Boomer Nurse no longer able to do bedside nursing

  1. I'm a 59 year old RN with 39 years of nursing experience in ICU, ER, Case Management, Occupational Health, Home Health, and Pediatric nursing. Over the last year, I have lost 3 jobs. In all 3, my supervisors have said I'm no longer safe to work at the bedside. I didn't believe them. Over the last few years, I've begun taking meds for bipolar disorder and have had 2 TIAs. I'm told I had no residual effects. To be honest, I'm physically slower than I used to be and I don't think as quickly. I'm looking for a lower stress job that doesn't involve bedside care. Are there other nurses like me? What did you do? I can't afford to retire yet.
  2. Visit Cwiema profile page

    About Cwiema

    Joined: Feb '12; Posts: 25; Likes: 44

    25 Comments

  3. by   traumaRUs
    So very sorry for this. I totally get the aging of nursing. Some ideas:

    case management
    home care
    private duty
  4. by   Been there,done that
    We're all physically slower in our older years. The concern is you "don't think as quickly" and three supervisors have said you are not safe at the bedside.
    That leaves a non-bedside position. Only you know if you think quick enough to return to a case management role.

    Best wishes.
  5. by   HelloWish
    I have a 63 year old nurse friend who is doing well in pediatric private duty.
  6. by   gr8rnpjt
    Hi there. If you've done case management you should try working for an insurance company. Many are opting for working from home. Your experience makes you a perfect fit.
  7. by   GrumpyRN
    I'm in my early 60's and worked for 35 in nursing so understand your viewpoint. However if 3 supervisors have told you you are not safe then you need to listen to them. One saying it could be just an excuse to get rid of you but when 3 say it....?
    As Been there, done that said there is a concern.

    In my case I felt physically unable to carry on - I required pain relief every shift plus patients and colleagues were starting to annoy me so I knew it was time to go.

    59 is still very young but you need to step back and look honestly at what you can do and then find some way of doing that.

    As I am in the UK I am unable to suggest job options - in NHS I would possibly advise clinics (Monday to Friday, no stress).

    Good luck.
  8. by   caliotter3
    Extended care home health, respite case on night shift where you spend a great deal of your time doing skilled observation while the patient and the family sleep. In a lot of these cases with very young patients, the parents will say they don't want you to change diapers except for at the start and end of the shift. If there are no scheduled meds or treatments during the night, you won't have much to actually "do" besides remain alert to the patient's condition. You can actually ask your agency to place you on this type of case.
  9. by   meanmaryjean
    I am concerned that three different different supervisors at three different jobs have told you that you are not safe to practice. You seem to gloss over this and claim it is because of your age, but is it? What caused three people to come to the same conclusion about your ability to practice - and why you don't believe them?

    Some serious self-reflection is needed here.
  10. by   Wuzzie
    Quote from meanmaryjean
    I am concerned that three different different supervisors at three different jobs have told you that you are not safe to practice. You seem to gloss over this and claim it is because of your age, but is it? What caused three people to come to the same conclusion about your ability to practice - and why you don't believe them?

    Some serious self-reflection is needed here.
    And a STAT visit to your PCP for a thorough evaluation.
  11. by   iluvivt
    Why did they say you were not safe?Were you making too many errors...unable to critically think....what exactly?If you can pinpoint it down for us we can make suggestions.
  12. by   Oldmahubbard
    Yes, a stat visit to your PCP for a full work-up, and definitely start the paperwork rolling for Social Security Disability. You are getting very close, and it takes a while, sometimes a very long while, to get approved.

    It sounds like you are at the point where one more incident, or diagnosis of any kind, will make you completely unemployable.

    A large adjustment of your financial expectations may sadly be in order.
  13. by   VivaLasViejas
    I had to retire at 55 for much the same reason---couldn't think or move as quickly as I needed to. I have bipolar I and my meds weren't quite figured out back then, plus I was having trouble with short-term memory and learning/retaining new information. When I made a med error that involved giving two heparin injections to the same patient, I knew it was time to give it up because I was unsafe at any speed. I ended up going on disability 18 months later after losing three jobs in one year.

    It seems to me that you might want to sit down and have a good conversation with your doctor, preferably your psychiatrist (I'm assuming you have one and are on medication). Tell him what you've told us here and be sure to explain your circumstances in more detail. Personally, when more than one individual tells me a thing, I pay attention; if only one person says it, I can take it or leave it, but when several are telling me the same thing it's time to re-evaluate. You may also want to run it by your PCP; repeated TIAs can contribute to memory issues too.

    I know you can't afford to retire; I couldn't either but I didn't have any choice. Perhaps a job in one of these capacities mentioned by previous posters might be perfect for you. I wish you the best of luck.
  14. by   CharleeFoxtrot
    Quote from Wuzzie
    And a STAT visit to your PCP for a thorough evaluation.
    Can't like this enough, and a visit with their mental health practitioner as well.

close