Nurses over 50 &/or with health issues affecting work - page 9

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   live4today
    Hi Maureen,

    Thanks for the compliment! So you think I should be an informatics resource person, huh? Hmmm, I'll look into what that entails to see if I have the personality for that. Thanks for the suggestion. Right now, I could use all the suggestions I can get from you nurses on this BB since I'm (almost) five years inactive as a nurse and trying to get my foot in the door again. I've been hoping for Newborn Nursery since I don't have to worry about heavy lifting on that unit. You see, I had a severe right arm injury almost five years ago that took me out of nursing all this time. I won't be able to lift anything heavier than a newborn anymore. Have a great weekend, Maureen!
  2. by   Franca
    Thank you, Nightngale1998, for graciously removing the number. Thank you too for your encouragement. This thread has been excellent.

  3. by   Karen4HIM1951
    It's almost too late (ll58pm) but - Happy Birthday Nurse Kitty!

    I hope you had a great evening out!!!

    I know what you mean by moving 5 times in 5 years - Because of my husbands work we had to move 6 times in 7 years!

    The job changing was HORRIBLE! I'm glad that My hubby got laid off when the company downsized back in l994!!!!! We had just bought a house so we got to settle down!! Even though it's in a different state then family!
  4. by   NancyRN
    I didn't go to nursing school until I was in my 40's and all my children were grown. The whole time I was in school, my instructors said things like "You have to know how to do this just so you can supervise your Nurse Aides, but you'll never have to do all the heavy work, as RN's". Ha!

    Now at 50 I'm being asked how to bring in more young nurses because we "old" nurses can't handle the physical demands. When I get sick I'm more interested in my nurse's level of experience than in her brute strength. Besides, can you imagine asking older executives to help recruit younger executives to take their jobs away from them?

    I see us, as nurses, playing the "Ain't It Awful" game, but not getting any changes made. What IS the solution? Nobody says a doctor should retire when he can no longer lift a patient or work 12 hours on his feet without a break.

    There is no real shortage of RN's. There is only a shortage of RN's who are willing or able to do hospital nursing. What can we do to change things?
  5. by   Furball
    I'm 40, healthy, but making plans for 50. I love working in a hospital doing bedside but I do see a day where this job will be impossible without the benefit of youth. I ain't right. but I'm looking out for number 1 returning to college for computer science. I can't picture myself in a nurse managements role as a possible alternative, yikes....

    I know..I know I'm contributing to the shortage
  6. by   Karen4HIM1951

    I wish I knew the answer. Unfortunately I had to leave Hospital nursing years ago (12 hr shifts and I didn't get along) but I love Home Health!!!
    With my situation - due to my husbands job - we kept getting transferred so I was NEVER at a job long enough to become established in an organization (and you need that to affect changes!!).
    Now that I'm in Home Health, I can see that there really isn't anything I can do (now that it's getting hard for me to keep up). The reason is MONEY! I have no idea how we can change things when we are competing with Profit/Keeping the agency/Hospital afloat!! So many HH agencies are shutting down and they have to do what they have to do to keep afloat!
    If a - or a group of younger nurses are willing to tackle this problem - THAT'S GREAT! Due to the Medicare rules - It would take becomming politically involved - affecting leglislature!
    I leave that to a MUCH BETTER PERSON than I to accomplish those things! G O O D L U C K ! ! !
    I sincerely hope that there ARE people out there who can change the face of Nursing like that! It will most likely be too late for me - but it needs to be done for the future of this Profession!!!
  7. by   northof49
    Hello from Canada! I've read with great interest of how the 50+ nurses are feeling and coping with their physical ages. I just turned 52, have been away from the profession since 1985 due to physical problems (carpal tunnel syndrome and a failed surgical procedure to correct it). I worked Orthopedics for 5 1/2 years, the last 1 1/2 as a casual that became fulltime without the union benefits.And you're right, the management will work you to the bone but when it comes to accomodating the injured nurse, you are dispensable. Once I left nursing, the carpal tunnel settled down and doing the occasional heavy lifting was not a problem. Now I'm returning not because I miss nursing but for financial reasons My refresher course is by correspondance with clinical experience near the end. I have found with all the writing that my carpal tunnel has flared up again. I have requested day sugery or ambulatory care for the practicum and they are trying to be accomodating.
    I know one thing I'm nervous about going back and not so much about all I learned initially but being able to do it all following the nursing model prescribed in the course. I feel that I may be slower than I used to be but will try to keep up. I have also explored another area that includes my nursing background and my love of cooking. I applied to work in the movie industry as a First Aid /Craft Service technician. It involved taking Occupational First Aid Level III which is the same course as Paramedics need and a food safety course. I am fortunate to live in the Pacific NW where the film industry is prolific. The OFA level III could also be used in other industries, is usually light work and certainly a different atmosphere than the hospital. So if my 50+ body cannot handle the physical trials of hospital work, I have another option. Many of you are concerned about your financial positions and rightly so as gov't pensions are meager and the employer doesn't always provide a pension plan. In Canada, we can set up registered retirement plans that can be paid by the individual themselves either every paycheque or before they do their income taxes or the employer can set up a deduction from your cheque to go into a fund. My husband & I learned a long time ago (through self-employment) that we would have to set aside funds ourselves in order to have something to live off of. I hope that any younger nurses reading this forum, will do some serious plotting and planning about their future, because injuries & illness can happen any time. I commend those who have managed to keep up with their duties and have been able to find lighter work in a profession they enjoy. Best of luck to all of you!
  8. by   nightingale
    Thank you for your post Nortof49 (great name)...

