Considering a mid-career change into nursing - Yikes!

  1. I am a 44 year old guy who works in financial services. I have an MBA from a top-rated school and make a good living. The problem is that I don't find it satisfying. Several years ago my parents were both diagnosed with cancer at roughly the same time. As a result, I spent the following four years with them in and out of hospitals. During that time, I developed an immense respect for the nurses who provided their care and a curiosity in the field of Nursing. One nurse in particular put the idea into my head that I should consider a Nursing career. That was 6 years ago. I have been thinking about it since and have finally decided to act. I have now applied for an ADN program in New Hampshire and will be taking the Entrance Exam in a few weeks.

    So here's my question... I am not a young guy. I still feel young (which I think is extremely important in anyone) and am physically fit. But I am starting to wonder if I am crazy to be even thinking about starting a two year program now. I will be 46 when I graduate and start working in the field!!

    If there are any other mid-career switchers into Nursing, I would love to hear from you and what your transition was like.

    Thanks!
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  2. 24 Comments

  3. by   Silverdragon102
    Go for it, many people lately are going into the profession at a later age and although going back to studying is different and harder it's worth it, also have a great student support forum

    Good luck and welcome
  4. by   underpaidrn
    You are never too old to start something new. Welcome to the medical field and I know that you will enjoy being a nurse. It's a profession that has its ups and downs, but the satisfaction that you get from helping someone is worth more than I can say. Congratulations for pursuing your dreams. BTW - 44 is NOT old! Wish I was 44 again!
  5. by   fmrnicumom
    I agree that you're never too old to start something new. The 2 years will pass whether you're pursuing your dream or not. Would you rather say "I'm 46 and an RN" or "I'm 46 and I wonder what would have happened if I had gone back to school."? I know it can be scary. Starting anything new tends to produce at least some level of anxiety. You've been in a position to see what nurses do, and having been spread out over 4 years, I'd bet you also saw that it isn't always pretty or easy or fun. Still, you also know what an amazing difference a good nurse can make. That is one of my motivations for becoming a nurse. Over the last 4 years I have been a patient and the mother of a patient many times, and there have been phenomenal nurses and nurses who seemed to hate their jobs. I know the difference a caring nurse can make. I hope I can make a difference too.

    Good luck to you whatever you decide!

    Tiffany
  6. by   catzy5
    Quote from NHGUY
    I am a 44 year old guy who works in financial services. I have an MBA from a top-rated school and make a good living. The problem is that I don't find it satisfying. Several years ago my parents were both diagnosed with cancer at roughly the same time. As a result, I spent the following four years with them in and out of hospitals. During that time, I developed an immense respect for the nurses who provided their care and a curiosity in the field of Nursing. One nurse in particular put the idea into my head that I should consider a Nursing career. That was 6 years ago. I have been thinking about it since and have finally decided to act. I have now applied for an ADN program in New Hampshire and will be taking the Entrance Exam in a few weeks.

    So here's my question... I am not a young guy. I still feel young (which I think is extremely important in anyone) and am physically fit. But I am starting to wonder if I am crazy to be even thinking about starting a two year program now. I will be 46 when I graduate and start working in the field!!

    If there are any other mid-career switchers into Nursing, I would love to hear from you and what your transition was like.

    Thanks!

    Welcome NHGUY!
    I am 39 and have been plugging away at this for a while. There is a huge population of midlife career nurses, you might even find that you are the average age at your ADN program. I have been taking pre reqs slowly and have made many friends with people like myself switching careers, I might even say the average age during my pre reqs has been late 30's.

    Did you know with a degree already you have a couple other options for accelerated BSN even MSN programs, might be something to look into. Discovernurses.com can give you info about schools in your area that might have such programs.

    Also incidently I grew up in NH ) I am in california now but love and miss NH.
  7. by   catzy5
    Quote from Silverdragon102
    Go for it, many people lately are going into the profession at a later age and although going back to studying is different and harder it's worth it, also have a great student support forum

    Good luck and welcome

    I am finding studying so much easier as an older student, I really struggled when I was younger. I think having a real goal and knowing I have to make a certain grade has helped me work to my full potential, which has actually quite surprised me! I was a C maybe even D student growing up, now I am straight A's all the way.
  8. by   SarasotaRN2b
    Go for it! I'll be 43 when I start this January and a week shy of 45 when I finish. God willing I will be 45 anyway, but being 45 with a nursing degree is my lifelong dream.

