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The COVID 19 Battle Cry for Retired Nurses

Updated | Published

COVID 19 epidemic brought me back to work after 20 years retired.

Specializes in Patient Safety Advocate; HAI Prevention.

Are you considering going back to work after retirement?

The COVID 19 Battle Cry for Retired Nurses

Just a few weeks ago, I was helping with a list of classmates from my nursing school class of 1970. Yes, it was so we could plan our 50th class reunion. I was looking at the young fresh faces on my class photo, including my own. I have worked as a patient safety advocate for the past 10 years, as a volunteer. I have not worked clinically for 20 years. It is surreal for me to be out of school for 50 years. All of those anniversary festivities have been canceled.

As those party planning emails came, the news on TV was getting more urgent about this new virus. COVID 19 had floated around for a few months. We heard stories about it when a bunch of people got sick on cruises. There were decisions being made about whether or not those people should be allowed back into the US. There were some pretty frightening images of the Chinese who were all wearing masks on the streets and many were dying. Some of the dying were doctors.

This article is featured in the Spring 2020 issue of our allnurses Magazine...

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The news got more and more scary

The few nursing home patients in Washington State became the beginnings of an epicenter for this disease. Then New York City, then parts of California. Just a few weeks later, here we are. Every State is affected including Maine with our very small, but older population.

The news is dire, every single day. Every day citizens are stocking up on face masks and hand sanitizers and clearing shelves of other necessities like toilet paper and food staples. There isn’t enough PPE for nurses, doctors and other frontline workers. There aren’t enough testing materials so that every single person who is exposed to COVID 19, or who has a risk factor or who may even have some symptoms, can be tested. We are all being trusted to socially distance ourselves, or to self-quarantine if we have a risk factor or symptoms. All of us are being asked to stay away from others and stay at home as much as possible. Basically we must consider every person around us to be infected…it helps us to socially distance.

Businesses and borders are closed

Still, irresponsible Spring breakers gathered in FL and other warm places, and COVID spread. Some large churches held big gatherings and services in spite of all of the warnings, and COVID spread. A few of our Senators and Representatives got it. Tom Hanks and his wife got it. This virus doesn’t care how famous, religious, rich or powerful you are….it will invade your body. It is a great opportunist.

My son is out of work as of Friday. My husband and I have been spending most of our days at home, but we drive somewhere daily. Our little dog has been the star of our isolation show, and we take him everywhere with us. One day we enjoyed a short trip to the coast of Maine, and I am so luck to be so close to such beauty.

And, this old nurse is going back to work

I knew there was something I could do. I communicated with other healthcare workers and with my patient safety colleagues. The effort to keep patients away from crowded clinics and ERs meant that someone was going to have to keep telling them that it was the safest thing for them, unless they had life threatening symptoms.

I called my local hospital. I asked if they had considered using retired nurses for some sort of telephone triage line. They hadn’t but they were very excited about my idea. Some of their staff was working on a phone tree and an algorithm. I offered to work from home, taking calls. I also offered to recruit other retired nurses to do the same. So, I have recruited 5 other nurses. 4 of us have had our physicals and background checks done already. We hope to be working within the week.

We all can help ...

We all can help, even those of us who are “older’, retired and at a higher risk of disease. Find a way. And for those nurses who are working with COVID 19 patients on the front lines, my hat off to you. Your courage and dedication just blows me away. I do hope that most of you will not face a shortage of needed PPE, and yes, I do know that some of you already have.

We are all in this together. Doing what the experts are telling us is our social responsibility, but nurses young and old can do so much more. We all need to stand together albeit remotely.

Kathy Day RN has been a nurse since 1970, most recently working as a volunteer Patient Safety Advocate. Her last clinical job was in an ER and Walk in Care.

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25 Comment(s)

Wizard 1

Specializes in ER, ICU/CCU, Open Heart OR Recovery, Etc. Has 12 years experience.

Good for you! I wish you luck!

I tried, but being on Probation in another state basically put a stop to that. I didn't even want anything like bedside nursing, I wanted to do what you are going to do.

But they said no.

CeciBean, ASN, RN

Specializes in MICU/CCU, SD, home health, neo, travel. Has 30 years experience.

I'll be 77 in a couple of months. I don't think so.

Not me. I'm on disability due to a heart condition, so its just too risky for me. I'm staying home, avoiding contact with other people. Just trying to,keep myself from getting sick. I do, however, think of all the nurses out there, on the front lines, dealing with this. My heart and My prayers are with you every minute of everyday , praying for your safety, and for your strength to be renewed each day . I pray this ends soon.

Not retired. But a stay at home mom/ PRN nurse at a LTC facitility. The local hospital is calls for nurses to step in to help during this crisis. I have a 3 month old and 3 year old. Do I step in to help? I feel guilty like I need to.


Specializes in Patient Safety Advocate; HAI Prevention.

Have you called your hospital to see if there are any remote jobs you can do, at home. That is what I was hired for, telephone triage for COVID, working from home.

There might be! Maybe I’ll call and see!

sooner74, ADN, RN

Specializes in med/surg/ortho/tele. Has 24 years experience.

Retired Nurse, you sound like an Amazing nurse too me.

I signed up on the IllinoisHelpls.net 2 days website and have not heard anything yet. Believe me, I'm not eager to jump into this, but I will help if needed. Anyone else sign up?


Specializes in Patient Safety Advocate; HAI Prevention.

At my age I would not go back to the bedside during this pandemic. But, many facilities are using nurses to help with telemedicine and also nurse telephone triage. That is what I will be doing for my local hospital. I start in the next few days.

sooner74, ADN, RN

Specializes in med/surg/ortho/tele. Has 24 years experience.

well my recruiter went to submit me to NY and about an hr. before they had just pulled all their M/S jobs, so I check with another recruiter and she said he was right, I was packed and ready finally found housing, Oh well life of a traveler...

Gloria Branda RN

Specializes in MICU,ICU.

I was a charge nurse on a 27 bed IMCU unit. 7-7pm. I loved it. I called my ICU manager she told me to try someplace else, that she has people in line to work there.. I'm 64 yo, been in Nursing since 1977. I have worked ICU/CCU/ER/Telemetry for more than 38 years. I want to help . I want to go back to work. I've kept up my license,my acls/bls and have remained a CCRN Alumnus. I have no disabilities, not even a back ache. I have never had anything against my license. I must be on a black list. I caught strept pneumonia in 7/08/2018. I was released to return to work in 12/2018. I've been out a year. But have kept up with my studies. I never get a call for hire. they say they will keep my resume.Help? Any suggestions?