??? For older/Nontraditional Students/Grads

  1. just a question for the older/non-traditional students and grads here:

    have you found that, as an older student or one that has already graduated, you do better or worse than young people right out of high school?

    now, i know the amount of study time more than likely is higher for us (the memory ain't what it once was), so that's not really my quandry.

    i guess, from reading the dreaed a&p, pharmocolgy, etc. posts, i am fearful of not being successful in the actual nursing portions of the road to my rn.
    right now i am only doing prereqs, and doing pretty well.

    seeing the struggles/fears/stress of the actual nursing classes has me a little worried.

    can, say an over 40 student, be successful without completely losing their mind?

    i am in no way shooting for a 4.0 average (though wouldn't that be an added bonus )

    guess i am just looking for some input/encouragement from older students that have been there.

    thanks for any replies :kiss
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  2. 17 Comments

  3. by   studentdeb
    Deb, I am in my first semester and I am an older student (soon to be 40). I am one of the biggest complainers on this board about A&P. I am finding that I am not having a problem with my nursing courses as of right now and I did fine in psychology, I just can't seem to do well in A&P. So far I have found the nursing courses to be interesting. I have not had to take pharmacology and I am not in the clinical portion yet so I'm not sure about that.

    I do have to study more, it seems like all the time to try to understand everything. My neice (who is 10 years younger) is doing very well in A&P so not sure if that is age related or not. She might just have a mind for science. With the way I am doing in A&P, my grade point will definitely take a nose dive also, that is if I can even pass it.

    Good luck when you get going more, I'm sure you will do fine. Everyone is different in how they learn and how they handle stress.
  4. by   researchrabbit
    Hi Deb! I started nursing school at age 40, right after a yucky divorce...for a while I was working two jobs plus custody of my two preteen kids. Amazingly enough, I survived and made As and Bs.

    I actually found I needed to study LESS (even though I have brain fogs) for most classes than most younger students. After all, I have been through childbirth, my children's illnesses, my parents' illnesses, my own illnesses...

    I had plenty of knowledge to build on that most younger people don't, because they haven't had the life experience.

    It also helped that I am a good test taker and like school.

    Clinicals were stressful for ALL of us. But, being older, I had more patience and more experience working with people of all ages.

    To survive: make sure you get plenty of sleep. Time with your kids works well if all of you study together (I have very pleasant memories of our study times! And my kids are better students, I think, because of it). Make sure you pamper yourself for at least 1 hour per week (bubble bath, quiet lunch with friends, date time with hubby). Do your best to NOT STRESS OUT. Cs make degrees, after all. Learn what you need to learn, but use your time wisely.
  5. by   DebsZoo
    thanks for the replies, debi and research

    i am finding it hard to sleep, hoping this improves with time.

    as for making time for myself, that is one thing i promised my husband before i started classes, we would keep our friday "date" night, regardless.

    my kids are alternating between helpful and distruptive when it comes to study time......lol
    if i tell them i am going to study, they interupt, seemingly non-stop...........if i just start studying, they tend to ignore me.

    as for the stress......i am doing my best to keep myself stable, and so far i have been ok.......but, there again, only in prereqs allows for less stress (check back with me next semester, lol)
  6. by   Mkue
    I agree with Research !

    Many perks to being an older student. I absolutely do not miss class, knock on wood and I think that helps..

  7. by   opalmRN
    I'm an older student too.
    Went to x-ray school, finished decided I didn't like that.

    Went to school for ultrasound, loved that but choose not to stay in the field because of moral issues.

    Decided to finally take the plunge and get my degree in nursing.

    And I also am working full time which as it turns out, my employer wanted me to finish my degree in management.

    So in order to pay for my nursing degree, I continue to work fulltime. I am working on two degrees concurrently. I amd only taking one class towards each degree but the one is and excellerated program which means a three credit course is completed in 5 weeks instead of the traditional 12 week semester.

    Now because I am older, 45 to be exact, I feel it has both positive and negative.

    The positive is that I can focus much much better than when I was younger. My children are older 24, 22, 13 so I don't have the torn feeling that some younger moms do. I don't take much too seriously cause I found out a long time ago that is a waste of precious energy, and I don't do the home thing as well as before but no one has died from the filth so I guess it's not too bad.

