Nurses over 50 &/or with health issues affecting work - page 6

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   NurseDennie
    RNKitty -

    I don't know about the rest of us old-timers (heh heh). I've thought about it, but not really for very long.

    It seemed almost unrelentingly stressful. It would be less wear and tear physically, but I don't have the personality for it.

    I loved precepting new nurses, and I loved 99% of the students that I had in their clinicals. But that's just an entirely different type of responsibility, and I'm just not interested in that.


  2. by   live4today
    vicki444, you're a riot! God, I loved your post! Brought smiles to my face. Thanks for the inspirational comments you made.

    Jana nurse, at 50, you are NOT old! I am 50 also, and FAR from being OLD! I just finished reading an online article taken from George E. Vaillant, M.D.'s new book: "Aging Well: Surprising Guideposts to a Happier Life from the Landmark Harvard Study of Adult Development" that states (and I quote):

    "At every age, we live our life story in a different way.... The past often predicts, but never determines our old age.... If we look hard enough, we can find hidden clues that help explain how a person ends up differently from what we might expect.... " He also quoted Socrates in Platos "The Republic" by saying "I enjoy talking with very old people. They have gone before us on a road by which we too may have to travel, and I think we do well to learn from them what it is like."

    In reading excerpts from his book, at 50, it makes me feel like a youth again. Nurses 50 and over are the babies of the dreams that are yet to be brought forth in the making. We have much to teach those younger than us, yet we have much to learn still from those so much older than us. I guess you can say, we are smack dab in the middle of life at 50! Don't let those 'young ones' tell you how 'aged' you are...share with them how learning from you will 'possibly' spare them of a dimmer tomorrow as nurses.

    RNKitty is so right when she says that intergenerational chats are where it's at (written in my own interpretation of what she said).
    'Free education' stares us in the face every day. All we have to do is 'choose' to take advantage of it. Learning from one another is an education in and of itself that cannot be learned behind walls of a classroom. We don't even have to take out a loan or obtain a grant to gain this education. We just need to be more openminded, and learn from one another's perspective on life and nursing.


    "Men's courses will foreshadow certain ends to which, if persevered in, they must lead. But if the course be departed from, the ends will change." -- Words of Scrooge in Charles Dicken's "A Christmas Carol"
  3. by   mario_ragucci
    Nurse Dennie talked about working 3, 12 hour shifts in a row. Of course she had a 12 hour break between shifts, right? No one works 36 hours without rest and food. (?)
    Media images have burned us into thinking we are done at 50, unless we take drugs for sale. It's hard to ponder for me because i am "thirty something." We have a life span, that spans like wings. We are not machines; We're physical. Age is a number, not a definition! Everyone is different. I enjoy reading the responses very much
  4. by   NurseDennie
    Yes, Mario -

    I meant three days in a row. Total three 12-hour shifts out of a possible six. Although I suppose it could happen, I can't imagine someone purposely scheduling more than one shift without at least one shift "off" between them.

    And I agree with you about age being a number, not a definition. On the other hand, some things are better suited to people who are young. Nursing in many different areas is very physically difficult at the same time that it's intellectually challenging. That makes it a lot of fun and very interesting, but it makes the physical challenge more difficult for some reason. And, often being life-or-death, sometimes you expend yourself more than you realize at the time, or perhaps more than you "should." Who's to say?

    Yes, I agree, we're not "done" at 50. But it's a bit different. You don't see ballet dancers on the stage much at the age of 40, do you?

    You do see some people make it to retirement age in floor nursing, but it's usually not pretty. Have you ever seen "old nurse's gait?" Look around, especially at women who have done floor nursing for a long time, you'll see it, too.

    You're young and you're starting out - you'll be part of the solution to this. (If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate!)


  5. by   Karen4HIM1951
    It's been thoroughly enjoyable reading all the posts here!!!

    You're right - we definately learn from each other!!! And I'm very
    glad that younger folk are reading and participating in this discussion!

    As I told someone in a private message - I should have started looking for alternative nursing awhile back before things caught up with me! I guess I thought that I could go on forever!!!

