Going to school for NP at 52 yrs old-am I crazy?

  1. 2

    I am new to this site. I am currently in the process of starting my RN-MSN (just finishing up pre-req's this fall and will start Core class in Spr 2011 term).

    My question is - I will graduate with NP degree (master's) in 2014. I will be 57 then. I know I will still be 57 if I don't go to school, but just am weighing the expense, etc of continuing or not. I plan to retire between 65 & 70 - I really don't have lots of $ to retire on so am also planning on having everything paid off before retirement.

    I would like to be a NP and perhaps teach as well. I also checked into some of the government sites (Indian health, and National Health sites) for loan forgiveness and may go that route if possible to get loans paid off (they say in two years). It would be great if that were the case.

    Any opinions are appreicated. Most of my NP friends highly suggest this route as feel it is the way to go with health care reform and to get away from the physically heavy work of bedside nursing. I am currently an oncology nurse (inpatient) - have been a nurse since 1991.

    Also - what type of pay do NP's make? I currently make approx $65,000 year (without any overtime, etc)- I am in Indianapolis.


    MBARN and gprocopio like this.

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  2. 23 Comments...

  3. 1
    Hi there and welcome. I lived in Indy from 92 to 96 while hubby was stationed at the now-defunct Ft Ben.

    At any rate - I endorse going to school. You never know what will happen in the future. For sure the economy is tanked now but it might improve in 10 years who knows?

    My choice for education would be the FNP route because it would give you the most options.

    As to pay - I live in IL and not sure what the pay is in Indy but would suspect its comparable to central IL and I started as an APN 4 years ago in the mid-70's with excellent and I mean excellent bennies.
    1smrtnurse likes this.
  4. 0
    Go for it!!! I finished my RN-MSN program (as an FNP) last year at age 47 and it's one of the best moves I ever made. I was fortunate to get a job in a community health center that was eligible for NHSC loan repayment, so my loans have all been paid back in return for a 2 year commitment. It's a great program and they have a lot of money available now. I'm in the Boston area and my starting salary was higher than what you're making as an RN. Factor in the loan repayment and then it's a LOT more than $65,000!!! Physically, the job is not that demanding, other than being on my feet for most of the day. There's no heavy lifting/moving of patients and equipment, and my back and knees are still pretty happy at the end of the day.
  5. 2
    If people of this age bracket go for their RN, LPN, or even CNA education why shouldn't you go to become a NP? Do it if the only reason is because it makes you feel good about yourself. And don't think you may not be working in your 70's. I have met more than one nurse and CNA who was in their 70's and still going strong (out of necessity). Good luck.
    MBARN and 1smrtnurse like this.
  6. 4
    All I can say is good luck with going after the NP degree. It's a great thing to do regardless of age, belief or any other possible hurdle anyone can ever think of (as there are NONE). NPs are the wave of the future and will probably be in dire need, always. If anyone who has obtained the degree can do it, then so can you. All you need is a pound of determination, a spoonful of hope, a sprinkle of love and support from your loved ones, and a dash of energy, and you're off to a running start to a very satisfying career. You may not be able to teach in a university, as many universities are headed towards requiring their instructors to be doctorally prepared, since by 2015, all NPs are to be doctorally prepared, and those who have obtained their NP degrees before will be grandfathered in, but there will ALWAYS be a need for preceptors for aspiring NPs-to-be, and that is equally important.
    How good is the pay? I earned $95K last year, will earn 6 figures this year. The interesting thing is, I have been an NP for 3 years.
  7. 6
    I am doing it too at 52. You're only as old as you feel and this keeps me young!
    MichiganRNk8, MBARN, 1smrtnurse, and 3 others like this.
  8. 3
    Hi Lynn 5707:
    I started my NP program in 2006, worked full time while going to school part-time, and was 54 when I started school and 58 when I started practicing as a NP. Age has nothing to do with it. Getting control of your future and career is where it is at.
    As someone has already pointed out, lots of people are working into their 70's. If you find yourself in this situation, do you want to do that as a RN or a NP? I have never regretted going back to school for it.
    I worried about getting hired as a NP when I graduated from school because of being 58 but have had no problems d/t "age."
    Seriously, if you feel you look "older" and will standout because you are older than some of your work peers, get a makeover, a new hair style, new hair color, facelift, whatever.
    You will be so much happier as a NP. You go !!!
    MBARN, angiedarlingRN, and 1smrtnurse like this.
  9. 2
    Thanks to all for such great responses.

    I don't really feel like I "look" older - or even act older - at times have just wondered about the expense, etc. I am hoping to get into a loan forgiveness program when I am finished.

    Thanks again for all the help! I go to orientation tomorrow. I finish up the rest of my pre-req's this Fall, and will start my core classes in January.
  10. 2
    you are smart to attend an np program! go for it and don’t look back.

    there seems to be rapidly growing opportunities for nps in our health care system, and salaries are rising. as a new np, i am excited about both of these prospects.

    yes, i understand this maybe somewhat dependent on the state and city where you reside or intend to practice. however, the national healthcare plan is scheduled to be phased in beginning next year. i heard projections that as a result of this legislation millions of currently uninsured americans will have access to health insurance; therefore, healthcare utilization (especially primary care), will rise dramatically. this expectation of mass increase coincidently comes at time when physicians are going into specialties or becoming hospitalist. this prefect storm (metaphor), leaves a supply side gap will likely be filled by nps (and pas.) now, let’s hope that increased coverage and lack of supply fulfilled by nps will lead to rising reimbursement. all nps and np-students need to join the two national, and our individual state, np organizations to empower these groups that represent us to the government ensuring we are properly and fairly reimbursed for services provided to patients.

    if you completed your np program in 2-4 years from now, i feel confident there will be many opportunities in all areas of medicine available to you. this may include a significant increase in compensation. if you chose to practice in a government designated “medical underserved area” there is a potential of tuition reimbursement. depending on your interests, and state regulations, you might be able to even practice on your own part time providing a great service and earning money after “retirement.” go for it!
    MichiganRNk8 and MBARN like this.
  11. 0
    Thanks for the encouragement! I should graduate in Spril 2013. Currently I have been accepted to the adult NP program, but if possible I may switch to family practice. I really would like to be in a program for tuition reimbursement.

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