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 first 18 years in peri-natal, the last 11 years in Alzheimer's - dementia and geriatrics. Two years ago I was one of the 25% to survive a ruptured brain aneurysm.
No one would hire me. Retirement was abrupt. I able to admit now that physically and mentally I am no longer able to nurse. It has taken 2 long years for me to recognize this.
The prognosis was not good. Plans were being made to put me in a nursing home. With my stubborn nurses's will I refused. I am now self sufficient physically, not financially. The facilities I worked in had no retirement, no 401k. There is no compensation for all the years I gave my time, my family time, my week ends and holidays. I wound up with mega-bills even after insurance payments. I get by..barely on social security.
My biggest problem is that I so miss caring for people. I miss giving my eight hours of love and concern to my patients. I miss procedures that are so routine to those of you still on the floor. I miss little things like starting IVs, monitoring wounds, seeing a short moment of lucidity in a Alzheimer's - dementia patient. I miss creeping into a elderly patient's room at the end of the shift, just to hold their hand and smooth their forehead. I miss the trusting smile.
I was able to care for two friends in their terminal last days as a nurse. I kept them in their own homes for their last days. That was my goal. I would not have had this opportunity if I were still working. I was also able to use my long embedded nursing skills to save two lives in odd places.
What do I do now..just sit and watch TV. Play on the computer, knit? I know I still have the skills, the love in my heart for nursing, but the physical, mental, endurance is gone. The loss of nursing is almost at devastating as the loss of a loved one.
Those of you just starting out in your profession, know this...You may have bad shifts, become frustrated with "the system" burned out...what ever the term... looking back, it was all worth it.
Just tell me what is there for me to do now????