A woman said to be the oldest working nurse in the country is hanging up her scrubs after more than 70 years.
Washington-based Florence "SeeSee" Rigney, 96, is headed into retirement after her final day as a nurse at MultiCare Tacoma General Hospital last Friday. MultiCare shared a news release July 18 in which it claimed Rigley is America's "oldest working nurse." Her career spanned seven decades, according to MultiCare.
"I don’t like to sit around – I’ve always got to have something to do. That’s my nature," Rigney said in a statement adding that she’s always wanted to become a nurse. "I love to interact with patients and give them the help that I can."
Rigney, a mother of two, traveled across the country for her career throughout Washington, Texas and Wyoming as an operating nurse where she would set up operating rooms to help surgeons and patients before surgery. And well into her nineties, Rigney would walk up to three miles – according to her Fitbit – during her shifts.
The vivacious woman once tried to retire when she was 65 but could only be away from her beloved post for six months, MultiCare said, adding that she returned to Tacoma General hospital to work full-time as an operating room nurse before shifting to part-time.
Rigney says she’ll enjoy more time with friends and family in her retirement and reflected on the changes and medical innovations she’s witnessed throughout her career. It all began more than 70 years ago when she put on her white uniform of a student nurse in the Tacoma General School of Nursing in Washington.
While Rigney will leave behind quite a legacy – she has some advice for fellow nurses.
"Don’t ever think that you know it all," she said in a statement. "I kind of did that when I was in the operating room and you have to always be open. You never stop learning."