When healing hurts
... in the Merrimack Valley -- the vast majority of which are from nurses -- appear to have hit their peak at the height of the nursing shortage during the mid ...
Looking around the maternity ward at Lowell General Hospital, Candy Martell gets to feeling pretty old.
And that's not just because of all the new babies, young mothers or even because of the 20-something nurses fluttering through the halls.
"The number one thing is you don't have the stamina you once had," explained Martell, 52, a nurse for 25 years. "Normally, as part of the aging process, you don't move as well as you used to. I've got little spots of arthritis mostly from wear and tear, and arthritic changes in my spine."
Nearly three decades of squatting, lifting and odd stances, she said, have taken their toll. There's the wobbly right knee on which she had surgery. The ache in her back and neck. And goodness, she's tired. With the average age of nurses on the upward creep -- now nearly 47, according to the Department of Health and Human Services -- there's a new wrinkle to the nursing shortage. While seasoned professionals like Martell keep hospitals like LGH humming, the advancing age of
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