in health care is also ageing. The aim of the study was to explore what is giving vitality to older workers in health care to continue at work until retirement age and maybe even an extended working life. Informants, methodology and methods: A qualitative interview study was conducted. A total of 15 people aged 59–65 participated in the study, all of them working in the health care sector. Five participants were administrative personnel and ten were nurses. One man and fourteen women took part in the study. Qualitative content analyses were used. Findings: The results show that meaningful work, possibilities to use one's knowledge, relationships and work community are promoting vitality. Vitality is affected by work conditions, benefits, personal values and own health. Conclusion: Plans about continuing at work seem to depend on both external and internal reasons. Knowledge of what influences older employees’ vitality resources makes it possible to improve their work situation so that vitality and work ability can be maintained by occupational health and employers despite the ageing process.

Original languageEnglish
JournalScandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 7 Sept 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


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