Agism in nursing???? (furious rant potential)

  1. I gave up just short of $1,000 in pay in order to attend an internship fair at Baylor Medical Center in Dallas in October. I dressed up, polished up my resume, made a bunch of copies. I shook hands, smiled, made eye contact, got a lot of encouragement, all the managers I spoke with said they were interested in me. Looked me right in the eye when they said it too.

    Let's look at what I have (had) to offer:

    By the time the internships start, I'll have a solid year of hospital experience. I volunteer at a community clinic, and I am taking Spanish in order to increase my ability to care for my Spanish-only patients.

    I have an exceptionally good evaluation from my first supervisor, with complimentary remarks. I also have written praises from patients, maybe 15 or so that I can actually lay my hands on. Two supervisors and a handful of experienced RN coworkers have enthusiastically agreed to serve as references for me.

    I graduated with a 4.0 in nursing from a college that is one of the 7 identified by the ANA for excellence in nursing education.

    I have a bachelor's degree and a master's from my prenursing days. I am a dually licensed professional (in psychotherapy). I graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the bachelor's program, which was at a well known and well thought-of nearby state university.

    Interestingly, I didn't get so much as an interview or the courtesy of a letter saying they weren't interested.

    Gee, could it be because I'm not a 25 year old fresh out of school?

    As it happens, I'm 52. My friend who went with me to the fair is 48, and they didn't bother giving her the time of day when it was all over with either. We both look pretty good for our ages. Not that that should matter.

    I don't have a criminal record, never been arrested, never have done anything criminal that would have gotten me arrested!

    Anybody else experiencing age-ism in nursing? Is there anybody out there who has successfully sued over it? I'm contemplating legal action and would love to hear from anyone with similar experiences, especially if you are in the Dallas area and know of an attorney adept and interested.....

    Thanks. :angryfire
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  2. 114 Comments

  3. by   fergus51
    Could be that you're practically a new grad too. Some hospitals just aren't that into new grads. If you are really concerned it is your age, I would suggest you apply on-line and see what kind of response you get.
  4. by   Gennaver
    Quote from chris_at_lucas_RN
    Thanks. :angryfire
    Hi Chris at lucas RN,

    My experience is only similar in that I didn't get what I wanted...I applied to a graduate entry program and was passed up!

    Sure I later got into my second choice school but, it burned me up that I was passed over, (sure lots of other people were passed over too but, I only thought of myself, even got very down about it for a couple of days.)

    Yet, sure enough, I LOVE the program that I am in. One of my classmates mentioned that she was at the other school and heard them discussing my application and that they passed me over because of me sharing my interest in earning a PhD.

    Hmmm, so they passed me over this summer and I was sad, mad and dejected.

    Yet, six months later and I am so very GRATEFUL that they did pass me up because I am in with a wonderful group in a wonderful program and will be finished a year ahead of the 'other' program AND to top it all off, I just got a job with another hospital that encourages its nurses to go for their PhDs.

    So, bottom line, yeah, it sucks to get passed over, especially when you are so well qualified. Sometimes though, those who do the hiring or accepting or recruiting might just know when THEY are not a good fit for US, more than the reverse being true.

    I am very sorry that this didn't work out for you and I hope something much better happens because you are not obligated to them!

    Gen
  5. by   chris_at_lucas_RN
    Quote from fergus51
    Could be that you're practically a new grad too. Some hospitals just aren't that into new grads. If you are really concerned it is your age, I would suggest you apply on-line and see what kind of response you get.
    Ummm, this is for internships. They are actually for "new grads," aren't they?

    And this hospital is offering several thousand dollars in sign-on and retention, only to "new grads." They specifically told me in the internship meeting in the auditorium that because I had a year's experience, I didn't qualify. (My friend who went with me did, they said. But she's 48 and they ignored her too, after the fair was over.)

    And I did apply online, before and after. Complete with pasted resume. Each and every time they send me an announcement about a job that "fit" my qualifications and criteria.

    Nada.
    Last edit by chris_at_lucas_RN on Jun 27, '06
  6. by   fergus51
    Well, if they told you that to qualify you had to be a new grad and you won't be, then why do you think it's all about age? I am young and wouldn't get called for a new grad program either.
  7. by   P_RN
    Yes there is ageism...it's disguised as "more suitable candidate," and "the focus has changed for the position" etc.
    No I don't believe your example is so much ageism as it was the new graduate intern thing.

