Nurses over 50 &/or with health issues affecting work - page 15

I'm sure I'm not the first (or the last) nurse to deal with this issue - I've been a Nurse for over 27 years and now I find myself having trouble "keeping up".(( Due to age? Weight? Arthritis? effect... Read More

  1. by   prmenrs
    Well, this thread got revived after 3+ years, and I just read what I posted on it. How my life has changed---and for the better.

    I did retire from that hospital in July of that year. With part of the lump sum I got, my son and I went on a 9000 mile, 6 wk cross country trip (in a Ford Focus sedan, and we didn't kill each other!!).

    In March of 2003, I got a part-time casual position in a smaller hospital, Level 2 nursery w/only 10 beds. If I work 2 shifts/week, I double my income between that and the retirement pay.

    I was able to come off one of the antidepressants. I have enough [emotional] energy at this point to undertake the diet from he**, lose ~75#s, come off one of the BP meds, start living a more healthy and active lifestyle. I feel better than I have in years: mentally, physically, emotionally.

    Life is better out of that environment. Much better!
  2. by   kaycee
    Wow this is an old thread. Happy to report, I had my R hip replaced at 47, with no complications. It's been 3 years and at 50, I still work in the ER, 4 10hr shifts a week. I'm on my feet all day and I pull my own weight. I may have to get the L one replaced in the next couple of years, but hey, I'll be the bionic nurse. Just wanted to let you'll know, I'm still workin and going strong.
    Last edit by kaycee on Sep 3, '05
  3. by   VivaLasViejas
    I'm glad to see someone dug up this "golden oldie", as it's still very relevant to a nursing workforce that is getting older by the day. I myself am nearing 50, and having graduated from nursing school comparatively late in life (38), I won't have decades of floor nursing experience like many of my co-workers who started in their early 20s; in fact, I give myself about 2-3 more years in Med/Surg, and then I'll have to do something less physical. I have a bad back, arthritis in my knees and hips, and early osteoporosis in the pelvic region; in addition to that, I'm severely overweight. But I manage fairly well given those limitations, and I'm proud to say I can still run with the best of ' just takes more out of me than it does my younger, fitter counterparts.

    It would seem to me, as a member of a huge contingent of aging nurses, that we should be looking to create jobs for ourselves utilizing our years of experience if facility administrators continue to ignore the nursing shortage and force the nurses they do have to work 12-hour shifts, give us large patient loads, and insist on our doing much of the manual labor with minimal assistance. Sometimes, as good as most of my own hospital's management is, I feel like nothing more than a pack animal, whose only purpose in life is to be worked until either it drops down dead in its tracks, or becomes useless and then is sent to the glue factory.

    So I say: if our employers will not help in adapting our jobs to accomodate nurses of varying ages and fitness levels, we must take the lead in preventing ourselves from being put out to pasture when we can no longer take the physical punishment of a typical hospital or LTC floor nursing job. I'm currently working with my department manager on projects that will hopefully eliminate some of the heavier labor, such as investing in a hydraulic bed pusher/puller that will relieve us of moving 300-lb beds with or without patients in them over carpeted floors, and lifts that reposition and transfer our larger patients without our having to use our backs.

    I'm hoping to parlay this into a permanent job one day........I can foresee spending the last part of my career working to make life easier for aging nurses like myself, and lobbying for more protections that will benefit future nurses.
  4. by   krisssy
    My aunt worked as a clinic nurse until she retired at age 80. Oh was she loved there. They would never have asked her to leave, and it was a big teaching hospital medical center. They made a big retirement party for her. She was a diploma school graduate of the 1930's I guess. She was a fabulous nurse-loved her patients. She always had high blood pressure kept under control with meds. After she retired, she went down hill pretty fast. She started to develop all kinds of heart problems that were not there before. I have heard these kinds of stories before. I was a nurse from age 22-24. I was an elementary teacher and a mother of three from 25-54. I am going to to be starting my parttime online psychiatric nurse practitioner's program in the spring of 06. If I graduate at 62, and I have my aunt's genes, I can work as a nurse for 19 years, and my dream of being a nurse will have been fullfilled.
    Working and helping others has always kept me feeling good, and no matter what anyone thinks, this is what I am doing! If you want to work, you keep working. I don't know about you, but golf and cards are just not for me. Although, I wouldn't put it down if you like it. We each must do what we feel in our hearts. Perhaps you too may want to go online for a different type of nursing now that you are older. There are soooooo many specialties now! Or perhaps you just want to continue to do what you love! Thank you for listening. I would love to hear what you all are thinking of. Krisssy
    Last edit by krisssy on Sep 3, '05
  5. by   Hopalong
    I'm 62, honestly, have been at this all my life. My Dad was a country Doc. So many changes, so hard to kieep up with. I just keep remembering, my G'ma was a active nurse until 92. She said they couldn't find anybody else to take care or the "old People". Hope this helps. God bless.
  6. by   Hopalong
    My reply, AMEN
    Last edit by Hopalong on Sep 4, '05
  7. by   Retired R.N.
    Quote from mattsmom81
    I suspect I will always be working part time somewhere in nursing...til I'm getting around with a walker...LOL! Who can afford to retire in this day and age??? And I can't get SS now til I'm 69 1/2 or so...if there's anything left by then...there won't be if our politicians keep stealing from the fund.

