SeeSee Rigney, 90 Year Old Working Nurse

SeeSee Rigney, the oldest working nurse in the world was celebrated on her 90th birthday in May 2015 as she arrived for a shift at Tacoma General Hospital in Tacoma, Washington. 

Nonagenarian senior citizen Rigney was nominated for a March of Dimes Nurse of the Year award in 2015. She told South Sound Magazine in 2016 that she has been working (on an off) as an operating room nurse for 70 years at Tacoma General Hospital – that’s 7 decades of nursing. 

Before she could begin her nurses training in 1943, SeeSee had some obstacles to covercome:

My father did not want me to be a nurse. In fact, he was very reluctant to even give me money to pay the tuition. He thought I should go to business school and be a secretary.”

SeeSee Rigney graduated her nurses training program in 1946.

Her secret to longevity? “I don’t know if it’s my Polish heritage? Could be. I just kept active all the time. And I feel very blessed that my health is good. I have aches and pains. But when you get to be 90 I guess you have a few.”

Rigney has always enjoyed the excitement of the operating room, but says that now she’s 90, she doesn’t stay in the room for the entire operation; she brings patients in and does setups, and does relief nursing for coffee and lunch breaks.

SeeSee’s advice for young nurses: “Don’t ever think that you know it all. Because I kinda did that when I was in the operating room … you have to always be open. You never stop learning.”

Clearly, commitment and keeping active are her bywords, and retirement is not in SeeSee Rigby’s vocabulary.


Anita Hamilton

50+ World editor & writer Anita Hamilton's articles are inspired by real historical events, places, and people. Her travel experiences, a lifelong keen interest in history, art, vintage music, books, silent films, classic movies, "golden age" television shows, fashion, & entertainment in general - combined with years of research - make her a subject matter expert with acquired knowledge & expertise on these topics. This, and a loving and supportive family complete with 3 mini-dachshund minions, keeps her busy.

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