Trouble for young nursing students/nurses

  1. I have had a problem throughout the last 3 semesters with some people in my classes. I am twenty years old, about the age (if not younger) than alot of my classmates' children or sometimes grandchildren. I get the feeling like they don't have any respect for me as a professional. :angryfire I am constantly being second guessed and told I am wrong (though I'm usually not) I am not trying to say that I know everything (I got into the ADN program right out of High School) just that we are all learning the same thing at the same time. I understand if in a personal setting to get advice on "when I was your age" things. I respect and enjoy them. But don't disgregard me just because I started my career before you did. I offer respect to everyone and would just like a little in return. I don't know if they are jealous that I got to start so young, or if they have a mental picture of how a 20yo is going to act so they brush me off immediately. I was just wondering if others out there have come along the same problem in school or in practice, and how (if you can) deal with it.

    I know I can't make myself any older, and all I can probably do is prove myself by my grades and clinical performace. But it's been a thorn in my side and I needed some feedback.
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  2. 23 Comments

  3. by   Saved_by_Grace
    Hang in there! We're all subject to prejudices of one form or another, whether it be race, age, weight...etc etc. Not that it's right, but when I am treated as such I take it and use it to build on. I think it defines my character that I remember how it felt to be treated that way so I try not to treat others in such a manner. You can't change the other people, so just dig down deep inside yourself and know that you are professional and very capable! Good Luck!
  4. by   janetrette
    hi,

    i know what you're feeling because i went through that too. when i first started in the nursing program many of my classmate were saying how lucky i am since i'm so much younger. i could understand that they're starting their careers or second careers in their life a bit late for them but yes sometimes it's annoying as well. especially this one particular classmate who is my friend that i met through nursing. she rubs everything. how young i am, single, family support, middle class? in her opinion, and etc. she's 29 and i was 20 when i was just started. now im 21. so to her looking at me makes her feel low. i felt she was jealous of me. and thats how people are sometimes. don't let that get to you. not everyone is like that. before nursing class i had to take pre-nursing classes and i have older mature friends. if i'm friends with them then i'm sure it's not my problem. it about the friendship and how friend connect. if they make you feel bad then i would just walk away from it or tell them when the time is right...nursing program is already hard enough no need for extra stress...
  5. by   chris_at_lucas_RN
    One thing about being older is, if you were lucky enough to be in school both as a young person as well as, well, now, you know about both ends of the experience. And here I am, old enough to talk about "when I was your age." (You hate it now, but in a few years, you will love it....)

    When I was your age, I was also bright and enthusiastic, and a lot of what I had to offer was discounted because I was young. I too was often right.

    I recently completed nursing school. I am not young anymore, but many of my classmates were young, some as young as you. I enjoyed them all, and respected them, and in truth, I usually forgot that there was an age difference. (One nice thing about getting to this place is that you feel about the same as you did at 25 or 30--it's also one of the bad things, but that's a story for another time. )

    Guess what. I felt disrespected by my younger classmates at times too. I felt they discounted my opinion and ability because I was older than they were. And they might have, and that's okay, because it was their choice.

    One hard lesson I learned (before nursing school) was that what other people think of me is none of my darned business!

    My advice to you is this: focus on enjoying your classmates and preparing for nursing. The rest of it will fall into place. Until they actively push you away and say something like we don't want to be around you because you are too young (or whatever) you can assume you are still welcome among them. Your reaction to "how it might seem" (my quotes...) is your own. If you ignore it, you can get the most out of both nursing school and your friends from generation whatever (what the heck are we in my generation anyway?).

    A little off topic: don't let someone else's questioning of what you know to be so, affect your self confidence. You sound very bright and very sensitive. You can make that work for you and continue to develop into a super nurse and sterling human being.

    Sounds like you are well on your way. Thanks for your post, hon! Very nice job.
  6. by   shel_wny
    Quote from chris_at_lucas
    A little off topic: don't let someone else's questioning of what you know to be so, affect your self confidence. You sound very bright and very sensitive. You can make that work for you and continue to develop into a super nurse and sterling human being.
    Well said Chris! I hope I am as well-spoken and wise as you when I am your age. You have that gentle patience and understanding that comes only with thought and time. I've always been the younger of the groups I've belonged to and yeah, it can be tough. It's especially hard being an intelligent, well-read young person. You have so much to give the world but so much of that seems to be dismissed. I am 23 and with each year that goes by I feel more and more like I am where I should be. I've heard it explained as being an Old Soul trapped in a young person's body. There is another thread kicking around this site somewhere about age. I found it very encouraging. The thirties are supposed to be a wonderful time of self-discovery. It's much to look forward to.

    Shel
  7. by   wannabebabyRN
    DCCCRN2Bn05,
    I believe I am soon going to be going through the same problem. I went to nursing orientation the other day and I am doing the same thing you did. I just got out of high school and I am starting the ADN program. At the orientation everyone was making mean remarks when they found out i was coming in out of high school. Some saying I couldn't do the co-reqs( pre-reqs for them) with nursing and that there was no way. It made me mad because i can do it and just becasue i am younger doesn't mean i can't. Hang in there I am sure it will be ok.
  8. by   purplemania
    Sorry, but when you are a nurse you will meet up with ignorant people all the time. You have to remember that the actions and words of others only hurt when you allow them to. Vent with someone who understands (US!!). Otherwise, just be the best dang nurse (or student) that you can be. Think of this as another of life's lessons on how NOT to act.
  9. by   Jill1215
    I do not know why so many nursing programs have childish behavior coming from the students, but it seems like the majority of them do. It is not just the young people who have it hard. Wait until you start and look around. People will be disliked because they are smarter, dumber, prettier, fatter, older, younger, more sociable, less sociable, friends with the teacher, hate the teacher, non-Chirstian, black, white, etc. This is the one reason I do not talk much about anything in my classes. I do not let others know my grades, my age, my religion, and I do not talk much about my personal life. I do not know why some people have to be so awful to each other in these programs. I know the program is hard enough without having to deal with all the issues people have with each other. I just stick to the 'work hard in the class and then go home' rule.

    I know a lot of people make wonderful friendships in the programs. I have read that some programs are very supportive of each other; I have just yet to see that with my own eyes.
    Keep your head up and realize that you are there for yourself and your future. If you make some friendships along the way that is just bonus.
    Jill
  10. by   Nurse Ratched
    One of the finest nurses I know is several years younger than me and got her RN at 19. I think she still gets a little bit of teasing from people because of her age (incredibly sweet, baby-faced, but sharp as a tack.) I only wish I had been bright enough to realize what I wanted to do earlier .

    Hang in there!
  11. by   fnimat1
    Don't worry about the snide remarks....you are doing the right thing for you. Keep on working hard and keep your head up....

    Fatima
  12. by   MandyInMS
    You'll meet all kinds of people in school and in your career who will judge you for whatever reasons..just stick to your guns and be professional and you'll earn their respect..and remember, everyone won't like you..but who cares..it's not a popularity contest..best of luck to you
  13. by   GMD
    i will be 30 this year and i know how your class mates feel. as a matter of fact, once i turn 30, i will not talk or look at a person in their 20's. i will despise them all! ok ok ok, just kidding. well i hope you don't let their opinions bother you that much. and i hope you have some one near you to remind you how wonderful you are. if not...hey your wonderful. and you know what opinions are like, everyone's got one. good luck in school.
  14. by   missmercy
    Do not let anyone mess with your head!! Age and maturity do not necessarily go hand in hand!! You sound like maturity wise you've got the others beat. Be a great nurse -- be a great person!! Don't sweat the small stuff!!

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