After bedside care?

  1. I am, of course, a civilian, who is considering a career in nursing. But I'm 40, with 2 children who each happen to have special needs (one suffers from chemical depression, the other is high-functioning autistic). So I'm trying to be very careful and make sure that no matter what I do, I can find a way to make my career fit my family. I did the other way round before child #2 and it just doesn't work for us.

    My main question that I haven't been able to figure out from reading these boards is--what do nurses do when they can no longer physically do bedside care? Or when they are older and no longer choose to do so?

    My aphasia is kicking in so I'm not coming up with the words to phrase this the way I would prefer--but I'm looking for information as to the slower-paced, less physical types of nursing that I haven't seen mentioned here.

    (Oh, and I appreciate your tolerance of us Other People and our dumb questions here--thanks!)

    Melissa
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  2. 12 Comments

  3. by   Mel3K
    I'm sure there's a way to edit that post, but I haven't figured that out either, so I'll try this way.

    I'm thinking that I'll be working until I'm 70-75 yrs of age; the reason I asked that particular question is that I'd like to be sure before I enter any profession that I'll still be able to do the work up to that age (barring any unforeseen problems, of course).

    Thanks,
    Melissa
  4. by   live4today
    Hi Mel,

    If you are still active in mind and body by the time you reach your seventies, then you can still function in a nursing capacity. There is NO retirement age for nurses! You can retire after so many years if you choose to, but you don't have to opt to retire at that time. I know plenty of elderly nurses working way past the age when most people choose to retire. I think it's great for one to work until they "drop dead" myself. Go for it, if nursing is what you are really passionate about! At forty, you are still young enough to pursue whatever career choice you like.

    In this day and age, the more education you pursue the better your options are in nursing, such as: School nurses in most states (but not in all states) require a Bachelor's Degree minimum; to be a Community Health Nurse one needs a bachelors, again that varies from state to state as to whether you need your BSN or not. In North Carolina, an ADN can be a Community Health Nurse after attending a Community Nurse course at the university. Other options are research, management, etc. Nursing options are in abundance and wide open for the picking with the right level of education and training behind you. Best of luck to you, Mel! :kiss
  5. by   Huganurse
    ,,,
    Last edit by Huganurse on Jun 30, '02
  6. by   grouchy
    I spent several years working per diem home care while I took care of my Dad. I was single so I paid my own benefits, but it would be a good deal if you have benefits through your husband. My schedule was very flexible. I worked the days and hours I wanted, including taking hours off in the middle of the day for doctor's appointments occasionally. On the other hand, the hours I could get were erratic, so I sometimes took more hours than I wanted when I could get them in case the next week was slow.
  7. by   mattsmom81
    I agree with Huganurse-----the pace, understaffing, and physical workload in hospitals today combined with the high stress levels lead to repetitive stress injuries surfacing after 20 some years of practice. Too many of us have severe arthritis, spinal problems, shoulder and arm injuries, knee injuries from the job.

    It is hard to look the other way and watch another nurse or a patient be injured without trying to help....our caring nature causes us to intervene and we often are injured ourselves. Wish I'd been taught how NOT to do that in school.....LOL!

    I would advise you to go for your BSN now if you can possibly swing it, as that will qualify you for positions beyond the bedside, plus going on for your masters etc. should you decide. Best wishes and good luck!!
  8. by   Perk
    HI Mellissa. There are a few options out there including teaching, community nursing (in Quebec we have the CLSC) and working for call centers (again here in Quebec we have a provincial run call center "Info Sant" ) Also there are call centers that work in association with pharmaceutical firms about medications and the disease that the medication is for. The last option I can think of is acually teaching nursing or first aid. There is a wealth of opportunity out there, just be sure before you bank on any oth these late in life options that you have whatever degree the institutions in your area require.
    Best of Luck
    Nancy
  9. by   rck213
    After 28 years of hospital nursing I have found I no longer can physically do the job. We have minimal staffing and I thought I would be ok by working in Peds, however, when census is low we fill up with adults of any age and size. I have had 300 pound bedridden patients. I recently developed a lower back problem, found I have two herniated discs and a spondylolisthesis of L5, I do not wish to be a cripple by the time I retire SO
    I resigned from my regular part time hospital position and stay on as an occasional employee to retain skills
    I work for a homecare company to give flu shots in flu season
    I work for another homecare company to give Synagis to infants at risk if they develop RSV
    I work as a ped nurse consultant for a local Daycare Center
    I filled in at a convenient care office on Saturdays to do phone triage
    and I recently accepted a Utilization-Management Positon for an insurance company on a part time basis

