‘Age is just a number’: Georgia grandmother, 69, becomes registered nurse

Now at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital, the Albany resident said it was her love of people that motivated her

Becoming a registered nurse was a dream for Albany-native Loretta Mack. It wasn’t an easy road, and she didn’t do it alone, but — at 69 years old — the Georgia health care pro pulled it off.

‘’It was like everyone was waiting for Loretta to finish school,” Mack told local news outlet WALB. “I did it.”

Working in a medical setting was nothing new to Mack, who was a certified nursing assistant for six years. But a resource nurse pushed the soon-to-be septuagenarian to become an RN.

Loretta Mack, 69, is starting her nursing career at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital.
Credit: Phoebe Putney

Credit: Phoebe Putney

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Credit: Phoebe Putney

“I said to myself, ‘It would be a great example,’” Mack said. “I love people so I’ve always wanted to nurse or take care of people.”

She is now starting her nursing career at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital.

She didn’t have to face the challenge alone. Travel nurse Heather Jackson extended her contract just so she could continue to work at Mack’s side. She would go on to act as preceptor, a mentor for the Georgia native’s nursing studies.

“If there’s something that needs to be done, she’s going to do it,” Jackson told WALB. “(Loretta’s) going to make sure that you’re clean, that you’re fed, that you’re taken care of, and she will sit and talk to you too. (Loretta) doesn’t just come in and blow through your room.”

Mack’s positive impact caused more to flock to her cause as the lessons went on.

“From my sister, from my grandson, Ramondo, from my grandson Julian,” Mack said. “Everybody helped me. Even some of the doctors sat down and did practice tests with me, homework and all kinds of things.”

Looking forward, Mack has a message for anyone considering taking a similar leap of faith.

“Age is just a number,” she said. “I don’t know who thought of that but it’s just a number. I feel that at any age you can do whatever you set your mind to do. If you really want to do it, you can do it.”