Making Retirement Fulfilling


Retirement can be difficult for men and women for a number of reasons. Many believe that their self-worth is directly related to their career. Then upon retirement such hobbies as golf, traveling, painting, etc. — while helping to fulfill many of their life long desires — never fully fill the void that “there must be more”. Sometimes this leads to physical, emotional and even spiritual difficulties. Depression, loneliness, and painful sicknesses can be the result. Medicines can often be helpful but they only treat the symptoms, not the root causes.

I have a suggestion that might be helpful. Each of us has wonderful gifts that can be used to help others. Once you begin to use those gifts there is such a feeling of joy and contentment that often medications are no longer needed, resulting in a general improvement in your attitude toward yourself and others. When I retired my wife and I became missionaries to those less fortunate. All my aches and even my chronic back problem improved dramatically. When you reach out and begin to think of others your entire life will never be the same — even if it’s simply a “good day” or a “hello” to a neighbor, friend or stranger. Give it a try. You won’t be disappointed.

The views and opinions expressed by Perspectives contributors are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or recommendations of the American Nurses Association, the Editorial Advisory Board members, or the Publisher, Editors and staff of American Nurse Journal. These are opinion pieces and are not peer reviewed.


  • Years of bedside nursing can really make its toll…18 years of being on the floor and I’m about ready to throw the towels. I finished my Masters Degree but there is not enough compensation in the Nursing Education. It will a compromise between money, health, or living a life without wants but just enough to survive…

  • Our hospital went bankrupt after HMO’s ,our pensions were not protected by ERISA and now it is very difficult. We took care of everyone.trysting god will take care of me.

  • Jeanne Brotherton
    June 14, 2016 12:31 pm

    These ideas about retirement and loss of identity as an RN are interesting and ones that I have grappled with. I have been an RN for 41 years and have a suggestion for those of you who would like to practice care of body, mind and spirit and who have a faith community or spiritual community.

    There is an ANA specialty called Faith Community Nursing with its own scope and practice. Basically, one serves as a health resource to a congregation or group, meeting both health needs (through screenings, like BPs, health education, etc), and providing spiritual care, especially at those times of life that involve a health crisis (through hospital visitation, advocacy, collaboration with others, home visits, individual counseling). Some faith community nurses are paid; many are unpaid professionals.

    Many nurses feel it is in line with why they became a nurse in the first place–wanting to care for the whole person.

    If you are interested, go to: for more information.

    Although faith community nursing (also called parish nursing) began in the Lutheran tradition, it has now expanded to include nurses of many faiths and spiritual traditions.

  • annakneemuss
    May 10, 2016 12:05 pm

    I am going through this exact situation, BIG TIME!!!! 30+ years and I am fighting for a way to stay in the game, so to speak, and the loss of not being on the Nursing-care giving end is shocking in its effect on my life. The self worth part is kind of embarrassing to admit and hard to accept, but I was warned before I hit the floors by a DNS not to let my career become my identity as a person. My since of being of worth to my community has been devastated. I refuse to give up and am fortunate to have a chance at having my own business taking care of diabetic feet and nails. Never envisioned totally retiring (can’t afford it either) and just wanted to cut back, but in my specialties is all about ‘busting it out’ every day and the years of pounding those floors took its toll. Great article and resource found right here. Networking has always been huge in my profession and had connections stretching from Eastern WA to Portland OR and Seattle, but those have dried up as the years rolled by and people retired or passed away. I can’t stress how important it is to keep the network or in my case, rebuild the networking. I get a kick when around the fresh new nurses and it brings my passion soaring to the surface. Thank You

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