Nurses over 50 &/or with health issues affecting work - page 5

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   Karen4HIM1951
    Hey! I don't consider 50 old either!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I've been in Home Health around 7 years - Now find it hard ti keep up with it (becomming more and more demanding!).

    It isn't so much age as it is health - Have just been diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue - (whew! there for awhile I thought I was just loosing it - becomming senile or getting altzheimers!!! After all, I'm just 50!)

    My solution is to take a Medical leave of absence (that way the mortgage gets paid)(which starts today by-the-way!) and pursue actively-ways in which to treat (some folks say HA) the symptoms of this disease! I started by teaching my 16 year old to give me B12 shots yesterday (50-80% of folks treated with B12 injections every 3 days have shown improvement) and incorporating a changed lifestyle. Hopefully when my leave is over, I will either have found ways to manage this disease, or ways in which to adapt (go to part time? another job in nursing?
    quit nursing altogeather and pursue my writing? Who knows?)

    By the way!!!!!!!!!!!! I worked fulltime in nursing until my kids were born (1982) then I had the luxury to work part-time until my husband had his first stroke in l994 (full time since then!)

  2. by   Enright
    I found I couldn't physically hack floor nursing after 16 years. The biggest problem was the widesweeping change to 12 hour shifts. That was too long of a work day for me. At 46 I am now a government (state) RN consultant...develop policy, teach, inservice and do community health. It took me 10 years to track this job down!...the little gem jobs don't always advertise.

    I knew too many nurses in their 60's dragging themselves through each shift becasue the pitiful pension wasn't going to be enough to live on. Floor nursing is grueling...I often thought there should be a '20 and out' provision with half pay for life like the military.
  3. by   Karen4HIM1951
    Love that idea Enright!!!

    By the way - - I found my favorite AVITAR! Thanks!
  4. by   mario_ragucci
    I am still 2 years away from my RN, and I am a 37 yo male. That means I will be 39 when I get my RN, and 41 when I get my BSN. Yall are talking about losing steam at 60. I predict I will lose steam at 65, maybe. Body mechanics are important. Don't be afraid to get old. We are not disposable items; Don't suggest that. This is a serious discusion.
  5. by   Karen4HIM1951

    Don't be shaken up - most of us that are talking about being "discarded" are ones who've been doing the physically hard nursing work = with all the lifting = etc - for 25-10 years!
    We've been forced to abuse our bodies in the name of patient care! These were times when you did what you had to do whether it was bad for you or not - we had no choice - modernday techniques were not available and we wouldn't DREAM of asking for help (not that there was any around at that time either!)
    Things were just DIFFERENT!

    And the attitudes you hear us talking about are not figments of our imagination!!! There is a "throw away" mentality among Administrators/Institutions and younger nurses!

    Since you are just starting out - with a unique attitude from your perspective - maybe YOU can be one of the ones who change this!

    The Lord knows we are too "worn out and weary" to do it outselves - Nursing (which I dearly love) has taken the best of my life (which I really don't regret-It was/is my calling). It is just hard to get use to not being able to do what I could do - and difficult to find alternative ways in which to share our knowledge!!!!!
  6. by   mario_ragucci
    Isn't there a common law describing employers can't let you go, and hafta offer some compensation, if you get disabled at work/profession? Even though we may be shown how to stand, carry and reach correctly, it's still possible to get stress injuries after so many years. Sure, i can see if you do not work for the same place, then your on your own. For example, if you are 50, take on a new position, and then your lumbar starts caving after 5 years. I mean, I know the USSR fell 10 years ago, but common sense didn't. Wow! It starts to dawn on me that health care in America is a "for-profit" thing, and corporations, with boards, operate private ones. (duh)
    My choice to persue nursing is born from a talent to help and care for people, and that makes me happy. I'd get sad if a younger person bullied me over my age. Can I expect to be cared for as I have cared when I get to the end (>65),(when my body gives out)?

    it's unknown, and part of the downside is that its unknown. There is plenty I would like to say, but edit my words here on this discussion board
  7. by   norweaver
    It's true that there are compensations for on the job injuries, etc, Mario, but so many of us abuse our bodies through years of work. When you work shorthanded, you have total care patients, and everyone else is working as hard as you, sometimes you take chances you shouldn't take, instead of using good body mechanics. For the sake of the patient, we do necessary things, like turning large patients alone, etc.