    Good luck with enjoying your new career! and Welcome!

  9. by   lever5
    I am 49 and in my masters program, I hope to teach when I can no longer do. When I finish my masters, I will try to do part time teaching and work to get my foot in the door. Right now I'm doing travel nursing. Trying to see some of the country, I like the option of working for 13 weeks, then some time off, I do not have to get involved in the politics of individual hospitals, and if I don't like it, I don't have to go back.
  10. by   live4today
    To Lever5:

    Ahhh, yes!!! The joy of being a traveling nurse! So awesome an opportunity! I use to be one, and wouldn't mind doing it again one of these years.
  11. by   NancyRN
    I'd love to try traveling but don't you have to work full time? I'm not sure I could do that anymore
  12. by   mario_ragucci
    Yall make me feel young (@37) and are an inspiration, as well as a knowledge base/guide. I still can not see myself getting old. I protect my back as much, if not more, than my you know what. I always bend at the knees, and lift with my quads. I try to catch myself slumping while sitting for long periods of time. You hafta make a consious effort.
    Youth is just a state of mind. I see folks of younger age who remind me of people who are much older, based on their additudes. Many younger folks are trying to secure their old age in their twenties, become fixated on accumulating money, and don't live very much. That is job security for me, because I'll be caring for them (if they need it) with physical problems associated with a sedentary lifestyle. (wink)
    Your heart, brain and zest-for-life are your indicators, not the numbers.
    Excuse my scatter-brain post here. You know how it is when you get old (wink) :-)
  13. by   mattsmom81
    To Lever 5: Where are you doing your masters program and what type? MSN or??

    To Renee: What part of Texas are you in? (I am in the Fort Worth area) Do you like it here?

    My advice to the younger nurses of today: protect yourself. Don't let docs, patients or families bully you into hurting yourself. Be extremely cautious around combative patients or behavior problems especially. Step back a moment and think hard before you approach a questionable situation where you may be hurt. Try not to let a tense situation make you act rashly and do more than you should physically. Make patients do for themselves as much as they can (don't let them con you). (I love those electric beds now that tilt back so patients can scoot THEMSELVES up without us dragging them up constantly) Those weren't around when I was young. (We had crank up and down beds before push button beds.. anyone remember?) Wear and tear over 25 years plus a few combative patient incidents did my spine in--then a car wreck topped me off with a neck injury..just my luck..LOL! Most nurses my age (47) have lousy backs for similar reasons and we DO lift correctly (of course that's not what management says) Environmental and patient factors are the biggest causes of nurse injuries, IMHO. Wish there were more studies out there on this topic.

    This is in 20:20 hindsite...I blithely thought God would protect me but that faith was not enough to prevent injury. Hospitals take advantage of our caring nature and ignore our need for lifting assist devices, adequate staffing, and reasonable limits. Docs fail to order appropriate sedation for violent patients. They scream "Get my 400 lb deadweight patient up every 2 hours". We are treated like workhorses in many cases, and then when we get hurt on the job, the hospital dodges responsibility and blames us.

    Sorry so long and I know I probably sound bitter, but I've seen this scenario occur SO often!! I would hate to see our young nurses repeat the same pattern. We have not enouraged our daughters and sons to go into our chosen profession...the above is one of the reasons IMO. Best wishes to all and I do so enjoy this forum! God bless!