A 96-year-old woman, believed to be the oldest working nurse in the country, has retired from a Tacoma, Washington, hospital.
Last week, Florence "SeeSee" Rigney retired as a nurse at MultiCare Tacoma General Hospital after over 70 years, according to a press release from the hospital. Throughout her career — which began as a student nurse at the Tacoma General School of Nursing in Washington — Rigney worked consistently, only taking a "break" from nursing to raise her two children.
According to the hospital, working as a nurse has kept Rigney very active. She's traveled across the country as an operating nurse and even logs up to three miles on her Fitbit from walking during her shifts.
"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 always wanted to become a nurse. "I love to interact with patients and give them the help that I can."
Rigney planned on retiring once at age 65, but after six months, she decided that she needed the job to stay active and keep her mind sharp. Now as she officially retired, the hospital noted that Rigney plans on spending most of her time enjoying family and friends.
"Even working into her nineties, SeeSee has never been one to slow down. Some of her colleagues joked that they had to sprint to keep up with her," said Laureen Driscoll, president of MultiCare Tacoma General and Allenmore Hospitals in a statement.
"She's continued to be a dedicated nurse and an incredible resource to her colleagues and community. It's humbling to stop and think about the thousands and thousands of lives she's cared for. Everyone at MultiCare thanks SeeSee for her unmatched dedication and service, and we're proud to honor her by supporting tomorrow's future nurses," she continued.
As she said goodbye to her beloved job, Rigney offered some advice for other nurses.
"Don't ever think that you know it all," she noted in the release. "I kind of did that when I was in the operating room and you have to always be open. You never stop learning."
In her honor, the hospital announced the creation of its SeeSee Rigney Nursing Endowed Scholarship Fund, which will provide scholarships to MultiCare employees for continued learning and development in nursing.