    The problem is, you wear yourself out, and then the final straw drops when you're home doing something else, and then can't qualify for work injury compensation. Although, I think, unless really fully disabled, there are always other nursing tracks you can take without the physical activity involved in direct patient care, there are so many choices for nurses.
  8. by   norweaver
    I apologize if anyone took my comments as negative to the posts on this forum. I was trying, in general, to reflect on my own experiences on the job, which include many comments about "You're not a nurse anymore, are you" and classmates who are in clinical nursing who comment similarly. It gets difficult at times to deal with those that think if you manage clients over the phone, you are not assessing, planning, implementing, educating and evaluating.

    My apologies again, if offense was taken. I was also trying to point out that simply because your body is telling you to back off, it need not be the end of a promising, fullfilling nursing career.
  9. by   vicki444
    If you haven't seen the movie First Wives Club,do so-I'm sure anyone can relate to one of the profiles. Next,look for continuing ed that has the topic 'Resiliency for Women"-it was a big help. Then,revise a verse a little,to read 'do for Yourself,what you have done for others',most of your life as a nurse,mom,wife and now grandma--give yourself some love,respect,rewards,time for travel,reading,music,shopping wherever you want,shows(even by yourself) &on/on-plus prayers.It's takes time and thought to realize how important it is to shift the enabling to yourself,but the reward is worth it. I'm 56-been OR-RR for 28yrs-and currently most senior nurse in our union.RR has given me special interests in the terrible effects of addictions on the human being-so i've gone after further ed in forensics/criminal justice.In May,I flew 99each way to Orlando and earned a cert in legal nursing. Divorce was 14yrs ago after he tried to tell me his affairs were in my head! The world's still out there-go for it!! vjg
  10. by   RyanRN
    Someone said they would get $2700 a month if they retired right now! I would think I died and went to heaven for that money, all I get when I finally walk out the door is the door hitting this old dimply, plump arse! (that and the $2.27 left in my 401K<---I' m exagerating, but not by much!)
  11. by   jananurse
    I an one of those "older" nurses, 50 years old and have been in nursing 18 years (I was also one of those "older" students). I work with mostly early/mid 20's nurses and the one thing I find funny is that because I work Level II nursery in our OB unit and am "isolated" somewhat from the L&D, PP unit (by a closed door), they seem to forget I'm there when they are looking for advice. As a former nurse manager, I am used to "managing" situations and almost invaribly when they come to me for guidance I am able to provide a new perspective to help them decide how to handle the problem and they tell me I've been helpful. I try not to let it bother me but sometimes it does, especially when their solutions cause all of us more trouble. But I do think most of these young women I work with are well trained and hard workers and I like them. We joke about my "advanced" age and hormone instability but I feel like they like me and respect my experience. I am fortunate to work in an area that doesn't require heavy lifting so body wise I'm holding out pretty good. I can certainly tell I can't work as many hours as I used to, and when I do, I don't bounce back as quickly, but that's ok. I still love what I'm doing and love the respect I get in my community for what I do. Best wishes to all of you!
  12. by   NurseDennie
    I'm one of the older nurses, too. I was on neuro for too long, and now I'm not exactly crippled, but I'm certainly gimpy. I'm much too young to walk this way. But that's all water under the bridge.

    The post about being too old/heavy, etc. to stand the long hours really hit a note with me. When I was doing floor work, I was precepting a new nurse. (Wow - a SUPER nurse, I have to say - she was 22, straight out of school, very very bright, very capable and FUN to be with, a runner, in super shape, very healthy eater. BTW, she was hired for nights. When I introduced her to the night preceptor I turned her over with the following instructions to the preceptor: "Introduce yourself and stay out of her way." She was THAT good.)....

    ANYway, I worked 12 hour shifts, and twice a month I worked three of them in a row! At the end of the third day of one of those weeks when I was precepting that nurse, I was very tired. But it was the best thing in the world to see that young, thin, healthy woman turn to me with fatigue written all over her face and tell me "Oh God.... bedtime."

    So, I asked some of the others... It's not just us older, "seasoned citizens." The work IS exhausting, and it even wears out the new guys starting out!


  13. by   RNKitty
    What an eye opener! I love these intergenerational discussions because I always learn so much. Have any of you with your years of experience thought of teaching at the nursing schools to pass on your knowledge?