    Thanks for all your suggestions - Teaching is out though - not in my personality AND you need a degree and I'm a diploma grad!
    I really like the idea of Parish Nursing so I need to spend this time I now have (on medical leave) and research it thoroughly!

    Just a suggestion - start looking around for alternative ways of using all your nursing knowledge now - that way you will not be under the financial gun!!!!
  6. by   mattsmom81
    I'm new here and so glad I found you! I am a member of the 'oldie but goodie' nurse corps too and look forward to reading and posting with ya'll!

    I think there are legions of us out there and we need to talk!.
  7. by   live4today
    Welcome mattsmom81! Glad to have you on board with us. This has been an excellent post so far, and I'm looking forward to reading many more comments about nursing over 50! Hope you'll share with us some of your own insights about nursing, etc.


  8. by   RNKitty
    Okay you full time night shifters, how do you do it for years on end. Last summer I took job with rotating shifts. I love the job, hate the nights. They make me sick every time I do them. AND I ONLY WORK 1-2 DAYS A WEEKS. Our family situation changes in 3 months, so I will have to leave the job.

    However, I've learned my lesson. I will never accept a position that requires nights again! I'm glad there are so many options to nursing outside of the hospital. I do L&D, and I can't imagine doing this when I am 60 years old. I don't think I could physically manage the job. So, give me tips on options out there that you have found and love.
  9. by   Karen4HIM1951
    There is a trick to tolerating Night Shift

    1- You need to do it Full time - rotating shifts is extremely hard on the body, your body has NO IDEA when to sleep and when not to!!

    2- You need to have that natural body rhythm that says you are a "Night Owl" you know the one - where you HATE mornings and LOVE nights! If you had your choice you'd stay up most of the night and sleep until at LEAST noon!

    3- You need to be able to sleep regardless of the light and sounds around you!

    4- and you need to be able to disconnect the phone and doorbell without any guilt!!!!!!!

    5- You need to be able to go to sleep as soon as you get home from work!

    GOOD LUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!! (I managed well for 10 years!, I slept while my kids were at school, and had the entire evening with the family - then slept as soon as I got home!)

    Of course that was when we were still allowed to work 8 hour shifts(11pm-7am)! Couldn't do it on 12 hours!!!!!
  10. by   RNKitty
    Now I know I'm not cut out for nights!

    1. I don't want to work full time
    2. My favorite time to get up and get stuff accomplished is 6am. I do my best work before noon.
    3. After nights, I do not sleep well. Maybe, if I am lucky, I can get 3 hours in a row.
    4. No problem there!
    5. Usually my husband can take the kids, so no problem there. All I can think of all night is getting home and getting to bed!

    The hospital is on 12 hours shifts, and we are homeschooling, so I really can't rely on my children being gone all day so I can sleep.

    Yup. Done. I'll have to think about per diem when we next relocate so I can have more say over my availability.
  11. by   mattsmom81
    PRN nights has always been the best for me and if Ii ever get back to critical care, I will do this and/or agency work. I love staying out of the politics and having the more controlled (usually) pace at night. Some nurses can't adjust their circadian rhythms enough--I found if I split them up and napped after work, sleeping normally on my nights off, I was able to tolerate nights.
  12. by   nightingale
    RNKitty.. this is a topic of great interest to me also. There have been some interesting posts in the Nurse Entrepeneur Forum (this has been put back up recently)... Check it out and give your imput....

    Not one of us.... can think as well as ALL of us...
  13. by   mario_ragucci
    I can't believe some people when they say they are fine with just 4 hours sleep. They may not be playing with a full deck (of properly firing axons and dendrites)
    When i worked graveyard, it took several weeks before things became normal. I took Sominex after the first week because I had read that astronauts and cosmonauts took them to establish sleep patterns in space. I took'em to force myself to sleep at 0900-1100 and get up at 1700-1900, after a complete sleep pattern. Earplugs - blindfolds
    A N D - you have to keep going to bed at the same time, even on your daze off. That was the trick. If you live in an active envirnoment, forget it.