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Career Advice for older nurse


Specializes in ED, Long-term care, MDS, doctor's office. Has 28 years experience.

I need some career advice. I almost 56-years old; and, I have been in the healthcare field all of my adult life: 6 years as CNA, 4 years as medical secretary, 17 years as LPN, and the past 10 years as RN. I have been working in the ED for the past 7 years, but I have not worked in the past few months. I have been through a lot. My husband passed away 9 months ago, I sold our home, and I have moved in with family. I have cleaned up most of my financial devastation. But, I still owe about $50,000 in student loan debt; and, I have very little in savings. I would like to go back to work, but would really like to work in a calmer area than the ED, as I suffer from anxiety disorder. So far, my anxiety has been well managed with self-care, grief support, and medications; however, I would like to work in an atmosphere that is not as labor intensive and stressful as the ED at this point in my life. I do have a BSN; and, I would like to remain a bedside nurse, as I do not want a managerial position or anything with on-call responsibilities. I am thinking about a Rehab Hospital or an inpatient oncology floor. I have previous experience in LTC and sub-acute prior to the ED. I have never worked the floor as a med-surg, tele, or ICU nurse. But, I might be interested in these floors. I also am very interested in pre-post op or pacu; but, all of the positions I have checked into require call. I really need to get back to work soon so I can start saving for housing that I will be able afford into retirement. I do not want to do home care or hospice at this time, as I do not have a good car and I do not want to spend so much time driving, the unknowns of going into other's homes, and the varied hours associated with home care and hospice. What is your thoughts? All comments, advice, information, and opinions are welcomed.

Rose_Queen, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in OR, education. Has 16 years experience.

2 hours ago, montecarlo64 said:

I also am very interested in pre-post op or pacu; but, all of the positions I have checked into require call.

Depending on the type of facility and staffing patterns, that call may be very minimal. For a setting such as an ambulatory surgery center, call may simply mean it's your turn to stay an extra hour to get the final patient out the door. In a major center that runs 24/7, it may mean that you'd only get called in if the proverbial brown stuff hits the fan and the scheduled staff are overwhelmed.

I work in a level 2 trauma center. We staff 2 nurses for PACU on nights. The only time they need to call in their back up is if the OR is going nuts with patients who aren't going direct to ICU. That's incredibly infrequently.

Our preop nurses take call essentially one holiday every 1.5 years.

For those positions you're seeing that require call, if the field interests you, apply and interview anyway. You can ask more about the call requirements at that time.