Nurses over 50 &/or with health issues affecting work

  1. 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 of an AA (sustained while working) and other reasons)).

    I think it would be great to be able to talk to others about how they are handling things or what they have done in the past (for those who have retired or found alternative means of remaining in Nursing that are easier for them.

    Feel free to email me or respond on this buletain board!

    HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!
  2. Visit Karen4HIM1951 profile page

    About Karen4HIM1951

    Joined: Jan '02; Posts: 54; Likes: 2
    Home Health RN (on medical leave for awhile d/t CFS)


  3. by   oldgal
    I have been an R.N. for 40 years and have always worked in either the O.R. or ICU. The past 5 years have been really hard for me and I can appreciate how you feel. About 3 years ago I bid on and got a job still at my hospital doing telephonic nursing. Last year I became ill and required O2 24 hours a day. I was able to continue working until our main customer was bought out by another insurance company and our jobs were terminated in Oct. I was physically unable to return to hospital nursing and have been out on short term disability since then. I was told by my Human Resources Dept. that I would not qualify for disability and I should not even apply but I did anyhow. Now, I am trying to get long term disability as well as Social Sec. Disability. If you try for this you will need the support of your family physician. Fortunately, I have that as well as 2 pulmonologist recommendations. I found that the younger nurses had no sympathy for anyone older and complained constantly about the older nurses. It's a long fight and I wish you well. Unless you can find something easier to do or have amedical problem, it's really difficult. Please feel free to e-mail me.
  4. by   oramar
    Quit the working two years ago. Have some health problems but not nearly as bad as some of the things other people are dealing with. My problem is managment. They just are not flexible. Made several attempts to return to work but the rules are so ridgid. All I need is some very minor accomodations. Was told it has never been so and will never be so. One out of every five positions remains unfilled and that is managments choice. Private email me anytime.
  5. by   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.


  6. by   prmenrs
    Fortunately for me, there are some folks at work that love me.

    I am 56, I weigh too dam* much, I'm depressed (3 antidepressants), I have high BP (2 antihypertensives), IBS, exercise-induced asthama; I'm slow, I forget stuff.

    That's the bad news.

    I LOVE babies, esp premies, I love helping moms breast feed, I'm VERY funny and can almost always make folks laugh.

    I want to stop! Oh, yeah, I don't have a degree.

    I don't know how to stop, or what to do.

    If I retire now, I'll only make about $2800/mo before taxes. I don't think we can live on that.

    I'm crying right now as I type this. If I'm not a nurse, what am I?
  7. by   Karen4HIM1951


    You guys are great - thanks for your replies - couldn't get thru to email two of you personally so here's a generic THANK YOU

    With an invitation to email me anytime
    Especially you OVER THE HILL Folks - would love to talk to you all and share how we are all coping!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I go for sleep studies in a week to see if part of my problems are due to lack of sleep - Just had blood drawn to check if I have that Gillean Barre (spelling?) virus that indicates Chronic Fatigue.

    My husband just told me to go see a counsellor - that it's all in my head (As if age and Many years of hard work can be in my head!)

    From a very person!
  8. by   P_RN
    GB? Or Epstein Barr? I thought that too a couple of months ago. Even though it was positive I was told there is nothing positive that proves CFS. Latest "thingy" is I might have arachnoiditis. It's nothing but "fun" nowdays.

    I can't even drive anymore. 57 y/o and dependant on family just to get up and go....

    Oh and I wish I COULD get $2800 a mo. My retirement system said I was too late applying so I would have to go back to work...earn at least $800 and THEN if I could do that I wouldn't NEED the frickin' retirement.
    I only get $1275 from SS.
  9. by   nursewoman
    I know exactly what you mean. After working 22 years in the ER and ICU, my back was completely gone. I have to make lists to remind me of things i need to do throughout the day. I have developed tendinitis in my hand from repetitive tasks, charting, and now computers. My salary was almost the same as new graduates, and I got no support from my hospital where I worked loyally for many years. When I asked to work 8 hour days instead of 12, I was turned down. I finally decided to find a position that would be less stressful, less physically difficult, and with more autonomy. I took a job as a nurse in a probation detention center. I have 8 hour days, less stress, almost no physical requirements and every weekend and holiday off. I get paid more than I did in my last job and I actually get a thank you. The downside is that I am bored beyond belief, but I thank God for the opportunity to stay in nursing. A little cooperation would have kept an experienced ER/ICU nurse in the hospital, but I couldn't get it. Don't give up hope. I would look for other options. Hang in there. You can teach an old dog new tricks.
  10. by   live4today
    Hi Everyone,

