Man, 61, begins second career as nurse at Riley Children’s Hospital

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — As Nurse’s Week is underway, News 8 is getting to know one of Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health’s oldest newest nurses.

Jeff Bick spent more than 30 years at Eli Lilly and Company before he was offered retirement at 58 years old. He says the unexpected curve in the road was an opportunity to serve the community in another way, as a nurse.

“I wasn’t ready to retire by any means. I figured I was good for another 10 or 12 years, so what could I do that would be meaningful?” Bick said. “My wife and I both feel like we’re lifelong learners, so you keep, you know, you keep looking for challenges. You keep looking for things that make life an adventure.”

So, with the support of his wife Jenni, Jeff Bick started down the three year road of nursing school.

“I found it refreshing. I like being around the youngsters… But I’m also finding out that you can learn something new. Your brain is still plugged in. It’s active,” Bick said.

It wasn’t always easy. There were challenges, including an accident that lead to surgery on both of his legs, but Bick stayed the course. He has graduated and is now a registered nurse at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health.

“I think it’s a brave choice,” Greta Price,  associate chief nursing officer of Practice and Professional Development at Riley Children’s Health, said.

Nursing is one of the most common second careers, but it’s also one of the most challenging college programs.

Price said nurses like Bick are valuable. They bring real life experience to patient care and in Bick’s case, the operating room.

“What are the things you see with second career nurses in particular is that they have lived years in the expert lane,” Price said. “That’s what Jeff has done, right? He’s chosen leaving the corporate world to provide a service to these very vulnerable patients.”

Bick, now 61 years old and starting a brand new career, said he may sometimes be the oldest in the OR, but he is constantly learning from the doctors and his fellow nurses.

“I got shoes on some of them, right? Well, I find the first thing you have to do is leave your ego with the door,” Bick said. “If you’re here to do patient care, to take care of people and that is your primary focus, you’re going to be willing to listen to and learn.”

And that’s what Bick said he is going to do for however long he can.

“I just want to continue to work and contribute. I am thrilled to be doing this. It’s the opportunity of a lifetime. I never expected to get an opportunity like this and I just want to make the most of it.

Bick is now taking part in surgeries at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health while taking part in the hospital’s one-year on-boarding program.