    I think the best retirement plan for us is to vote OUT SS and privatize it so people can make a nice nest egg for themselves without fear of gov't stealing it. Some areas have opted out of SS and have privately invested the SS dollars...they are retiring as millionaires, while the rest of us have our SS date pushed farther and farther back out of reach (they're hoping we die before we can collect it) GRRR.
    Instead of doing away with the current Social Security plan, we should strengthen it. Anyone who wants to start a private account can presently do so, and can have complete control over that account. If we let the federal government be in charge of those private accounts they can dictate which stockbrokers will get the commissions and how much those stockbrokers will be allowed to charge us in fees. How would you have liked to have your retirement fund invested in Enron with absolutely no waY of getting any changes made when you learned that Enron was getting shaky?
  8. by   krisssy
    Quote from cheerfuldoer
    Thanks for your responses to my own comments above. When we were young, we didn't think about "our turn" of being over fifty, but now that we are it's a whole new experience. We are NOT dead, we are very much alive and kicking, with plenty to offer this world. I wish I had the money to build a hospital and selectively hire all over forty year olds to work in it, giving them the best benefits and pay anyone ever could ask for.

    I've been investigating ways I could still use my nursing degree, but I will miss the bedside care. I'm looking into Parish Nursing. It's not a paid profession as yet, at least not in most places I've researched. I would love a "paid position" as a parish nurse once I finish the course.

    What other ways can we use our nursing careers to gain employment? Any thoughts on this?
    What is Parish Nursing?
  9. by   mattsmom81
    Quote from Retired R.N.
    Instead of doing away with the current Social Security plan, we should strengthen it. Anyone who wants to start a private account can presently do so, and can have complete control over that account. If we let the federal government be in charge of those private accounts they can dictate which stockbrokers will get the commissions and how much those stockbrokers will be allowed to charge us in fees. How would you have liked to have your retirement fund invested in Enron with absolutely no waY of getting any changes made when you learned that Enron was getting shaky?
    This is offtopic but:

    Obviously the investment mix would have to be wise, with a preference for diversity, and growth funds vs the risky funds. Nobody who is smart puts all their money into risky areas. I would LOVE to have all that $$$ I put into SS over the past 40 yrs...and have it invested in a slow growth fund..I'd be rich!!!! .I don't understand how anybody cannot understand the value in this!!! Today we have to fight to get our own money back from the government, they want to pilfer it,and they hope we die before we can get ANY...unacceptable. Why can't we be trusted to manage our own money??? Novel idea I know...
    Last edit by mattsmom81 on Sep 16, '05
  10. by   Daytonite
    Wow! What an interesting thread. The original poster is long gone from the forum. However, since some of you are comparing scars (I loved that scene in Lethal Weapon 4 when Mel Gibson and Rene Russo were comparing their old wounds!). . .here's what I've had in 30 years of nursing:

    bad varicose veins in one leg only (go figure), lead to peripheral edema and three stasis ulcers that took forever to heal up (because I wanted to work)
    plantar fasciitis, twice
    ruptured disk (have no idea how it happened) and laminectomy to correct it
    a tricky knee that I have fallen on a couple times over the course of working
    scabies--twice! thanks to patients
    a broken finger that got smashed against a door jam moving a bed out of a room (never put your hand along the side of the head board)
    HIV scare when I got harpooned by a nurse holding a syringe full of blood with the needle pointing out instead of pointed toward the ceiling during a code blue where there was a mass of staff working on the patient
    a Hepatitis scare when I harpooned my own finger (a clean in and out puncture through the fleshy part of one of my fingers) when I grabbed for a syringe that fell from my hand

    I love clinical nursing, but I've been re-thinking the drain on me physically and have started studying health information management and coding. . .desk job.
  11. by   mattsmom81
    Thanks for sharing Daytonite...we could have a whole forum here just 'comparing our scars' couldn't we...LOL!! I hear ya loud and clear regarding the desk job ...after we've been injured several times and our joints get older (and less bendable) the job starts to wear on many of us, and we worry about more severe injury down the road. New nurses at age 50 aren't as battle scarred, but most who have worked bedside for 30 plus years feel it.

    Good luck with the health info and coding...I have thought about learning that myself...who are you studying with????

    All the nurse jobs out there that I qualify for (no BSN) seem to involve physical demands which I am hesitant to accept at this point of my life. I seriously think it may be time for me to hang up the nursing steth and go into something else, like you are. Tempting.
  12. by   Jessy_RN
    Quote from P_RN
    To my face I was told that "I can hire TWO new grads for what I'm paying you." Fortunately (for them) this was before I got injured.

    I was keeping up just fine until that one task too many. Then the backs are turned, the doors are closed and you are forgotten.

    I finally started getting Social Security in September. That's after nearly 2 years of NO income. Believe me the bills don't go away just because you can't work.

    Call it discrimination, ageism or whatever. There are no OLD nurses out there, just ones who don't count any more.


    This is so appaling it made a knot in my throat! I can't understand that person's nerve. We are all flying that way (older side) and hopefully with it we grow wise and more compassionate. I am so sorry about this. Take care and God bless. :icon_hug:
  13. by   mattsmom81
    Hugs to you P-RN...I understand your frustrations and have watched as my coworkers were treated the way you describe. I'm glad you won SSD...I may be there in time myself.