May 12, 2020/COVID-19

Retired Nurses Answering the Call During COVID-19 Crisis

Once a nurse, always a nurse – a note of gratitude


Today, as we celebrate Florence Nightingale’s 200th birthday and reflect on a very special and momentous Nurses Week, the Cleveland Clinic Stanley Shalom Zielony Institute for Nursing Excellence leadership team would like to thank and recognize the many retired nurses who are reaching out in this time of need, answering the call to duty.


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Throughout the past several weeks, retired nurses have been compelled to contact Cleveland Clinic, expressing their desire to help – in any way they can – during the COVID-19 crisis.

Without question, this outreach reflects the lifelong heart of a nurse and is what the Year of the Nurse and Midwife is all about – all generations of nurses coming together to serve those in need and the imperative role nurses play in providing health services.

One of the things that makes the nursing profession so unique and special is that nurses devote their entire lives to caring for others – and that calling doesn’t stop when they retire. Just ask the nurses in Cleveland Clinic’s Nightingale program, which offers newly retired nurses a flexible, part-time opportunity to work for the nursing unit or area from which they retired.

Angels waiting in the wings

As part of Cleveland Clinic’s COVID-19 patient surge planning, the health system has a selection of retired nurses who previously worked at Cleveland Clinic ‘waiting in the wings’ if needed. They have backgrounds in nursing specialty areas such as research, labor and delivery, pediatrics, cardiology, ostomy and home care nursing.

While retired nurses won’t be caring for critically ill or COVID-19 patients, they have completed skills assessment testing as well as comprehensive onboarding and training and could be used to assist in other areas, helping free up currently practicing nurses for COVID-19 patient care.

Thank you

Florence Nightingale once said: “Let us never consider ourselves finished nurses; we must be learning all of our lives.” To this group of hero nurses who feel they have more to give, we are appreciative. Knowing that our retired nurses are available is both heart-warming and re-assuring.

From new graduates to retirees – the COVID-19 pandemic is a clear reminder of why we as nurses chose this rewarding and fulfilling career.

Thank you to past, present and future nurses for your commitment and delivery of compassionate, quality care during this time of crisis and beyond.

If you are a retired nurse and would like to learn more about how you can stay connected with Cleveland Clinic’s Nursing Institute, email us at


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