I’ve known Carolynn Settle for most of my life. Her kids are my age and became some of our best friends when we switched to the First Church of Christ in Bluffton when I turned age 13. Carolynn is a great example of kindness and steadfastness. I love to write articles about inspiring people. This was a Senior profile for a special supplemental edition of the Bluffton News-Banner newspaper.
In 1992 Carolynn Settle of Bluffton, Indiana, started college. She graduated four years later with an Associate’s degree in nursing. Today, Carolynn is a registered nurse at Swiss Village Retirement Community in Berne. Her job is to assess patients with hip replacements and bypass surgeries for possible rehabilitation under Medicare.
Carolynn, a widow since 2002, works three days a week. The job allows her to support herself financially and earn health benefits. She has worked at her profession since 1996 and has no plans to retire. Carolynn is 70 years old.
A generation ago, many people in their late 60’s would never have considered pursuing professional interests, other than golfing or woodworking.
In Carolynn’s case, family members encouraged her to consider a late-in-life career. “I started nursing school at the urging of my daughter Peggy,” she says. “She was a nurse and kept telling me I would make a good nurse. When I told her I was too old, she said, ‘Mom, in four years you’ll be just as old, with or without a degree’.”
Peggy Settle Sagstetter offered to help her mother with her studies. Another impetus was Carolynn’s husband, Jerry, who suffered from cancer. Knowing she might have to support herself in the near future compelled Carolynn to contact Lutheran College of Health Professions on Fairfield Avenue in Fort Wayne (the school closed in the late 1990’s) for possible admittance.
A flood at her high school in Alaska destroyed her school records. But, in what Carolynn refers to as a “God-thing”, her status as valedictorian could be verified because her name was on the wall of her high school, due to her high rank.
After graduating from nursing school, Carolynn worked at the Wells Community Hospital, then accepted a position at Swiss Village in 1998.
Jerry passed away on January 1, 2002. In 2003 Carolynn quit her job at Swiss Village and moved to Kentucky to live with her daughter Lori Settle Nation (BHS graduate 1976). Feeling out of sorts, Carolynn returned to her home a few months later to accept a position as a Medicare nurse at Swiss Village.
Even though her career path has not been traditional, Carolynn Settle is satisfied with the way her life has gone. “I am thrilled to be able to assess people’s health needs and help them get the best possible care for their comfort,” she said. “My decision to become a nurse in midlife has been an unusual journey, but one worth taking.”