Retirement for Classic LifeCare RN Margaret Moule is less about free time than filling her time with meaningful moments.
“I practiced retirement at 60 and I got awfully bored of playing cards,” says Moule, over breakfast bagels and coffee in her Southwest Calgary home in early September. “I took a labour job for $10/hour to stay busy but that wasn’t for me. I needed to feel like I was making a difference. That’s when I saw an ad in the paper that Classic LifeCare was looking for an RN and it ended up being a wonderful job for me.”
Moule worked at Classic for five years and started the retirement process again in August. While she is no longer with Classic, she will work casual hours at Rockyview General Hospital for another year or so as she prepares for her second attempt at retirement.
“I think retirement will require a bit more preparation and I may keep working casually for years, depending on how things go,” laughed Moule. “I would like to be a first responder volunteer for the Red Cross, which required you to be on-call. So that would be difficult to do if I was working.”
Her plans include downsizing to a smaller house, continuing to travel, treks with her bike club, staying busy and active, learning to sketch and play the guitar.
The nature-loving mother of two says she explored other career options and enjoyed travel and outdoor adventuring before becoming a nurse and starting a family.
“I started nursing later in life,” says Moule, who first pursued an arts degree. “I initially wanted to pursue a career in social work, but that didn’t pan out. I always knew I wanted to work with people.”
Moule had been living in Toronto, Ontario and moved West to Vancouver Island. She attended a technical nursing school in Castlegard, B.C. She worked in surgery in Trail, BC, and in internal medicine in Nelson, BC.
Moule describes her work with Classic as rewarding.
“It’s a great privilege to go into a person’s home and interact with them when they may be a bit vulnerable. It’s amazing how they can manage in their own home surrounded by their things and memories, as opposed to someone in the hospital who is catered to and in an unfamiliar environment.
“People keep their thoughts more organized when they are in a familiar setting with their sentimental items. I think their intellectual and mental functions remain more intact when they can stay at home.”
Britney Didier-Shaw, Classic LifeCare’s Regional Leader – Alberta, says Moule will be missed and left an impression on everyone who worked with her.
“Margaret is a nurse through and through,” says Didier-Shaw. “The first thing that comes to mind is old school. Margaret shows a real level of professionalism and thoroughness. She has old values and a spirit of great morale.”
She says Moule was a hospital nurse for most of her career and really appreciated and respected the opportunity to go into the homes of clients.
“We were lucky to have Margaret at Classic. She shares a little piece of her wisdom with each of us and always surprised us with stories about her life or her experience nursing.
“She is very direct, though always careful not to offend, but gets her point across clearly. That’s so important in this line of work. It requires grace and Margaret certainly touches everything she does with her little wand of grace.”
Moule says Classic is a wonderful organization and she will miss the clients, coworkers and the flexibility of the job.
She says the most difficult thing about a career in nursing is navigating the many levels of management and bureaucracy in the public system.
The most positive part of the job has been the resilience and positive attitudes of people – even in their most weakened and painful stages of illness.
“There is very little depression amongst the very ill. I find that interesting.”
Moule, who has lived on both coasts of Canada and a number of places in between, says she has experienced all of the most beautiful places in the country. Even though she has traveled extensively, she prefers Canada to anywhere else.
“One place I would love to travel is Antarctica. The authors of The Lonely Planet claim it’s their favorite place, and they’ve been everywhere. I imagine it’s a beautiful, vast landscape. I’d like to see that.”
By Lissa Miles