Here’s How America’s Oldest Nurse Celebrated Her 92nd Birthday


Typically in life, people go to school, get a job and one day, retire. Ideally, we study something that we enjoy, find a job that we like in that field and then enjoy our retirement. That doesn’t always happen. Sometimes people end up counting the days until they can resign for good, but other times, quite the opposite happens.

Have you ever known someone who loves his or her job so much that they simply never want to retire? Not to say that these people are workaholics; they just enjoy their profession so much that they can’t imagine life without it.

Working definitely keeps people from becoming isolated at home and gives them a reason to keep learning new skills, but considering how much we love to travel, it’s easy for us to think of things that we could do (and places that we could see) to keep us busy in our old age without holding down a job.

Florence “SeeSee” Rigney loves being a registered nurse so much that even at age 92, she is still working at Tacoma General Hospital. Wrap your mind around that.

First of all, we would feel incredibly blessed to be 92 years old and healthy and mentally sharp enough to hold down a job. On the other hand, maybe it’s the job that’s keeping Rigney young.

Rigney’s first day of work as a nurse was back in 1946. Although she’s still working, she has taken several breaks. When she and her husband adopted their first child in 1958, she stopped working full-time and just filled in as-needed.

Then, in 1977, her husband passed away and she went back to work full-time until she was 67 years old. At that time, she decided to retire.

But wait, how could she retire at age 67 and still be working at age 92? Retirement didn’t stick. She missed working too much, so she went back to work after just 5 months of retirement. Just because she was old enough to retire didn’t mean that she was nearly ready to walk away from a profession she enjoyed so much.

Rigney enjoys working with her co-workers. She enjoys helping the patients. She appreciates that the job keeps her mentally sharp and forces her to learn new things, like how to use a computer.

Sheri Morris, assistant nurse manager, told TODAY, “She runs circles around all of us. She’s a wealth of wisdom and knowledge, and we absolutely love her.” Her Fitbit indicates that she walks 2-3 miles during every shift.

In the video below, filmed when Rigney was still 91 years old, watch her in action as she goes about the work of being a nurse.

At 92 years old, her co-workers took a picture of her with her birthday cake and posted it on Facebook. It got a lot of attention.

Rigney says, “I’m really very blessed. My health is good and they want me to work.”