    Kris
  9. by   Sun*shine
    lol isn't it funy that when you get into nursing you realise that the age you once believed to be 'old' is actually not at all!! You'll be saying that you're patient is 'quite young' when they're about 74!
    There is someone who came onto my course in her mid-fifties. Theres lots of academic support for those who have been out of education for a while, I found that the staff really made sure we all knew how to learn and study before they let us lose with our work and things.
    You're a spring chicken at 44, I think you've got fantastic potential...you sound like you've really got a really keen interest for nursing. Congratulations on considering the career change and the best of luck to you :spin:
  10. by   MB37
    There are at least two 50+ year olds in my program, plus a few more over 40. Most of the older students at my school are in the accelerated BSN program (as am I, at 28), since we only offer that and the traditional BSN. If there is an ABSN program in your area, it might get you out even quicker, check it out! If not, I know my 42 year old coworker is starting an ADN program here in town in January. She didn't feel particularly old taking her prereqs.
  11. by   Daytonite
    My mother was 51 when she finally went to LVN school here in California after years of working as a beautician, school bus driver and a delicatessen store manager. She worked in a busy ICU/CCU until she was 68. The average age of RNs these days is the mid-40s. Go for it. What you bring with you is 44 years of maturity, life experience and common sense that 20-year olds can't compete with. What will be different is working weekends and holidays and on the day of the Super Bowl. Hospitals are open 24/7.
  12. by   WDWpixieRN
    I am 51 and will be 52 in December when I complete my 3rd semester of my ADN program. I am not the oldest in my school either. No one has given me so much as a sideways glance since I started this endeavor -- well, unless you count one pt's husband a few weeks ago. I introduced myself as a student nurse who was working with his wife's nurse. He gave me the once over, then looked up at me from his chair and said, "You're a little late to the game, aren't you?"

    My husband almost choked on his dinner when I shared that with him that night. I thought I was going to have to do the Heimlich on him, rotfl.

    I just looked at the gentleman and said, "Yes, I am. And thank you for noticing!"

    I was also hired this summer for a student nurse internship. I was asked two questions by the manager who then said she had reviewed my application beforehand and offered me the position. THAT'S when I knew for a fact my age was not going to be a hindrance. It's even a bit of a benefit as pts seem to have some confidence in my "maturity".

    My grades are good (not straight A's; but then I also have a life outside of school and am old enough to know I need to balance them both); my two best friends in school are early 20's and we trust each other implicitly both in the classroom and in clinicals. I just adore them.

    We need more guys in the profession! We started with 2 young guys and a guy in his mid-30's and the two young guys dropped within the first few weeks. We picked up a few guys on a bridge program this semester and we "girls" love having them around! In my internship, there were almost as many male nurses were I worked as there were females and they've been there for ages!!

    Go for it and good luck!!!
  13. by   arciedee
    I did six and a half years in corporate finance for a mutual fund company before switching to nursing. So, I guess that's not "mid-career" but I did have an extensive experience in another, totally different profession. There were parts of the switch that were really difficult, but I'm so glad I did it. I enjoy (most of the time) getting up in the morning now. I'm looking forward to getting my RN and starting my new career.

    I'm not sure if you're aware of it, but there are two accelerated programs in NH for people who already have degrees and are changing careers: a direct-entry MS at UNH in Durham and an accelerated BSN at MCPHS in Manchester. I'm doing one of those programs and it's been a great experience. There are people in your age range who have completed my program and who are in it with me now and I think that their experiences really add to the nursing school experience. You'll likely find a lot of career-changers in the ADN programs, too. I took my pre-reqs at one of the Techs and there were quite a few 30-somethings, 40-somethings and beyond taking courses with the intent to get into nursing.
  14. by   thyme39
    I am currently 51. I worked for 20+ years in the computer industry before deciding I wanted to be a nurse. I stared pre-reqs for nuring 2 1/2 years ago while still working full time. I then quit last May to go into an accelerated BSN program and will be finished next May just before I turn 52. I also reached a point in my career that I was not satisfied with what I was doing. The money was fine but security was non-existent and I just felt I needed more meaning in my life. I have to say the transition was very easy and despite the hard work (no matter how much time you have you will NEVER have enough time for studying in nursing school) it has been a blast. I am not aware of anyone treating me different due to my age. In fact, I think it gives me an edge. I have a lot of varied experience, I am totally dedicated to school (not like the party person I was when I got my first degree), I have lots in common with most of the instructors because they too are not in their 20's. Last week I was at clinical and my nurse was a new RN who had been working for 6m. She was in her mid 20's. The issue of age just never came up. Really, I think age is almost a non-issue. We have about 10 men in our class of 46. They are great students and do well in clinical. I think what has made a difference is we all have a goal we are working towards. I say go for it!!! I would check out the accelerated BSN and MS programs that are out there since you already have a degree. Also, there is more financial aid out there for MS programs. There are so many areas you can go into once you have your RN that you will never get bored. Best of luck.

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