At 94-years-old, Florence Rigney is the oldest nurse in America. Still, despite working at the same hospital for over 70 years, the country’s oldest nurse has no plans of retiring any time soon. Rigney simply loves what she does too much!
The Oldest Nurse In America
Age is just a number, not an indicator of your mental or physical health. Want some proof? Meet Florence “See See” Rigney, of Tacoma, Washington. Rigney has worked as a surgical nurse for the past 73 years in Tacoma General Hospital. Even more impressive, the 94-year-old nurse has no intention of retiring! In fact, she’s the oldest nurse in all of the United States! Not only that, but Rigney’s also one of the best: she’s devoted to her work, colleagues, and above all, her patients.
This past May, when the oldest nurse in America celebrated her 94th year on Earth, the hospital staff threw her a beautiful birthday party. Still, even on her birthday, Rigney kept busy, prepping patients for surgery and tending to her other hospital duties.
“I Keep Thinking I’m Going To Retire”
Florence Rigney knew from an early age that she wanted to become a nurse. However, believe it or not, her parents disapproved of the noble profession. They wanted their daughter to be a secretary, a job which, in the 1940s, made far more than nursing. Being a nurse meant longer hours at less pay. Still, Rigney stood her grounds and went to nursing school – and the rest is history!
As a surgical nurse, Rigney preps both the medical and patients before surgery. And she’s done it amazingly for the past 73 years. According to her Fitbit, during every shift, Rigney walks over two miles around the hospital during each shift!
In her seven decades at Tacoma General Hospital, the oldest nurse in America did have one break: when she turned sixty, the retirement age. Rigney took the year off but very quickly realized she missed her workplace and the joy it brought her. So, she decided to go back to the hospital and work full time. “I never intended to stay this long. It’s come to be a bit of a challenge. I keep thinking I’m going to retire,” Rigney said. Of course, the hospital felt ecstatic to have her back!
An Inspiration To Everyone
Surprisingly, her coworkers know Rigney best for not being able to stand still. You can always find the oldest nurse in America on her feet and working. In fact, until recently, Rigney did a full workweek of shifts, every week! However, recently, she realized that, due to her age, she needs more rest. Now, the nurse works two eight-house shifts a week at the hospital. One thing hasn’t changed though: Rigney still feels excited and ready every time she heads to work.
The hospital staff, including her boss, are aware of everything and are in constant communication with Rigney about her well being. They want to have her there as long as she wants and is capable of doing her work. Silje Kennedy, director of preoperative services, said, “She’s an inspiration to all of us. She runs laps around all the kids, and she’s kind of like our little boss on the days she’s around.”