Yikes I'm Getting Old!

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    How to continue working as a nurse as you age gracefully. This article provides some clues to hopefully allow nurses to age gracefully and still remain an active member of the nursing community. From the simple cosmetic changes we can make to reduce the signs of aging to further education and keeping up to date with current practices - these are all steps we can take to reduce the signs of aging.

    Yikes I'm Getting Old!

    We all must face it - we are aging. Oh yeah, when I was 20, 30, even 40, heck I was NOT going to get old. I was going to keep learning, stay current with evidence based practices and be on TOP!

    However, there was something else in store for me: many more birthdays. I am now uh hmmm in my mid-50's. Fortunately, my health is excellent - I can still run with the 20 and 30 year old nurses and think on my feet.

    But, how long will I remain healthy?

    Is it a given I will be fit enough to continue to work full time, take frequent call, remain mentally sharp enough and physically able to do my job until I'm 70?

    Although not as physically taxing as being a staff nurse in a busy (>100k visits/yr) ER, my current position still expects me to run a code, remember protocols, be able to troubleshoot patient care issues and deal with irate patients and family members. And of course, see my 200 patients weekly.

    So, what do I need to do now?

    Well, the first thing is I must keep my naturally dark brown hair as natural-looking as I can while still hiding the gray - lol. This requires frequent visits to the local discount store where I buy Nice and Easy #7A in bulk. It has also meant that I must lose weight as hauling around an extra 50 pounds makes it difficult to run to these codes.

    So, check that off as a done - now to maintain the loss. Positive from this is that I got to buy new clothes as even my patients were making comments that my clothes were too big.

    I was fortunate to make the choice about ten years ago to go back to school. So besides school loans which will be paid off with my social security check, I have the requisite MSN and a couple of other certificates. Hopefully, this education will keep me employable.

    In this day of continued Medicare/Medicaid cuts I will need to continue to stay on top of my game. So, I guess the moral to this musing is that to stay employed as you age, you need: experience, education, ability to adapt quickly and constantly reinvent yourself.

    Happy Birthday everyone!
    Last edit by Joe V on Jan 8, '15
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  3. by   RNperdiem
    The working world is changing. Seniority doesn't count for what it once did. Now we work in a performance-driven workplace. If you cannot perform the work, you lose value, and without valuing seniority, older nurses have it harder.
  4. by   BrandonLPN
    There's only one alternative to getting old, and it isn't too pleasant....
  5. by   blueyesue
    "There is no past that we can bring back by longing for it. Only a present that builds and creates itself as the past withdraws."
  6. by   marcos9999
    I'm in the same boat and who isn't it's only because their boat haven't traveled far enough. I think you can see the fact you must stay current and competitive as a blessing. Our lives stop as we decide to stop so the secret is to stay active. Don't feel bad because you're not young anymore, young ones have all this energy but they don't have the wisdom and the life experience we have. The average nursing age is 45 (don't quote me on that, it might be higher). We live in this hedonistic society that only values the young and pretty what a nonsense when young people cannot have as good a judgment because they simply haven't lived long enough to have life experience which is vital for nursing.
  7. by   blueyesue
    My grandmother is in her 80s and wishes she were in her 60s again.
  8. by   workingharder
    One thing that I've noticed as I get older is that when getting up from a chair, gravity is a force to be reckoned with.
  9. by   sharpeimom
    I remember when I was in second grade, the school was being remodeled and just one student restroom was usable and thinking that all I wanted in life was to be one of those "big fourth graders" because those lucky kids got to carry the "In Use By Girls" sign and we "little kids" had to be escorted by a grown up who hung the coveted sign.

    When I was about 13, all I wanted was to be old enough to stay home alone when my parents went out. It came .....................eventually. When I was 14, all I wanted was to be able to date. It seemed like forever, but eventually I was 16 and the age my parents decreed.

    In college, all I wanted, after a couple of years, was to be done and begin grad school. Eventually it happened!

    Suddenly I was 30 and two of my cousins were pregnant, two more were engaged, and my fiance had died of cancer. I felt 100. I wore bridesmaids and maid of honor dresses that made me look and feel like walking meringues, but without the joy I should have felt. I still felt 100.

    I married when I was 37, after caring for my dying mom. Now I felt younger again but not my age. That came when we took a delayed honeymoon after my mom's death. We were away six weeks and divided our time between the British Isles and France. I returned on crutches as the result of a silly accident but my heart was light again and I felt like a new bride and like a 37 year old again.

    Forty was untraumatic, as were my fifties. I've always looked much much younger than my real age and still do. Good genes I guess, but it's a swift pain sometimes. I was still getting carded when I made a liquor purchase until I was in my early fifties. Every stinkin' time!

    The day after my 54th birthday, I had a severe stroke caused by an earlier aneurysm and when I realized that a. I would survive and b. life would never be the same I would have to adjust my thinking. The alternative was going off the deep end.

    I guess all this rambling is just to say your age is just a number. I certainly never thought I'd ever be THIS old, but guess what? I still have all my own teeth, my mind works just great, and I still look younger than I am. I'm still young! I feel free to speak my mind and love who I am now.

    As someone said recently, "Your dad would have been so proud of the adult you!" My dad died when I was in college. Great compliment!

  10. by   traumaRUs
    Its posts like all of the above that make me so proud to be a nurse. You all rock for many different reasons: your resiliency, your intelligence, devotion, and compassion as well as your eloquence.
  11. by   VivaLasViejas
    Physically, I'm not in particularly good shape; mentally---well, y'all know how what a long, strange trip that's been. But while I am bloodied, I remain unbowed, and as I chassee into my own mid-50s, I'm in a much better position to absorb the changes and appreciate the opportunities for growth. Hence my user name, VivaLasViejas (long live old women!)
  12. by   Spidey's mom
    Ah, the 50's. Bent but not broken.

    Enjoying reading everyone's perspective.

    I'm the mother of an 11 year old at 55 years of age and that definitely keeps me on my toes. Also, my oldest is 29, just married and is waiting a year to talk about having a baby. Tick tock son . . tick tock.

    Contemplating another degree and another student loan when the BSN one isn't paid off yet.

    Am I crazy?

    (Yes, of course)
  13. by   violetgirl
    Quote from Spidey's mom
    Ah, the 50's. Bent but not broken.

    Enjoying reading everyone's perspective.

    I'm the mother of an 11 year old at 55 years of age and that definitely keeps me on my toes. Also, my oldest is 29, just married and is waiting a year to talk about having a baby. Tick tock son . . tick tock.

    Contemplating another degree and another student loan when the BSN one isn't paid off yet.

    Am I crazy?

    (Yes, of course)
    No, you are not crazy at all... You are living your life! Awesome!
    My dad is thinking of taking math classes to keep his mind sharp, he is 75. He is always asking to do his math problems over the phone... HA!
  14. by   multi10
    I'm Dorian Gray. Go to kareoke with your friends or with your husband.