    I just celebrated my 50th birthday about five weeks ago. I've been inactive as a registered nurse almost five years now, and desire to return. After listening to your stories, it makes me wonder why I should even bother. Please tell me my nursing days are not over? I loved nursing that's why I want to return. I had to go inactive while undergoing severe physical therapy treatments three days per week due to a right shoulder muscle tear. I went from not being able to hold a pencil without being in pain to about 85% strength now in my right arm. I've gone on several interviews recently that did not pan out for me. They didn't want to hire someone who couldn't "lift a patient all by themselves if the situation called for it". HA! What a bunch of crock, huh? Anyway, any advice you all could share with me, please do. You can either email me, or I'll check back here tomorrow to read this post. Thanks, nurses.
  11. by   oldgal
    I don't know about the rest of you but I find it very distressing that when nurses are not able to continue working, we have no assistance at all. Unless your employer has a decent retirement program, your only option is filing for Social Security. And it sounds like we all know how well that goes. I has to withdraw all my retirement at a substantial penalty in order to live while I'm trying to get some permanent income. If I get my S.S. I will receive about $1300/mo. and along with my husband's SSI we will have to live on that small amount. Nurses do not take care of themselves and do not provide for themselves. The young uncaring nurses forget that someday they too will age. Again, please feel free to e-mail me. I only have time at this point.
  12. by   P_RN
    Oh this is all so true. When I was working I made as much in 4 days as I get in an entire month of SSDI. My prescriptions alone are nearly $900/mo.

    I hate to discourage anyone, but to the younger ones I sincerly recommend that you have some OTHER plan than SS and your retirement system. Fortunately my retro check from SS paid our mortgage off and most of the medical bills. My hubby took early retirement Dec 31, because he was having so much trouble getting time off to help me. It's a disposable world out there. And WE (Nurses)are the non recyclables.
  13. by   Karen4HIM1951

    Well folks - sounds like we all belong to the same club!

    Where are those jobs that can use all our out vast years of experience that can't be taught in Nursing school!

    Where are the wise Administrators that recognize that we are still the same people that have made literally hundreds of patients smile and feel better?

    Now I know what they mean that youth is wasted on the young!

  14. by   VickyRN
    I am 46 years old, soon to be 47. Objectively, I look 10 to 15 years younger than my chronological age. People are very suprised when they learn just how "old" I am (LOL). I have noticed in my intensive care unit that there is a significant division between the "older" and "younger" nurses. (A very large percentage of our nurses in the unit are NEW GRADS... the subject of another topic.) I try very hard to relate to both groups. It is more than age difference, I find it is a cultural difference, generation gap issues. The younger folks have been brought up in an entirely different world than we "older" folks knew, with vastly different belief systems and morals. Regardless of the age differences, it is vitally important that we all work together as a team. In terms of keeping up, it is STRESSFUL (physically, emotionally, mentally) for ANYONE who works in our unit, regardless of age. I take tons of supplements just to feel on top. I go to work with my "skates on," ready to run all 12 hours, if need be. Don't know how long I can keep up with this pace, don't even think about it much, so far I'm OKAY. There are many forty-something nurses on our unit (including the assistant nurse manager), but NO fifty-something nurses. Don't know why. Turnover is terrible in our unit anyway. Rarely does someone stay longer than 3 years. There is a smaller hospital in my home town (in which I work parttime) that is much more older-nurse friendly. This smaller hospital has great nurse-patient ratios, offers 8 hour and 12 hour shifts, is a non-profit institution versus profit institution (this would make an interesting subject for another discussion thread), and has LOTS of older nurses at the bedside (some are close to 70 years in age!). I have decided if life gets too brutal in the "fast lane" (my present unit), I will switch to the smaller, more nurse-friendly facility .