Oldest working nurse retires at 96: “You never stop learning”

Nurse Florence 1

Rigney began nursing school in 1943 and started out in her career in the operating theatre. She worked at hospitals in Texas and Wyoming, just as penicillin was being introduced.

She took time out from her career to care for her two children, and did try retirement – 30 years ago at the age of 65 – but only lasted six months, according to news reports by KING-TV.

Nursing was something Rigney “always wanted to do”, and the best part for her was being able “to interact with patients and give them the help that I can”.

Always willing to step up and assist, Rigney is still active – she walks 5km regularly.

“Some of her colleagues joked that they had to sprint to keep up with her,” shared Laureen Driscoll, President of MultiCare Tacoma General and Allenmore hospitals. 

“She’s continued to be a dedicated nurse and an incredible resource to her colleagues and community.” 

Rigney has observed countless changes in nursing during her career. The biggest difference she says is the reduced time patients spend in hospital, with most now only spending only a few days in the hospital’s care before heading home.

MultiCare Tacoma General plans to recognise Rigney’s contribution to the hospital by offering a scholarship in her name for nurses and employees interested in continued learning and development. The scholarship will be named the SeeSee Rigney Nursing Endowed Scholarship Fund.

Rigney told KING-TV she has maintained an open mind throughout her career, an attitude that has allowed her to “keep up” with the many changes that have occurred while she has been nursing.

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