At 71, a nursing career 41 years strong…and no end in sight

My nursing career started in 1971 when I was 30 years old.

Before that, I had spent years as an accomplished vocalist, majoring in music in college and studying private voice for 14 years.

I married and had two children and when I was 30, I realized I needed to get a job to help supplement my husband’s income.

I went to a vocational school and became an LVN. My first job was in labor and delivery.

At that time, LVN’s could do more, and I was in charge of the nursery and assisted in the L&D rooms also.

After five years, we moved to Colorado where I worked as a float LPN.

I was there for a year before changing hospitals to one closer to my home in Aurora.

Before I left, however, I had encouraged the LPN’s there to speak up and be allowed to do things they had been taught but were not being allowed to do such as passing meds and doing dressing changes.

I was thrilled when the management heard us and began allowing the LPN’s to do more.

At the hospital in Aurora, I worked for 5 years as a float, getting experience in every area.

The hospital opened a new ICU at that time and I was encouraged to go back to school for my RN so I could work there.

Never too old

At the age of 40 I went back to school.

I took a “challenge” program and secured my AD RN in one year.

I worked in ICU for 18 years and felt I had found my niche.

At the age of 50 I returned to school part time and received my BA in health arts.

Then our hospital was purchased by a large corporation, as were several other hospitals in the area.

They sent all our acute care facilities to the larger hospital down the street and turned ours into an outpatient facility.

“After one year of retirement, I was going “stir crazy” and decided to return to work.”

I did not care for the larger ICU at the other hospital so I came back to mine and took charge of an overnight OBS unit.

I then planned all the protocols and opened an infusion clinic which I managed for another 3 years, and then continued as a staff and charge RN for both units which we combined.

Before I left, we were also doing orthopedic surgeries. At the age of 64, my husband and I decided to retire and move to the smaller town of Pueblo, where we remodeled his parents home.

After one year of retirement, I was going “stir crazy” and decided to return to work.

However, I didn’t want the stress of hospital nursing, and I wanted to be able to work my own schedule.

I saw an ad for a hospice nurse and applied as a PRN.

When I was in ICU, I always did well with the dying patients and their families, giving them support and comfort.

I had also started a music therapy program that was well received.

So I started a new experience as a hospice nurse.

It was then that I discovered my true calling, and have been so blessed with my years in this field.

I am now 71 years old and still an active Hospice RN.

It is interesting to me that I began my career assisting life INTO the world and am nearing the end of my career by assisting life OUT of the world.

It has been a wonderful and exciting journey, and I am so glad I became a nurse. In no other field could I have made a difference as much as this one!

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