An obstetrical nurse made waves on Reddit this week when she shared her retirement online. She’s been working in the field for a total of 45 years and is now retired at the age of 67. She posted a photo of her working a shift back in 1979 next to a photo of her on her last shift at the same hospital where she’s worked for 42 years. Now that’s a loyal employee.
The nurse, who goes by the name “nankie” on Reddit, took the opportunity to reflect on how much the field has changed when she started right out of college. Working as a nurse isn’t what it used to be.
Looking Back on a Life Well Spent
Nankie’s photos elicited quite a reaction online, with over 3,400 comments on Reddit. “I am grateful that nursing seems to be such an appreciated profession on Reddit!” she wrote in response.
She added that she first graduated from Hunter College – Bellevue School of Nursing in New York in 1976. She went on to work at Mt. Sinai Hospital for 3 years before moving out to California, where she spent the rest of her career.
She noted that the job was often stressful, but ultimately “fulfilling.” In all her time on the floor, she only had one patient complain about her, but that was because she told the patient, “’Congratulations on your successful IVF’ and she did not want her friend, who was in the room, to know it was an IVF pregnancy.”
To be fair, how was she supposed to know the patient didn’t want her friend to know about the terms of her pregnancy? You live and you learn.
She went on to say the worst moments were when her patients didn’t have a successful pregnancy, especially when she was the one that had to give the bad news.
In terms of obstetrics, she says the industry has changed a lot, but the way women give birth has not, just the way we approach it.
“One nice change was that things became more relaxed, in terms of letting family be present, and having labor and delivery in the same room and not a mad dash down the hall to a delivery room,” she wrote on Reddit. “Also, a greater emphasis on keeping the newborn with the parents to bond, instead of whisking them away to a nursery, and breastfeeding encouraged more.”
Some of the biggest changes she witnessed was the introduction of electronic health records, which she says was for the best, even though they could be “annoying in their own right at times.”
She also said the ultrasound had perhaps the biggest effect on her practice; however, the fetal monitors and imaging technology hasn’t changed all that much. They also haven’t been able to prevent as many bad outcomes as some might have hoped.
She also lamented how much the industry continues to focus on money rather than helping patients. “The hospital feels like it has gone from a place of altruism to a big business,” she wrote.
Looking Good for 67
Many commenters were quick to point out how youthful the nurse looked in her picture for being 67.
But the nurse was quick to poke fun at herself. “I naturally picked a flattering picture where the lighting obscured the deep lines between my eyebrows and other signs of age. I have other pics where I definitely look older! I was laughing because this was about the twentieth picture my very patient co-worker (thanks Stacy!) took of me, and I looked weird in all the others!” she added.
In terms of her beauty regime, she said she usually slaps cold water on her face in the morning, avoids expensive products, and believes “less is more”. She tries to eat healthy, hates gyms, and loves ice cream.
As for her personal life: “I’m married (to the man who was my boyfriend of one year, when the first pic was taken!) and have a 29 yr old daughter, who was born at my hospital. And boy, do you get a different perspective on labor when you are the patient!”
After watching the industry evolve, “nankie” has lived through more than her fair share of ups and downs. It’s a remarkable achievement for any healthcare professional, and we wish her the best in retirement.