Most hospitals and clinics require their nurses to be licensed. Nurses obtain their licenses through the state by taking exams, but nurses who retire and let their license lapse later find that they still want to work. The lack of a current license does not mean that a retired nurse cannot work in the medical field, and in fact, there are many different jobs available for retired unlicensed nurses.
Doulas are individuals who help a pregnant woman through her pregnancy and the birth process. They do not deliver the baby, but instead cheer the mother on and provide items or services necessary for her comfort, such as getting water, holding her hand or keeping an eye on the mother's other children during the birth. Sometimes they help a mother form a birth plan and speak with doctors to ensure that the birth plan is followed as closely as possible.
Midwives provide all the functions of a doula, but they actually deliver the baby and provide exams to the mother. They may work in homes or in hospitals, depending on where the mother wants to give birth, although most hospitals that work with midwives require that the midwife obtain certification in midwifery. This is an excellent job option for nurses who previously worked in neonatal units.
Some states do not recognise doulas or midwives as medical professionals and seek to prosecute those who provide birth services outside hospital settings. Other states do recognise midwives and doulas and provide certification standards recognised by the state's medical institutions. Checking with your state for its stance on doulas and midwives is advisable before starting these careers.
Retired nurses have plenty of practical experience, even when they don't have a license. For example, they may have tips on how to communicate effectively with other medical personnel and hospital administrators, or they may have information about how to combat fatigue during a shift. Retired unlicensed nurses can teach this information to others, either through academic institutions or through private lectures/seminars. The retired nurse also may qualify as an instructor for basic courses such as CPR, which requires much less in terms of recertification.
Retired nurses already are familiar with medical procedures and terminology. This makes it easy for them to handle documentation related to hospitals and clinics. The only real requirements for this job are good organizational skills, attention to detail (particularly grammar and spelling) and the ability to learn and use computer software for records and data transfer. This is a good option for nurses who retire due to physical ailments.
Hospitals and clinics sometimes are the site of painful experiences for individuals and their families. Registered nurses may provide basic counselling services to these people. The counselling would not offer medical advice or seek to diagnose (this requires a medical or psychology degree), but rather would provide a listening ear and help patients and loved ones through periods of grief, frustration or anger. Certification in grief and other types of counselling is available.