    On the down side, I am WIPED most of the time. Between work, school, and commuting 11 hours a week to work, I don't go anywhere on the weekends. (part of that is because of my intense class the weekends are actually part of the school week)

    My biggest fear is that I won't be able to keep up when I actually begin core nursing classes. These too will be through distance ed so I will have to encorporate some type of hospital work to beable to have hands on time. Can't worry about that, till then.

    But in all seriousness, I think the biggest hurdle for me is energy.
    Perhaps it's time for Geritol!

    Some people, ok MANY people think I am crazy. Sometimes, I questioned that too. But I want to be a nurse. I read all these horro stories on some of the other boards but I still want to be a nurse.

    Just hope I don't end up doing my geriatric rotation in my own room!

    Glad to have an "older" friend to chat with.
    C
  8. by   DebsZoo
    originally posted by opalm

    just hope i don't end up doing my geriatric rotation in my own room!

    glad to have an "older" friend to chat with.
    c
    rofl, now that i hadn't thought of
    :roll

    you certainly have bitten off a huge chunk. i wish you the very best.

    i'll stick with one degree at a time, that's about the extent of this "old" lady
  9. by   Thendar
    I'm a 45 yo male with no previous experience in the medical field and I'm in my first semester of nursing.

    I think that I'm having an easier time than the rest of my fellow classmates because of my life experiences. Remember that doing well in nursing requires a lot of "Critical Thinking". So if you have good problem solving skills, are creative, and can think "out-of-the-book" then you'll do just fine.
  10. by   researchrabbit
    Originally posted by opalm
    I don't do the home thing as well as before but no one has died from the filth so I guess it's not too bad.
    the saying at our house is "it takes a pound of dirt to kill you". So you must not have ingested your pound yet!

    [i]Just hope I don't end up doing my geriatric rotation in my own room!
    [/B]
    :roll
  11. by   Angella Walker
    I don't consider myself to be that old (28) but i just don't have the energy to keep up with the teenie-boppers in my class. In my microbiology class, i sit right up front. Directly behind me are these 19-something girls that talk throughout the entire lecture. The conversation usually consist of making out with boys, sneaking beer into the dorm and who is throwing the party this weekend. These little "brats" still do better on their exams than I do.

    There used to be a time when I would just catch on to new topics instantly. Never had to take a book home to study. (Got A's in A&P 1 & 2 that way) but now....my goodness!

    Oh, to be young again
  12. by   babynursewannab
    You (We) have something that the younger students don't have.

    Perspective.

    This can make you calmer and more able to focus than those students. Yes, it may require a bit more time to get it in, but you have more methods of relating any information you obtain and making it stick. You can also see the relevance of things that the younger ones simply see as "stupid, unusable fluff."

    Lastly, you appreciate this more. That alone can make a huge difference.

    -Alyssa
  13. by   Scavenger'sWife
    Congrats on going to nursing school at an older age!

    I began school at the age of 44 and completed an associates degree in 2 years. This means I took the A&P classes at the same time I was taking nursing classes & doing clinicals. Not the easiest way to do it, but I felt, as an "older" student, that I did not want to spend a lot of time at this "school thing".

    I found that I had an easier time that did the teeny-boppers (anyone under 30). For one thing, I had the life-experience thing in my favor. Also, I feel that I was more psychologically "settled" and knew where I was going in life. At this older age, I also did not have to deal with lots of the things the younger students did: My marriage was stable (been married 30 years this year), my kids were grown and on their own, I did not have to work because my husband's job was well-established and provided us with enough income.

    As for the brain-power? I think that although I studied a lot, it was not my lack of brain cells as much as it is just "me" - that I obsessed about getting high grades to prove my self to my classmates and my friends. I did just fine in school - graduated with a 3.34 GPA and was well-liked by my classmates. They tended to gravitate to me as a "mom" figure I think.

    I loved nursing school and I think age has not as much to do with it as the desire for getting that degree. Good luck!
  14. by   colleen10
    Hi there,

    I am 27 so I don't consider myself to be too old but I'm not a teenie bopper either.

    So far, I think I am doing better than most teenie boppers and I KNOW that I am doing better than my first time through college right out of high school.

    I don't think that I have the memory that I used to and I know I don't have the energy that I used to but I have found that now that I am an adult I am more "focused" on the material, am able to better understand and retain it because I have had enough time to figure out how I learn best.

    I don't have the distractions that I had when I was in college between the ages of 18-22. I'm not worried about this weekend's kegger, being on my own for the first time, finding a cute boy to date, etc., etc.

    I'm quite sure that had I attempted Nursing School the first time around I would have failed miserably.

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