Nursing Lifestyle

Meet America’s Oldest Working Nurse

Meet America’s Oldest Working Nurse

Florence "SeeSee" Rigney is a 92-year-old nurse at Tacoma General Hospital. Photo Source: Photo Credit: Joshua Bessex

Nursing is a profession that needs a lot of passion and dedication. It’s a back-breaking job and needs a lot of physical, as well as mental strength to sustain in the job. While it’s easy to find an inspiration in any field, it’s quite difficult to find one when it comes nursing. The reason is simple. Although nursing is one of the trusted professions in the world with lots of reputation, the career needs lots of patience and love for the job. When a person starts to look out for the best inspiration in the field of nursing, one would surely land upon America’s oldest nurse.

Introducing the Oldest Nurse in America

Florence “SeeSee” Rigney is the name of the oldest nurse of America. Till today, she is the oldest registered nurse working in the country. From her life story, it can be understood that SeeSee began her career in nursing in the year 1946 itself. What’s so inspiring about her life is that she was performing her nursing job during post-World War II. As people are well aware, this was the time when female nurses were overworked with the underpayment. Yes, this lady who was working at that tougher time is continuing her work even today at the age of 92. Above all, she still seems to be enjoying her job taking care of patients.

If anyone who wants to meet her in person can always see her at Tacoma General Hospital in the state of Washington. Several aspiring nurse students are taking inspiration from her. It’s all because of SeeSee enthusiasm in the job she does. She tells everyone she works with that she chose to become a nurse because she feels blessed to be in the field being able to take care of others.

How has the Nursing Field Changed Over her Whole Career?

SeeSee entered the field during the 1940s, when there were not many technological advancements. Since then till the 2010s, technology has taken over the medicinal field and today, it’s enjoying more sophistication. During the start of SeeSee’s career, she would have been performed all the daily tasks manually with the limited resources available. Because there were no technological partners to help with her, she would have taken her time to provide the necessary care for her patients in such a way that it required a higher level of personal dedication. It’s quite obvious that she had much higher level of dedication than the current day nurses because she sustained in the field for six long decades.

Back then, when she started her nursing career, much of the treatment process was relying more on the healing intuition of the nurses. In this way, it can be exclaimed that SeeSee was very fortunate as she was able to learn what it means to be a dedicated nurse. The current day nurses are unlikely to get such opportunities to work under more analog settings. However, they have got SeeSee all the way from those golden times. It’s their duty to absorb all the essence from this iron lady.

One important thing to be noted here is that SeeSee first learned how to operate the advanced computer systems at her 80s. People can learn two things from this. The first thing is how she was ready to learn new things in spite of her growing age, which shows her love to the field. The second thing is that nursing is a field that requires continuous learning. If a person chooses to enter into the field or be on the field, he/she should have the willingness to learn. Although this is true with any other profession, nursing can be given the first spot for continuous learning and development without any hesitation.

Celebrating SeeSee’s Nursing Career

SeeSee entered into her 90th year during 2015. On her birthday, she was seen entering the hospital just like any other day to begin her routine. But, all the fellow nurses were all set to surprise her. They greeted See with applause while one of them stepped forward to present her with a pink color sash and a tiara. At that time, everyone clapped and screamed “Happy Birthday!” Then, a beautiful bouquet of flowers was gifted to her. This sweet surprise from her co-workers drove her to tears of joy. This incident has to be taken as a life lesson by the aspiring nurses out there. Not everyone can be on the field for six decades like SeeSee. But, anyone can be as dedicated and passionate as her. This dedication and love for the job will gift him/her with sweet surprises from time to time.

There is a saying, “Respect is not a gift; you have to earn it”. SeeSee became the perfect example of this. As she moved forward on her 90th birthday, she was again surprised by the letter from the State Governor Washington. The letter officially stated that SeeSee is the oldest working RN of the country. With this note, the letter continued to applaud her for more than sixty years of service as an operating room nurse. The letter also had a note that SeeSee has seen some incredible technological advances as she helped numerous patients. The Governor applauded her for the long-standing commitment to the field and also for her continuous engagement in it.

What SeeSee has got for all this love and applause was a “Thank You” and a hug. But, the truth is that it was the nursing field that has to thank her for all the love and dedication she had for the same. There is no doubt, she is wonderful!

Considering the Retirement

Looking back on her lifelong journey in the nursing field, SeeSee was known to say that she would stay at the hospital but that she is thinking to retire very soon. By having a talk with SeeSee, one can understand how she feels blessed to have traveled such a long journey helping so many lives. She also shared that after she gets retired from her dearest nursing job, she is planning to go on a world trip.

Take Home Learning from SeeSee’s Career

What can someone earn from a lifelong career? A simple answer could be “a job well done”. But, in reality, the nursing career is just not this. There will be a lot of satisfaction from a lifelong career in any field. But, with nursing, the density of satisfaction is increased manifold as this is the career that has an impact on the people and society. Just like SeeSee, one can go through a lot of changes, as well as advancement in the system over the years. But, everything will put the person on the brighter side. The person can learn lots of lessons being in the job. Each and every lesson is going to nourish the person at the end of the day. Although it’s not easy to sustain in the nursing field for a longer time, one can achieve this by developing a love for the field by taking inspiration from the great ladies like SeeSee.