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Retired Nurse Information: About Lalani Vanderheide

My Journey, by Lalani Vanderheide, Retired RN

My career as a nurse spanned 38 years. It was may passion and very diversified. I began in psychiatry, moved to small hospital nursing and then to tertiary settings. I discovered my love for critical care nursing while working in a tertiary facility. As every nurse knows, teaching is a huge part of nursing and was my first love in whatever capacity I worked. Over the last twelve years of my career, I was the Clinical Practice Educator for the Intensive Care Unit in a tertiary hospital. To say that I liked my role would be an understatement. It was an all-consuming passion.

I decided to retire in 2017. I had already postponed retirement for approximately two years because I was so happy with what I was doing. My husband retired two years before I did and I felt it was time I did as well. I had not really thought much about retirement beyond the financial aspects, having time to travel and maybe learning to play a musical instrument.

Leading up to the "big day" I felt fearful, anxious and extremely sad. In fact, at every retirement party thrown for me, I cried and felt so foolish for doing so. This was supposed to be a happy event wasn’t it? The "big day" arrived and I felt horrible. One day I was a busy educator with my fingers in so many interesting projects, an expert in my field of critical care, and had a solid identity. The next day we moved out of town and I didn’t know who I was anymore. My identity was gone, and I became more and more depressed as time went on. I suffered badly from depression in the two years following retirement. I felt worthless, lost and had no sense of purpose in life. I also had no motivation to do the things I always thought I would do.

I am happy to say that I managed to work through the depression, with a lot of help from medication, friends and family. My passion at the moment is to help my nursing colleagues have a successful and happy transition into retirement. Knowledge and preparation are the keys to a successful transition!