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If I'm semi-retired, what kind of nursing work can I find without going back to school?

Friday October 15, 2010
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Dear Donna,

I have been an RN for 40 years, and have been an Army nurse in Southeast Asia during Vietnam, a supervisor and a medical review/appeals nurse analyst. I am semi-retired now, working per diem for one of the nursing homes locally. I have a three-year diploma and a BS in psychology, and have taken a few business courses. School and I never mixed well. Any advice? I don't really need to work but I probably have 30 years of life remaining. I was widowed five years ago and have no children. Right now I volunteer at the humane society and my church and do a lot of senior center activities.


Dear Donna replies:

Dear Leslie,

I presume you are seeking something more interesting, exciting, or challenging to do with all of your great experience, credentials, and
interests. It's challenging to come up with something specific without knowing more about what you love to do and what you're good at, but I'll make some general suggestions.

Contact your state chapter of the American Nurses Association (http://www.ana.org) and find out if they have a retired nurses coalition. It would
be good for you to stay connected to nursing in this way (if you are not already active), especially with other nurses in a similar stage of life and work. You may get some interesting ideas from other members.

Consider getting more involved with your state chapter of ANA (join if you are not already a member) by getting on a committee that interests you such as marketing, legislative affairs, education, etc. Some nursing associations have mentoring programs for new nurses, and that would also be a great way to contribute and stay involved. You might even consider doing some educational programs for nurses through this association related to financial
planning and investing. Nurses could sure use help with retirement planning and investing and would love to hear from another nurse on this subject.

You could also contact your local public health department about working at health fairs. Some boards of education, especially in large cites, need
nurses to escort medically frail children to school and stay with them in class. There are schools for the developmentally disabled that need surrogate grandparents for the kids.

Think about what you're passionate about and then consider how you can combine that with your nursing background. You clearly have a lot to offer and many ways and places to do it.

Best wishes,

Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, well-known career guru, is Nursing Spectrum/NurseWeek’s “Dear Donna” and author of “Your First Year as a Nurse: Making the Transition from Total Novice to Successful Professional” and “The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses: Practical Advice for Thriving at Every Stage of Your Career.” Information about the books is available at www.Nurse.com/CE/7010 and www.Nurse.com/CE/7250, respectively. To ask Donna your question, go to www.Nurse.com/asktheexperts/deardonna. Find a “Dear Donna” seminar near you: Call 800-866-0919 or visit http://events.nursingspectrum.com/Seminar.