“You say that you didn’t want to become a teacher or nurse. But then you became both. Looking back, what would you have done differently?” asked a senior nursing student at Hope College while I was meeting with them last week.

Chatting with former student, now faculty member

Chatting with former student, now faculty member

An interesting question because it’s one my friend Marianna and I pondered many times as we traveled along together in our respective careers. Even after all our ponderings, I had to answer I wouldn’t change a thing.

But, I  did have to tell the students there was one time that Marianna and I thought we’d spruce up our careers. It’s a long story, but the students caught my humor when I told them a shortened version of when Marianna and I decided to check out joining the Navy. We went for the introductory interview. Our reasons for joining weren’t very solid. First, of all the armed forces, we chose the Navy because those uniforms would fit our color wheel, knowing, for example, that neither of us would look good in Army green. Second, we could enjoy our new positions working just the one required weekend a month, allowing us to still carry on our careers and our roles as moms and wives. And, third, we could fly free to where ever we wanted to go if there were empty seats.  We saw ourselves flying all over the world.

I told the students my friend and I were gone for a long time on that interview day in downtown Chicago. I recall the interview being about three hours long, and I’m sure we had lunch before and dinner after before we took our trains home to our suburbs. I remember when I got home my husband greeted me with, “Oh, when you didn’t come home by dinner time,  I thought you were already out sailing on the high seas.”

We did not end up joining the Navy. But we sure had fun entertaining the idea.

I loved being a nurse. So many options. I loved being a teacher. So many fun students. Now, I  love being an older nurse. More correctly, I love being a retired older nurse. But no matter, I still like reading about us older nurses. I especially liked what Nurse Alice Facente said in the October 3rd, 2014, AJN Off the Charts article describing what’s good about us.

10 Good Things About Being an Older Nurse | Off the Charts.

So, yes, we appreciate what you younger nurses can offer us. Just know we’ve been there, done that, probably many times, and maybe have a thing or two we can share with you. Along with a little humor.

As a retired nurse looking on, I’m hoping you younger nurses are being patient with older nurses that may be having more difficulty than you are transitioning to EPIC or the latest  electronic record system. And know, when the system goes down, the older nurses will gladly help you chart on paper. And even graph your BPs and TPRs.