    I watched my co-workers of my decade slowly take early retirement, transfer out, or get written up for what I saw as microscopic events.

    When I left on FEMLA within a year no one of my decade remained.

    Nursing is hard but the oldtimers IMHO are getting a really bad (not politically correct) shaft.
  8. by   veronica butterfly
    Sorry, I don't get it. I thought internships were for nursing STUDENTS? If you have a year's experience and the other degrees, why don't you just apply for a job? Maybe I'm missing something, but in my neck of the woods, us students do a summer internship while we're not taking classes... I don't think it's got anything to do with age in your situation.

    In Minneapolis, middle-aged new grads are gobbled up pretty quickly, I've heard from HR folks they like our life experience. However, not all units hire new grads, not all units hire ADN's and prefer BSN. You gotta start somewhere.
  9. by   BadBird
    Perhaps the potential employers thought you were overqualified for the position they had. You have an impressive background but not a lot of experience working as a nurse. Why not try agency, then you can get a feel for different hospitals and units and the managers will get to know you and your abilities. Good luck.
  10. by   minnielynn
    Quote from chris_at_lucas_rn
    let's look at what i have (had) to offer:

    by the time the internships start, i'll have a solid year of hospital experience. i volunteer at a community clinic, and i am taking spanish in order to increase my ability to care for my spanish-only patients.

    i have a bachelor's degree and a master's from my prenursing days. i am a dually licensed professional (in psychotherapy). i graduated phi beta kappa from the bachelor's program, which was at a well known and well thought-of nearby state university.

    thanks. :angryfire
    wow!! that's very impressive, you have alot you can offer. sometimes people feel intimidated by someone else's knowledge. do you know anyone
    that is young and also attended the fair? i would call them if i were you and find out why they haven't called. i hope this is not agism because i too am an "older " student. :uhoh21: hopefully they'll call soon enough
  11. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Maybe, you are overqualified, not too "old".
  12. by   weetziebat
    Sorry for the rotten experience, Chris. With your qualifications I would think they'd grab you up. If the internships are strictly for new graduates, I would have thought someone would have notified you of that fact and thanked you for attending.

    One thing I've noticed is when I decided to change specialties, and chose to look into being an OR nurse, I quickly discovered they give internships to new grads, and jobs only to experienced OR nurses. And, although I was willing to relocate anywhere, there were no programs available for me.

    Sometimes I find it hard to understand with the current nursing shortage, why they make it so difficult for nurses to cross-train.

    Heard from friends who have wanted to get into NBICU, ER, ICU/CCU etc. they were having similar difficulties. The only area I've seen, at least in my part of the country, that is looking for nurses to be trained in a new specialty is dialysis.

    Good luck if you decide to take em to court. You just know their attorneys will put a whole different spin on it! :angryfire
    Last edit by weetziebat on Nov 15, '05
  13. by   Selke
    Quote from P_RN
    Yes there is ageism...it's disguised as "more suitable candidate," and "the focus has changed for the position" etc.
    No I don't believe your example is so much ageism as it was the new graduate intern thing.

    I watched my co-workers of my decade slowly take early retirement, transfer out, or get written up for what I saw as microscopic events.

    When I left on FEMLA within a year no one of my decade remained.

    Nursing is hard but the oldtimers IMHO are getting a really bad (not politically correct) shaft.

    I've experienced all of the above. I have difficulty getting past recruiters and I can't help but think it's my age and the fact I'm not a new grad. I am getting my resume checked out by my campus career placement officer to see if there's something "wrong" with it, that might explain why I don't get callbacks. I thought returning to grad school would help me with the job thing, but not necessarily. Managers and recruiters (and graduate school faculties, I might add) put premium value on young women -- they cost less and are more malleable, management can shape them more easily than older RNs.

    My 2 cents rant for the day (or night, as I have insomnia again).
  14. by   HappyJaxRN
    Wow. I didn't know this was happening. You would THINK that he would be swept up based on his background, education, and maturity. I don't think that's fair at all. Oh well, they're loss.

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