Meet Florence Rigney, America’s Oldest Working Nurse

Meet Florence Rigney, America’s Oldest Working Nurse

Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind than it doesn’t matter!!!

Today, Let me introduce you to the America’ oldest working nurse. 91- year- old, Florence Rigney is working in Tacoma General Hospital. She has been working there as a nurse for more than 70 years. She is well known to her friends, patients and colleagues as “SeeSee”

In an interview Rigney told

“I have something to get up for in the morning. And I do like to be able to interact with patients and give them what comfort and what help I can.”

Her dedication towards the duty at this age is truly an inspiration for her colleagues. During her 8-hour shift, she’s on her feet setting up equipment, readying operating rooms for a dozen surgeries in a day and helping patients onto the surgical table. She works for two days in a week.

The Fitbit Rigney wears on her uniform shows she usually wracks up two or three miles worth of steps each shift.

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“You can never have a moment where you go, ‘Ugh, I’m too tired,'” hospital technician Greg Foland said. “If you hesitate for even a second she’ll just keep on going.”

Keeping going is a bit of a motto for Rigney, who retired at 67. That lasted six months.

“I always knew that I wanted to come back and work a little bit, but I never realized I’d stay for 25 years,” she said.

When Rigney started nursing, penicillin had just been introduced. The biggest change she’s seen aside from the obvious medical innovations is the duration of patient stays. In the old days, she says, patients could stay for 10 days or longer after surgery. Now most go home in a day or two.

A video celebrating Rigney’s 90th birthday went viral in 2015. At the time, Washington Governor Jay Inslee issued a proclamation congratulation the country’s oldest working nurse. News stories followed and still two years later, “SeeSee” is a bit of a celebrity.

“When we have any new residents or new nurse students come in they always say, ‘Is SeeSee working today? Can we see her, can we meet her?'” said nurse manager Cilje Kennedy.

Rigney says she cherishes decades of memories, including names of patients she cared for and thank-you mementos they’ve shared with her. Her 92nd birthday is approaching in May, and while she has reduced her schedule to just two days a week, she admits she will eventually hang up her scrubs for good.

“I just feel very honored that they’ll still let me work,” she said.

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