Summer Externship and "Adult" students

  1. Hi everyone,

    I am full of questions today.

    I am writing because I have been accepted into a (2) month summer student nurse externship. It sounds like a great experience because I will be paired up with an RN for the whole 2 months and will work their shift with them during that period of time, get to see everything that that person does.

    All of a sudden though, I'm feeling tremendously old. I'm 29 years old and am finishing my first year of a two year program next week. In my class I'm one of the younger people as our program is mostly filled with "adult" students who work full time and go to nursing school part time. But now I have concerns of walking into orientation for the externship and being the oldest person there mingling with all early twenty somethings.

    Has anyone else ever experienced this? I guess part of it is going back to deep rooted feelings of "I should know what I want to be when I grow by now". I don't know, I was so excited before and now feel so unsure.
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  2. 4 Comments

  3. by   llg
    I coordinate the summer extern program at my hospital. My advice to you is, relax! Enjoy it! Our summer extern cohorts include people of a variety of ages. So, you probably won't be the only person over 21 there. Even if you are, those young folks can be quite nice to work with.

    Really, I don't mean to belittle you doubts or insecurities, as we all have them. But there are a lot bigger and more important things in life to worry about than being a few years older than some of your classmates and/or co-workers. All the externs will be at approximately the same level of expertise and that's what matters most -- not your age.

    I hope you enjoy your externship experience and learn a lot. It's a great opportunity to further develop your skills and also gain insight into what type of job you might enjoy later.

    Take care,
    llg
  4. by   Altra
    Hi Colleen,

    You're 29? Try being the token old lady at 37 ... :chuckle

    OK, seriously, I do think that certain programs are geared (consciously or unconsciously) toward "traditional" aged students 18-22. For example, I applied for an externship and went through the interview process only to find out later that only those with NO summer classes and who were available for all rotating shifts were seriously considered. That's certainly that hospital's perogative to set up the externship program that way, but in practical terms it almosts guarantees that the students who are selected will be those without other responsibilities.

    If you've been accepted, GREAT! Make the most of it. This will be a real world environment, with adults of all ages. It may not be nearly as uncomfortable as you may think.

    Good luck, and keep us posted on how it's going!
  5. by   JudithL_in_NH
    Colleen,

    I think it's almost a sure thing that you will not be the oldest person in the room! I'm 47 and I've been chosen for an ED summer externship (and, I might add, one that is willing to take me on only 24 hours/week, so I don't need to quit my other job or ignore my ten-year-old all summer )

    Three other people from my program will also extern at this facility this summer, and not a one is younger than 40!

    You'll probably find a real mix in your cohort, though here in NH, demographics of those interested in pursuing nursing are tending toward older, second-career students.

    Have a great time and learn tons!
  6. by   stillsmilin
    I'm one of those older students, too (38). I have been on an extended extern program for the past year and I wouldn't trade it for all the clinicals in school. I actually found the age to be an advantage because when I was learning new procedures, the patients all thought I had been a nurse for a long time, instead of a student. This made me less nervous. Don't worry about what others will think, just do everything you can in this program and you will be so thankful for it when you start your senior year. Good luck!
    Quote from colleen10
    Hi everyone,

    I am full of questions today.

    I am writing because I have been accepted into a (2) month summer student nurse externship. It sounds like a great experience because I will be paired up with an RN for the whole 2 months and will work their shift with them during that period of time, get to see everything that that person does.

    All of a sudden though, I'm feeling tremendously old. I'm 29 years old and am finishing my first year of a two year program next week. In my class I'm one of the younger people as our program is mostly filled with "adult" students who work full time and go to nursing school part time. But now I have concerns of walking into orientation for the externship and being the oldest person there mingling with all early twenty somethings.

    Has anyone else ever experienced this? I guess part of it is going back to deep rooted feelings of "I should know what I want to be when I grow by now". I don't know, I was so excited before and now feel so unsure.

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