I'm 39 and want to become a nurse.

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    After 12 years of practicing law (as a criminal prosecutor) I'm thinking about returning to school and becoming a nurse. After months of working with a career counselor, personal reflection, and research (on-line and otherwise) I'm feel strongly that this would be the right choice for me. (There's a local school that just began offering an AS degree in Nursing making one eligible to sit for the N-CLEX for registered nurses.) I'm fortunate to have a wife who supports my decision, and also works, which lessens the financial impact. Still, there will be a number of sacrafices to be made for the next 3 years (approx.) and we have two young children who also have to be considered first and foremost.

    I was happy to find this web site and particularly glad to find this board (Male Nursing Students). I'm hope that in reading the posts I will find: encouragement; positive stories; advice; etc. Any input/advise/encouragement would be greatly appreciated.

    Many people in my life think I'm crazy leaving a good paying career at this stage in my life. Fact is, though, that being an attorney so goes against my core as a person. I do not find the work fulfilling at all. To the contrary, the advesarial nature of the work takes it's toll physiacally and emotionally. The idea of helping people; caring for people has always been a large part of who I am. And in fact, all these persoanlity/employment/interest tests I've taken repeatedly reveal nursing as a strong match for who I am.

    Continued in the reply post that follows...
    Last edit by quinnsite on Jul 12, '09 : Reason: I cut myself off.
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    Continued ( I accidently cut myself off)

    So here are my concerns:

    Am I too old to be considering this? I mean are there practical considerations? Will I be discriminated against in the hiring process as a male nurse in his early 40's?

    Physically I'm in very good shape, and intend to remain that way. Still, is age in any way an issue to consider?

    What else should I keep in mind when considering this decision?
    I realize that male nurses only comprise about 7% of all nurses. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? I would imagine hospitals, etc. would like more male nurses on staff? True or false?

    I am very confident that I would be a good nurse. However, what don't I know about nursing? In other words, what are the 'dark little secrets' about nurses that you don't hear about? What do current nurses say they 'wish they knew' before getting into nursing?

    Any info is greatly appreciated. Thanks all!
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    I came to nursing after a career in corporate direct marketing management. Marketing is a deadline-driven, competitive environment, and tends to be male dominated. People were nice, but it's different. When I first started working in healthcare, I COULDN'T BELIEVE how genuinely nice people were and it still takes me aback once in a while.

    I started working in-home health and hospice, and in those settings, I was in a home, one-on-one with a patient, no issue. I've just completed my first year in an urgent care, and I have to say I'm more outspoken, to-the-point, and direct than many of my co-workers (and fellow students), and sometimes it has been taken the wrong way and came up negatively in a recent review. It is something I'm really thinking about and working on improving.

    I guess I'm trying to say that I used to be in a working environment where direct, outspoken opinions were encouraged and valued. Quiet go with the flow marketing people don't cut it. In the healthcare environment, as a non-management person, you will see lots of things that don't make sense, and you'll want to say something. Sometimes this is wise, sometimes it's not. (I hear there are committees you can be a part of, however.)

    Anyway, it's a transition I have struggled with a bit, and I thought you, as a trial attorney, might notice this difference in environment as well.

    I will say that the decision to go into nursing is the best one I've ever made. I don't regret it for a second. And men are great to work with!
    quinnsite likes this.
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    I had a decent-paying career. It started off interesting and fun. I couldn't believe they were actually paying me! However, with each new project, layoff, department or corporate restructuring, it went farther and farther down hill.

    Eventually, the career fell apart: from "which offer should I accept" to "would you like fries with that?"

    Many self-realizations, childhood memories and oddly-timed inspirations clearly pointed me to nursing. At the time of that decision, I believed that the old adage, "a career in nursing is essentially charity work." Translation: "the pay is a joke." I didn't care. I was meant to care for people, and I was excited about it. I still am.

    I found out later that nurses are pretty well-paid, but the point is that, if you're not doing something you love, no salary is worth the enormous expense of your life's time wasted in that occupation, because that's all it is: an "occupation" - something that occupies your time.

    Follow your passion. Big house, fast car, lots of cash...none of it can compare to living a dream from your heart.

    Oh - on being male, almost 100% of the reactions have been of excitement, encouragement (both for me, and because of me), admiration and supportive.

    --David

    '...when your heart cries out, you must obey!'
    -Triumph, "All the Way"
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    I say GO for it!

    I started again at 39 after being in the banking/mortgage industry for the past 20 odd years. I'm starting out as a CNA and continuing my education. I know in the long run it is what I want to do in my heart and I'm willing to keep making the sacrafices to do it.
    I also did work with a new nurse who was a judge and just became and RN in his 50's so don't worry about a thing !!! go for your dreams.
    quinnsite likes this.
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    Quote from quinnsite
    Continued ( I accidently cut myself off)

    So here are my concerns:

    Am I too old to be considering this? I mean are there practical considerations? Will I be discriminated against in the hiring process as a male nurse in his early 40's?