    I have no benefits, luckily my husband does, and when I first developed the back problem I thought my nursing days were over and it did take some time and thinking "out of the box" to find a way to work for enough money to make it worthwhile.

    I enjoy what I do now, mostly because I now have some control of my time instead of being denied time off , and no one is writing me up for misuse of sick time due to my back even though I had doctor's excuses and was only out two weeks at a time , two incidents , eight months apart......The hospitals refuse to work with the dedicated, experienced older nurses, refuse to provide support for the problems that occur due to the physical abuse our bodies have been put through. That is what is sad about the profession....
  10. by   lockrn51
    I became a nurse at the age of 45 and worked two years in the ER at a trauma level 1 hospital after about 2 years of doing that and 12 years as a medic I was burned out both physically and mentally. I then worked 5 years as a home care nurse and it was a lot less stressfull for me a lot of paper work and driving but not as demanding as the ER. I always felt that I had missed out on basic skills by not working on a regular med-surg unit so guess what I went back to work at the same hospital but as a staff nurse. Well I'm writing this after 6 months on the floor somtimes with only 2 nurses and 1 PCA for 20 sick patients , I'ts very busy and stessful at times and I'm considering going back to homecare and maybe only working partime on the unit I love the learnig experience and the patient care but I realize that age is more than a number and I got into nursing to help people not to be a machine good luck and just look around for your own comfortable spot
  11. by   Mel3K
    Thank you all for your kind replies!

    I'm sorry to hear that so many of you have suffered injuries, but suspected that was often the case. It's definitely something I'll have to consider in my decision.

    Thanks again!
    Melissa
  12. by   grouchy
    There are some other good niche jobs. With a bachelor's degree, and probably some rehab or occupational health experience, you could do case management. I sometimes see ads for home-based case managers. Concentra is one of the companies- maybe they have a web site. Here in CT, Metropolitan Life pays nurses to interview people seeking to buy long-term care insurance over the phone. Pays less, but it's a desk job. I have a friend who works as a case manager for a state elder-care agency, they hire MSWs and RNs for this role. She evaluates Medicaid recipients for home care needs, makes referrals to home-care agencies and supervises the agencies. The Red Cross hires some nurses to supervise blood drives. You could go into clinical research- drawing blood, doing vital signs, and interviewing people in medical studies. You could do something a little less physical - like get a degree in speech therapy or occupational therapy - you'd still be helping people.
  13. by   mattsmom81
    So true, Grouchy and RCK!

    Ya know, speech and occupational therapists have great hours, flexibility, and more $$$$ than nurses without the physical and occupational hazards. Good suggestion.

    Oh, Oh, I better be careful here because we risk adding to our 'shortage' when we say things like that...hehehe.
  14. by   Brownms46
    Hi Mel...,

    I have an idea for you...that won't even take you out of the home. What about medical coding?? If pays well...and you can do billings for several MDs...building up slowly of course....and wouldn't be as stressful and time consuming as nursing. There are many companies out there also who are looking for medical coders. I mean medical practices really need someone who can keep up with the constant changes that occur in Medicare/Medicaid....and every regular insurance claims. The faster they can turn around from seeing the pt. to being paid...the better they can survive. Maybe this is something you might considered after nursing...or before nursing...

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