Retired, now what? - page 2

by sueff 10,208 Views | 34 Comments

I have worked 29 years as an RN and am now retired due to a medical issue. How do I adapt? I so miss the giving of care, the day to day emergencies, the (yes) charting. Nursing was so much a part of my sole, my being. The... Read More


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    To start with let me say I am sorry you have found yourself in this position. It is hard to give up nursing when you plan it, harder when forced upon you. And it is not surprising that most employers don't seem to really care; they are looking after their own business after all.

    That is partly the point; health care, and nursing, is a business. You have many opportunities still open to you.

    As a retired RN (planned but still difficult to let go) I have found several opportunities where my skills, expertise and years of education can still support me. Just as importantly I can still practice "health care". I have created an informational web site (super easy, even without knowledge of html codes), written books, articles and ghost written many other projects (most related to health care) and gotten in to politics. I found there are now many things I can say, opinions I can express, where I was "hushed" when still employed as a nurse.

    Look at this as a new opportunity for you. There are many health care consumers who still require, and demand, your expertise. Time to think really outside the box!

    Ever considered areas involving "alternative" health care? Rieki, therapeutic touch, accupuncture, Tarot, Distant healing....
    Bubbles and jahra like this.
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    If you are medically well enough, and physically well enough, the opportunities of volunteering with food/shelter usually provided would be fantastic. There is a whole other world out there that would love your hands on care. And I bet the stress level would be great. People would be grateful for you. Today, hospital work is very very difficult. Change is difficult for all of us, especially nurses IMO.
    jahra likes this.
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    Although it's not really hands on, telephone triage for insurance companies might be a great fit for you. A lot of these positions allow you to set up shop at home, with incoming patient calls ringing to your phone. Not only convienient, but it would definitely put to great use those awesome triage and assessment skills that you've spent the better part of three decades perfecting! Good luck to you!!!!
    jahra likes this.
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    Teach those of us that would love to have your knowledge shared with us. One of my most memorable instructors was my CNA instructor. She began nursing school at the age of 45. She practiced as an RN for a number of years. She was disabled and no longer able to do RN work on the floor. But, I gained so much knowledge from her. When I did my first clinical, she was right there with me. I still keep in contact with occasional cards, etc.
    She may not be able to be on the floor with the patients anymore. But, she is there in my heart everyday I'm on the floor.
    jahra likes this.
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    I so much relate and am empathetic to your concerns. I, along with -I'm sure - many others who have similar concerns share with you right now. We loved being a nurse. We loved the hands on care, education and support we could give.
    Though I left acute and critical care due to medical concerns in 2000, I did finally get back to an aspect of nursing in 2004 - - assisted living. Finally after 2.5 years in dementia care, in October 2010, I was replaced by a younger nurse who would and could work more hours. (She quit after 3 weeks) I know I managed my job and facility well in my 25 hours a week because 2 weeks after they replaced me, State Survey gave my facility a deficiency free survey. Even the regional manager emailed me stating that he knew this was because I was 'a h___ of a good nurse'.
    So what good does that do ? Not a thing, it seems. Who is going to hire you in your later years, with limited, yet functional ability after you have been 'offed' in assisted living ? Nobody !!!! You have already hit the bottom of the nursing pool. You are already working for the least wage per hour and without benefits. You are doing this because you love nursing, are good at it and have a lot to give of your expertise and profession. You are doing this because you have assessed for yourself that you do not have the physical and/or mental capability to work long hours under great physical, mental and emotional stress. It is not self serving or greedy - it is because it fits the tolerance of your well being and care for others.
    So what now???? I hope you find better than I have. Home Health/Hospice was mentioned. You bet!, we would be a great addition. Only regretful denials from here (and I was the first nurse hired to them back in the early '80's). Volunteer - - well isn't that sweet. Between my limited reserve of energy and managing my finances to stay alive . . . . well, I must 'volunteer' for me and my family to keep things afloat. (Though, I must admit the person and nurse in me wants to volunteer for many things.) I am glad that your Social Security income 'barely' manages your subsistence. For me, it is about half of what is needed to maintain my home [of 30+ years) and other monthly bills.

    So what do you do? It is so hard to say. You have a gift and a love and experience that gives you such great worth. I wish for you that it does not turn to depression and hopelessness as it seems to have done for me.
    You do have options. As long as you are secure to maintain your current livelihood - do what you love and enjoy, the best you can, for as long as you can. You can be a woman, stronger than me, to advance the true concept of nursing in a way that only you can.
    Bless you for the courage to start this line of forum. It already shows that you are wise and with discretion.
    Elle7, Over-the-hill-Nurse, and jahra like this.
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    I know there are companies that staff sitters for people of differing needs, or people who do this on their own. There are many different varieties of patient care needs - some just need a babysitter, some need help with care, some need medical care. It seems to pay quite well and many of the professional sitters I met while in one of my hospitals seemed to really like it. They have the bond you get with working long-term care, the work isn't as taxing as nursing and they make a good paycheck. I wish I had more information in how to get involved in that kind of work but your Google-Fu can probably find quite a bit.
    Best of luck to you, in whatever you find to do. Thank you for all the years of service you've already given, and thank you for the years of service I'm sure you're still going to give.
    jahra likes this.
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    You sounded like one terrific nurse! I'm sorry all this has happened to you. You sound very lonely and lost.
    I used to do reading for kids at a primary (elementary) school. Also you can go on various websites to see who needs what help with things, ie: we have one called gumtree where you can find work wanted ads, or people who may need help with studying, home care, whatever. Some advertise for volunteers, others will pay you.
    Also what about studying for something else similar to nursing? You could do some short courses and maybe look into home health care, or work in a small doctor's office.
    I'd also ask around some of the charities for whatever help you can get if money is tight, and also go to your local employment office & see if ur entitled to any money for ur disability. Also ring your phone & utility companies to see if u can get a discount on your bills. There are lots of ways to save money ie: shopping at thrift shops, buying food in bulk & swopping with a neighbour, growing ur own veggies & herbs, walking & using buses.
    I hope u find something to help you out. Sounds like u just need someone to talk to. What about getting a wee dog or cat for company?
    jahra likes this.
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    Some of the best advice I ever got from an instructor in nursing school was always to have something outside of nursing that captured your interest enough to occupy your time when you were no longer able to work such an intensely physical job.

    I took that advice and now do my hobbies full time, able to hone them as I never could when I was exhausted from working.

    In other words, when you figure out what your bliss is, whether it's knitting or volunteering at nursing homes, follow it.
    jahra likes this.
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    Quote from Warpster
    Some of the best advice I ever got from an instructor in nursing school was always to have something outside of nursing that captured your interest enough to occupy your time when you were no longer able to work such an intensely physical job.

    I took that advice and now do my hobbies full time, able to hone them as I never could when I was exhausted from working.

    In other words, when you figure out what your bliss is, whether it's knitting or volunteering at nursing homes, follow it.
    I think this is great advice.
    What hobbies do you do Warpster?
    sjoe likes this.
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    Don't know your age or current functional level but , if you need income, got information in the mail last week about an online 6 month course preparing one tuition free to implement and maintain electronic health records. It isn't bedside nursing but sounds like it would be something in which you would use what you know. Some area of IT might be a good fit.
    jahra likes this.


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