Are You Working Past Retirement Age?

Updated | Published
by traumaRUs traumaRUs, MSN, APRN, CNS

Specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU. Has 30 years experience.

So….how’s everyone doing? Are all my contemporaries retired? Am I the only one left? Come on guys throw me a life-line.

Why do you continue working past "retirement" age?

Are You Working Past Retirement Age?

I’ve been thinking a lot about getting older (and older) recently. For me, nursing was a second career. When I graduated from high school, I immediately started nursing school because that’s what you did in the 70’s. However, about 18 months later, I realized I hated it and didn’t want to continue with all the work. To be honest, I was very lazy and saw no reason to put in the effort that nursing required. Hmmmm…what to do? Well, I joined the USN and shipped out two days later. Didn’t bother quitting the classes either so ended up with  <1.0 GPA. Along the way, I got married, had a couple of kids and worked several jobs. However, even I couldn’t take the easy way out for my entire life. 

At 32, I decided to try nursing school again. Not easy with such a lackluster GPA, two young kiddos and a husband that was deployed.  However, I never do anything the easy way - LOL.  I was on academic probation the first year.  I completed an LPN certificate, then an ADN, a few years later BSN, then MSN then a couple of post-MSN certificates. I even started a DNP program but quickly realized that wasn’t the route for me.  

I’ve been so fortunate in my nursing career to work with some fantastic people: other nurses, staff members, supervisors and colleagues. I loved the level one trauma center ED where I worked for 10 years, most of the time on night shift. The never-ending parade of patients with complaints ranging from minor to major trauma. I truly thrived in that environment - it forced me to be on my toes every minute of my 12 hour shift. So many good times yet so much sadness, the abused kiddos were always the hardest patients. You ED peeps know what I’m talking about.

After I became an APRN, I was very fortunate to land a great job in a large nephrology practice where I’ve been for the past 15+ years. Again, I am so lucky to work with some of the most passionate, compassionate, intelligent APRNs. My physician-colleagues always welcome questions and provide insight into patient care issues. As an APRN, while the job is much less physically taxing, it is MUCH more stressful mentally and emotionally:

  • Decisions about patient care that have possible dire consequences
  • Potential for errors
  • Conducting family meetings to discuss end of life care
  • Signing DNR forms

I joined AN in 2000 and was quickly hooked. I love AN. As it has evolved, so have I. Members come and go as have I. I’ve been fortunate to meet so many members over the years at conferences. The staff members that run AN are tops in the industry - they truly care for the vision of AN and guide it through the ups and downs of our world.

What’s the point of all my ramblings? Am I going to announce my retirement? Nope, not yet. I’m working past “retirement” age. 

I would like to hear from others, like me, that for various reasons continue to work past “retirement” age. Why do you continue? Finances, family situations? Or something else? What keeps you going? 

If you’ve read this far, thanks.

traumaRUs

traumaRUs has 30 years experience as a MSN, APRN, CNS and specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU.

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74 Comment(s)

Jedrnurse, BSN, RN

Specializes in school nurse. Has 30 years experience. 2,776 Posts

Work past retirement age? Sure am. I've seen too many people in retirement display too many traits that I'd like to avoid.

SmilingBluEyes

Specializes in Specializes in L/D, newborn, GYN, LTC, Dialysis. Has 25 years experience. 20,954 Posts

Not if I can help it!

LibraSunCNM, MSN

Specializes in OB. Has 10 years experience. 1,608 Posts

I'm quite a long way from retirement at age 36, although I hope to not work past it!  I just want to say thanks for sharing your story, I enjoy your posts very much and your job sounds really cool, albeit tough.

Tweety, BSN, RN

Specializes in Med-Surg, Trauma, Ortho, Neuro, Cardiac. Has 30 years experience. 31,589 Posts

Given my birthday, my "retirement age" is 66 and 10 months I believe.   My plan is to work until I'm 70, get a lot of remodeling work done around the house (kitchen, bathrooms, etc).  I started traveling the world in my 50's so I won't wait until retirement  to enjoy that (another reason why I put off retirement because I spend so much on travel, but want to travel while I'm young).

However, I'm not so sure I can deal with the stress that much longer.  I am thinking about asking my financial advisor to run a scenario where I do retire at 67 but don't take SSI until I'm 70 and see what he says.  He already says that if I wait until I'm 70 and keep doing what I'm doing I'll be fine.

 

Edited by Tweety

2BS Nurse, BSN

Has 9 years experience. 669 Posts

I am currently training a "retired" nurse in her 70's for a temp position. It's been fun! The EHR is challenging, but I don't have to worry about her being safe with patients!

dream'n, BSN, RN

Specializes in UR/PA, Hematology/Oncology, Med Surg, Psych. Has 29 years experience. 1,162 Posts

I sure hope not. Still have quite a while to go until retirement age and my mind and body are already tired.

ThePrincessBride, MSN, RN, NP

Specializes in Med-Surg, NICU. Has 7 years experience. 1 Article; 2,569 Posts

Absolutely not. I am saving like hell in order to be able to dip out of FT work by age 50. I am on the "FAT FIRE" program.

If I were to work more, it would be a very cushy, laid back job at the local library or maybe as a school RN with the best schedule ever.

nursej22, MSN, RN

Specializes in Public Health, TB. Has 37 years experience. 2,473 Posts

I plan to retire this year, and I'm 65. My family does not historically live into their 70s, so I want some time to enjoy my retirement. 

And I've become so disillusioned with healthcare that I want to leave it behind. 

NutmeggeRN, BSN

Specializes in kids. Has 39 years experience. 8 Articles; 4,526 Posts

3 hours ago, ThePrincessBride said:

Absolutely not. I am saving like hell in order to be able to dip out of FT work by age 50. I am on the "FAT FIRE" program.

If I were to work more, it would be a very cushy, laid back job at the local library or maybe as a school RN with the best schedule ever.

Ahem...school nurse here...awesome schedule, yes!! Cushy laid back job? Not so much!!

3 hours ago, nursej22 said:

I plan to retire this year, and I'm 65. My family does not historically live into their 70s, so I want some time to enjoy my retirement. 

And I've become so disillusioned with healthcare that I want to leave it behind. 

Ditto. My family tree is not filled with octogenarians...we're lucky to get into our 70s. I retired at 62 and haven't looked back.  I have no regrets and love the time to do whatever I want, even if that's just sitting and looking at the sky. 

RNperdiem

RNperdiem, RN

Has 14 years experience. 4,531 Posts

I am open to the possibility of working later in life. Women in my family can live a very long time.

The idea of a retirement at an arbitrary age with a pension and money saved up is a recent development in history. Traditionally in an agricultural society people worked in whatever capacity they could, and as they lost abilities, other family members picked up the tasks. I wonder how many people today will have enough saved to provide for the future they hope for in old age?