National Nurses' Week is next month, celebrating nurses and the care they provide their patients. One surgical nurse at Tacoma General sets the bar for dedication and perseverance.
At 88 years old, Florence See-See Rigney is a blur of constant motion.
I use to wear a pedometer, she said. And I walk 7 miles, 8 miles [on the job].
Rigney is one of 30 nurses hard at work in surgical services, a unit that can do up to 70 surgeries a day.
Ever since I was a little girl I always wanted to be a nurse, said Rigney. I like to help people.
She graduated from Tacoma General nursing school just after World War Two. Sixty-seven years later, she still works two days a week, prepping operating rooms, supplying them with any of the ten thousand tools, tubes, and medications needed.
She's right on it, said staff nurse Bonnie Schurman. If she sets up your room, you know everything is going to be there.
Nothing seems to slow her down, except some technology.
Damn computers, Rigney said. I'm not a speed ball on the computer.
She tried to retire once in 1996, but she couldn't stay away. She thinks working in the operating room is exciting. She also loves helping people get better, but admits that helping patients has also helped her.
It's helped me mentally, keep alert, she said. Physically. I feel like I'm blessed to be here.
It gives me hope for myself, said Debora Hozeny, charge nurse for surgical services. I want to be like her. I aspire to be like her. To have energy. That 'get up and go.'
And so far, Rigney has no plans to stop.
They kid me and tell me I'll be here til 90, and I say no unless they have wheelchair ramps, she laughs.
Tacoma General has no age limit for any of their staff.