    Physically I'm in very good shape, and intend to remain that way. Still, is age in any way an issue to consider?

    What else should I keep in mind when considering this decision?
    I realize that male nurses only comprise about 7% of all nurses. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? I would imagine hospitals, etc. would like more male nurses on staff? True or false?

    I am very confident that I would be a good nurse. However, what don't I know about nursing? In other words, what are the 'dark little secrets' about nurses that you don't hear about? What do current nurses say they 'wish they knew' before getting into nursing?

    Any info is greatly appreciated. Thanks all!
    You're not too old. I actually think employers discriminate more against young nurses (under age 24) than they do older graduates. And no, you are not too old - there are at least 30 people in my program of 150 who are over age 40.

    You're not old yet, but a lot of people find it beneficial long-term to get their BSN so they can work in management when they are in their 50s and 60s to balance their physical aging related to physical workload.

    What do I wish I knew before I started NS? I wish I had used Saunders from day one. I started using it as a companion study guide at the end of my second semester, resulting in an entire letter grade increase on exams. I also wish I had focused less on the anatomy and physiology of the diseases and more on nursing interventions. It's great to know what cells are responsible for in the body, but the doctor isn't going to ask you for their cellular makeup history! The only subject area I suggest knowing inside and out (including the A&P of it) is the cardiovascular, respiratory and neurological systems. Without those three systems functioning properly nothing else works how it should. So you should know those areas well.
    quinnsite likes this.
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    i will be 46 this month and i will be a nurse. hopefully i dont pass away immediately after graduation.
    ahnniem, CountyRat, and quinnsite like this.
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    Some thoughts:

    You've already got a bachelor's degree and a JD. Why go for an ASN? Consider going for an acclerated BSN, at minimum; you might also look at master's degrees for non-nurses. For one thing, you'll position yourself for greater career opportunities, which you need to consider as late starter. Do you want to be at the bedside when your'e 55? Who knows -- but keep your options open. Pave the way to opportunity now. Secondly, because you have a bachelor's degree, going for an accelerated BSN may actually be faster than going for an ASN. It was for me. I paid more, but not outrageously more, and I was able to jump back into the job market a lot sooner.

    Are you too old? No. I'm 46, graduated in December, and had several older classmates. If anything, I think age and sex discrimination will work in your favor. My boss prefers what she calls "mature" job candidates. I haven't seen any of my male classmates discriminated again. As for physical concerns, if you're in good shape, you should be fine. (But again, at my age, I think about what might lie ahead. For me, a master's degree in nursing is the best protection I will have against job injury or a hip that just won't cut it any more.)

    You might want to keep in mind that new grads tend to start out with the worst work schedules. My overnights are OK these days because I no longer have children at home, but my husband and I had to agree at the outset that there would be no strife over my working overnights for the first year or two if necessary.

    What did I wish I'd known before I'd made the leap? That many hospitals -- many, not all -- are mired in 19th century work models. They mete out wages and benefits to nurses like they're factory hands, not educated professionals, and not all institutions value higher education. I was really lucky to find my first job in a place that has recognized its cultural problems, is working hard to correct them, and pays more for higher ed.
    ahnniem, CountyRat, and quinnsite like this.
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    To everyone that responded: Thank you VERY much!

    First, I appreciate you guys taking the time to provide the detailed and thoughtful responses you did. I'd like to think it's telling about the type of person who pursues a career in nursing. And that, of course, is an across-the-board compliment.

    Second, I found the comments very helpful. Both from practical and supportive standpoints. Again, thanks. Reading the responses have energized and affirmed me even more! I hope others will chime in if they have anything to add.

    Freedom 42: Regarding the accelerated BSN...I think your argument for is a good one. Here are some of my considerations. I don't have a school nearby, although there are programs within an hours drive. (I am north of Seattle, Washington in Bellingham.)

    Also, after receiving my ASN, could I pursue the advanced degree on a part time basis? I ask that because doing so would have less of an impact on my family finances. i.e. I'd be back working making money.

    After pre-reqs, how long does the accelerated BSN take? Would I be looking at 3-4 years?

    Again, I think your suggestions are right on. I will definitely look into figuring a way to getting a BSN or Masters level degree--for the reasons you suggest. Thanks!
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    I'm 54 and just graduated; you're just a pup, so go for it. I was an HR guy for the last 15 years so like you the uniform goes from suit and tie to scrubs (OMG I'm in heaven). Be aware that there is lots of butt wiping (litteraly) in nursing and for some that come from high-powered careers it is hard to make the transition.

    I would drive the hour/day to do the BSN. In fact you can probably do it faster than the ADN and have a leg up in the job market.

    Another great thing about leaving the legal world and going into nursing is that the jokes about our profession are usually about women!!

    Good Luck
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