Nurses over 50 &/or with health issues affecting work - page 4
I'm sure I'm not the first (or the last) nurse to deal with this issue - I've been a Nurse for over 27 years and now I find myself having trouble "keeping up".(( Due to age? Weight? Arthritis? effect... Read More
Jan 13, '02After working in the clinical area for 29 years, my back finally gave out and I called it quits. I managed to find a job doing case management for an insurance company. It isn't the perfect job (and what is, these days?), but at least I'm being allowed to utilize my experience and knowledge in trying to make a difference for our senior population.
Jan 16, '02I think this is why we see few nurses over 50 in the hospital. Hospital careers for RN's end far short of 65 due to health reasons or normal aging prevents meeting job demands aimed at healthy YOUNG people.
Your future as you age in Hospital Nursing is just as much "at risk" as is your health if you are a smoker.
We need to network so that as we find ourselves unable to continue hospital work we can find meaningful work with adequate compensation OR we need to guage the work to the age and health of the individual.
Currently the Hospitals want you to "just keep on nursing until your health is gone, then leave quietly and no one will be hurt"
This battlefield mentality is only fairly met with the mercenary attitude or working registry and going with the highest bidder as you trash your health.
Hospitals have no allegiance to nurses, we are not in this together, CEO bonuses and shareholder dividends are the focused goal of the hospital companies and Nurses are simply the biggest "overhead" item on the budget. Your chief financial officer loves to find ways to cut nursing, which leaves you less able to do more tasks, increased stress and circulating stress hormones to do the cummulative damage that steals your health by age 50. Do a search on the effects of Glucocorticoids and stress related diseases and see your future. Look at your fellow aging nurses, you are headed there.
Jan 16, '02I have also practiced nursing for more than 25 years...I am so practiced that I am almost getting it right much of the time! It is true that the face of inpatient nursing care has changed dramatically. Nursing and staffing models are weird, shifts are inflexible, acuity is high, rewards are few, administrators view nursing as an expensive budgetary item that cannot be entirely replaced and patients are frightened, angry, defensive, misinformed, mislead and too low on the totem pole of importance within the system (at least the patients haven't changed much!)
I would recommend that my aging colleagues begin the process of moving themselves out of that high pressure, fast pace, high stress environment...and I mean begin the emotional move. I am a critical care and critical care obstetrics nurse. I don't practice that now...I am very happy. But that is what I AM. My heart beats to the rythm of crisis, crashes, precipitous delivery, resusa anything, transport and tribulation. I moved myself emotionally, and intellectually to a place where it was ok for me to be a nurse "of a different color". A place where the physical toll was more manageable, where the stress was more manageable, where the hours were more manageable.
I would recommend looking at all of the many, many ways that we can practice nursing on full-time, part-time and volunteer schedules. Look at consulting, look at legal, look at HMO review, look at rehab, look at correctional, look at hospice, look at parish, look at migrant health, look at community health, look at techical writing, look at education in non-traditional settings. I could go on and on.
We all have to pay our bills, but, ultimately it is not all about the money. If it was just about the money...would most of us "old-timers" have stayed in the fray? I think that it is about who we are...I am a critical care nurse...I just don't live there anymore!
Jan 16, '02Thank you for posting Ben Thair... curious.. what do you do now?
I am still "in the trenches".. I do not know how much longer I can last... it is such physically demanding work... and my body hurts at the end of the day.. to say nothing at the end of my three in a row (but I want the 4 days remaining off.. so I put up with it)...
I love the excitement too... and my patients.. I love making that connection and being a nurse....
I agree with your philosophy... I am emotionally leaving... to what I am not sure... but my eyes are wide open....
Again, Ben Thair, thank you for your accurate assesment and positive aproach as to where to go with it!
Jan 16, '02Originally posted by Karen4HIM1951
I'm sure I'm not the first (or the last) nurse to deal with this issue - I've been a Nurse for over 27 years and now I find myself having trouble "keeping up".(( Due to age? Weight? Arthritis? effect of an AA (sustained while working) and other reasons)).
