Okay, I did it. I just finalized my submission to nursing school at the University of North Florida. I have a previous bachelor's degree, scored a 4.0 in all my nursing prerequisites, and did well on the TEAS, so I'm hoping to get in to the Accelerated 2nd Bachelor's Degree Program. I'm just concerned about doing this at my age - in my mid-50's. I read on the AACN website that "mature" nursing students are desirable, but am wondering what thoughts on this are in the real world. I'd appreciate your honest opinions. Thanks!
What made you decide to make a career change and enter nursing school now? There is something to be said for doing a job that makes you feel fulfilled, regardless of when you start. If you feel a nursing career is something that will make you happy, it's great that you're pursuing it. Who cares of you're older than most other students? In an accelerated BSN program, though, the cohort should be closer to your age, since they all hold previous degrees. You may find the age gap not as significant as you think.
I will caution you that, because of your age, you may be stereotyped both in school and by future employers. Older nurses (both new and experienced) can be seen as higher liability for injury/illness, less able to keep up with physically demanding jobs, and less proficient with healthcare technology (such as computers and electronic medical records). Those stereotypes are largely inaccurate, but you may face them, nonetheless. You can counter that by emphasizing your work ethic and history of reliability. If you have the ability to take any extra classes in health care IT, it would benefit you to do so, as you can then prove your proficiency with those systems. I would also strongly encourage you to network with your instructors as well as staff and managers at your clinical sites. Maturity and a proven record of professionalism (your previous career) will give you a leg up, and making connections with others can help get your foot in the door to your first job.
Age is just a number. I graduated from UNF in 2014 just a few months shy of my 50th birthday. I have found my age has helped rather than hurt. Employers like having a diverse staff which includes age. I feel my age is an advantage as patients listen to my advice more than my young counterparts. I also understand the challenges elderly patients have since I help care for my octogenarian parents. If this is what you want...Go For It!
Thank you, Double-Helix, for your kind and honest words. I appreciate the heads-up on technology and will take your advice to heart. I'm currently the office "guru" with Excel and will certainly take some health care IT courses and do the networking as you suggested. Have a wonderful day!
Thank you, tminwer! It is great to hear from a graduate of UNF and for your encouraging words about age being more of an advantage than a hindrance. My prayers are with you as you care for your parents. I took care of my mom while she was in her late 80's and was terminally ill. It certainly does bring perspective that can't be learned in school. Have a blessed day!
LOL, I very well may be! :-)
I also applied to UNF - best of luck!
BTW - my aunt is a 65 year old charge nurse and still works 50+ hours a week in CICU. She has been an RN since 21 and has loved every minute. She has been at the same hospital forever, but her physical age has NOT slowed her down. She loves nursing.
Enjoy your journey! Maybe I'll see you out there
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