I think it would be great to be able to talk to others about how they are handling things or what they have done in the past (for those who have retired or found alternative means of remaining in Nursing that are easier for them.
Feel free to email me or respond on this buletain board!
I've read all the messages and felt that all nurses should read this thread. It has many inspiring and helpful messages for all age groups of nurses. I listen to a nurse who was in her early twenties speak of chronic back problems and I now wonder how she will do as she ages with the strenous work that is required as a staff nurse?
I have a question and it is in regards to the nurses responding. Is you work history full or part time?
Jan 16, '02I usually work fulltime and usually have two job.. when I take time off it is time off.. for 2-3 weeks at a time to be with family....
Jan 16, '02Erdiane,
I had to laugh when you wrote what does one nurse year equal to human years. My personal take on that question? one nurse year = 5 human years. HA! Gotta laugh out loud or cry until I scream!
Jan 16, '02I am 63 and will be retiring at the end of February! I was fine and able to "run with the wolves" until I hit 60. My get up and go just got up and went. I was still able to perform very well at work but when I got home I hadn't an ounce of energy left. I cut back to 3 eight hour days a week. It helped somewhat. The thing that helped most was switiching from Labor and Delivery to Mother/Baby. (At least half the patients in your assignment you'll have no trouble lifting! )If you want to work in a hospital this seems to be the easiest specialty for the "aging body" to handle. I was the oldest nurse on our floor for the past couple of years and yes, some of the younger ones did make fun of the older nurses but they were the older nurses who wouldn't keep up with the new technology or new style of delivering family centered care and were unwilling to go with the flow, so it's a two way street.On the other hand,the turnover amoung the younger nurses is amazing. Some stay just long enough to collect their sign on bonus. I agree that SS will never support anyone and our hospital doesn't have a defined pension plan. Luckily I put 20% of my income in a 403B (unmatched by the hospital) and there were a few good years for my mutual funds so I shouldn't have to beg on street corners if I'm frugal Good Luck to all--try and stay healthy.(and NEVER lift a patient by yourself unless he's a newborn!)
Jan 16, '02Hardknox,
I loved your quote, and is it oh so true!
I'm hoping to find a job in a newborn nursery or mother/baby because of my right shoulder strength not being 100% since my Spring 1997 injury to it. I'm one of those nurses who has experience, but has been out of the field for almost five years. The jobs I have applied to so far have all been a dead end street.
Still trying though! I just turned 50, and although I personally don't consider that age "old", many under the age of 35 may disagree with me. Their day will come, Lord willing, when they won't think 50 is "that old" either. LOL!!!
To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world." --UNKNOWN
Jan 17, '02I am a 27 year veteran of critical care nursing, UR, and Case Management with Rheumatoid Arthritis, approaching age 50, presently working on my BSN to further my nursing career.
I have a question for others. Does anyone else feel that nurses in general devalue nurses who have moved away from the bedside? I see many posts on the various bulletin boards for nursing which seem to reflect these feelings.
There are SO MANY options within nursing for those who cannot perform physical activity as they used to. This bulletin board alone gives tons of options, such as case management, utilization review, telephonic triage lines etc. I would suggest that anyone who cannot perform at the bedside, utilize their vast experience to offer to these alternative nursing avenues your expertise. Research! Read! Apply!
Someone who has been there,
Norweaver<----planning a long career in nursing informatics, after grad school.
Jan 17, '02norweaver:
I have not felt the change in nurse careers from bedside to whatever has been devalued. It is impossble to read all the posts on this BB, but I do not recall getting that impression (or at least it has not stuck with me).
Honestly, as a bedside nurse who struggles with the physical demands of hospital floor nursing, I value what others do and read these posts with great interest.
Congratulations on your successes in informatics! Sounds like you are going to have fun with it and very much add to the world of nursing.