Ageism in Nursing School.. - page 2

Has anyone ever experienced this? I am the oldest in my class (48) and I constantly feel left out or made fun of. I caught a couple of my classmates rolling their eyes when I walked into the Nurses... Read More

  1. by   firstyearstudent
    The biggest schism at my ADN program is the LVN nurses who have come into the class midway. I feel bad for them because the regular students have already bonded over he year and the LVNs are all new.
  2. by   81ke83
    I am the oldest in my nursing class. There is absolutely no age barrier with our group. My study partner is 22 and we don't see each other as different. We are working towards the same thing. My kids are older than most of the students. I am glad that I don't have to deal with the stuff they are dealing with. Boyfriends, breakups, children, pregnancy. It is hard enough to get through the program with added distractions. I also think it has to do on how we perceive ourselves.
  3. by   royr
    My advice - and you can take it or leave it - is COMMAND THEIR RESPECT! Out perform them on tests (get that 100% every exam) Outperform them in clinical - get there 1st in the morning - do all your work - then offer to do their work they are still struggling with. If they decine your help - help the other floor nurses or nurses aids with their work - you never know when you may learn something new and usefull. Do it all with a smile and a gracious attitude. Treat them like money does not matter to you - if they are hungry - share your food. If they don't like what you are eating or want "their own" - offer to buy it for them if they are short of cash. If they complain of thirst - offer to buy them a drink. Be a first class human being with good manners and excellent work ethics at all times. NEVER complain, roll your eyes, or show any sign of weakness. Never let them see that you are tired or stressed. Hold your head high and your shoulders back - and never take any nonsense from anyone when you are right - especially if your patient's health or safety is at stake - such as a miss transcribed med order or unsafe proceedure that you are in fact trained to do correctly. They may never like or even want to talk to you - but they will respect you - and you will find that durring a real emergency some will follow you and help - and others will be frozen like deer in the head-lites and simply watch you get it done the right way - the first time. Lead by example - and let the nay sayers walk beside you, follow you or get out of your way! I will be 44 years old this spring when I graduate from my BSN program and I can count my "freinds" in the program on the fingers of 1 hand - but I am respected at school - and more importantly - I am respected in every place I have done clinical duty. I hope this helps you sort things out.
  4. by   Freedom42
    Or you could just see their behavior for what it is -- rude and immature -- and decide that you don't care. Why worry about earning the respect of people who act in this manner? If they're as silly as you describe them, everyone else can see them for what they are. I wouldn't worry about winning acceptance, let alone respect, from people like that.

    Instead of thinking about what you might have done or how you can change, maybe you should just ignore them. Some people aren't worthy of being killed with kindness.

    I'm 43 and have no problem with much younger classmates. As I write this, it occurs to me that our nursing professor has taken great pains to establish a climate of mutual respect in class. It took your post to help me see that and to appreciate what she's done. Thanks.
  5. by   firstyearstudent
    Quote from royr
    My advice - and you can take it or leave it - is COMMAND THEIR RESPECT! Out perform them on tests (get that 100% every exam) Outperform them in clinical - get there 1st in the morning - do all your work - then offer to do their work they are still struggling with. If they decine your help - help the other floor nurses or nurses aids with their work - you never know when you may learn something new and usefull. Do it all with a smile and a gracious attitude. Treat them like money does not matter to you - if they are hungry - share your food. If they don't like what you are eating or want "their own" - offer to buy it for them if they are short of cash. If they complain of thirst - offer to buy them a drink. Be a first class human being with good manners and excellent work ethics at all times. NEVER complain, roll your eyes, or show any sign of weakness. Never let them see that you are tired or stressed. Hold your head high and your shoulders back - and never take any nonsense from anyone when you are right - especially if your patient's health or safety is at stake - such as a miss transcribed med order or unsafe proceedure that you are in fact trained to do correctly. They may never like or even want to talk to you - but they will respect you - and you will find that durring a real emergency some will follow you and help - and others will be frozen like deer in the head-lites and simply watch you get it done the right way - the first time. Lead by example - and let the nay sayers walk beside you, follow you or get out of your way! I will be 44 years old this spring when I graduate from my BSN program and I can count my "freinds" in the program on the fingers of 1 hand - but I am respected at school - and more importantly - I am respected in every place I have done clinical duty. I hope this helps you sort things out.
    I think you can show yourself to be vulnerable and still worthy of respect. I think I'm well respected by the younger students and I've never been afraid to say or show that I'm confused, ignorant, overwhelmed, tired or stressed. I'm generous when I can afford to be and I don't give when I might resent it. Mostly I'm just honest, easy going and have a sense of humor. It seems to work with people of all ages.
  6. by   Tweety
    llg offers good advice as always.

    Hold your head up. You have a right to be there as much as they do. Hang in there, it will get better.
  7. by   jov
    gotta join in this discussion!

    I'm 47, and in my 3rd semester for a BSN. About 2/3 of our class are in the 20-ish age, the rest are sprinkled throughout. I **think** I was the only one who enjoyed the 1974 Rolling Stones Tour of the Americas at United Center in Chicago...

    I was a bit worried about attending school with "the youngins" but was pleasantly surprised by what I found in my nursing class. Bright, ambitious, hard working and caring young women and men. Gives me hope for my future nursing home stay...

    I would say I have mostly friends. I have years and years of experience and training both in primary care and EMS. I've been told by my classmates that they think "I'm a genius" since I do very well in class. I ask thought provoking questions and yes, I'm the one that challenges instructors sometimes on concepts. For sure, there's respect.

    One thing I do is I strive to create a team effort within the class. Last semester, we had a grueling Mother-Baby class and several classmates were in danger of failing. To one classmate, I offered to meet with her individually to tutor her. We spent about 6 hours together for the next 2 tests, going over concepts. Did it help me? Slightly, but I would have been fine without it. Did it help her? Definitely (she got a higher score on the final than I did!). And not only that but it cemented respect and gratitude in our working relationship. If I hear a student missed a particularly important lecture because of illness or an accident, I e-mail them and offer to go over the notes with them. Most of the time, they don't take me up on it, but they definitely appreciate that someone is looking out for their well being and success... and willing to sacrifice time to help them out.

    I believe it will be an important skill to be able to work intergenerationally. But to tell you the truth, it's been refreshing and invigorating to work with these young people. And fun! They are so good at having fun! So I'm real happy to be in the mix.

    Finally gotta tell you this... at Halloween, one of the guys in my class announced he was having a halloween party. "The whole class is invited." :hatparty: Hubby was out of town, I had my kids scheduled for sleepovers someplace else, so why not? Ended up having dinner with an old friend, then driving back over to the college town for the party. At 9:00, it was still a little dead, by 10:00 there were 100 people there, about 7 from my nursing classes. So I watched them play the drinking games (with the cups and the ping pong ball) and dance, and they all snarfed down the cookies I brought. I don't drink, so I didn't embarrass myself, and my friends from class thought it was the coolest thing that I showed up (they don't know that WE don't know we're "0ld," do they?). About midnight, I was getting tired. Just before I left, an extremely drunk dude in a Bob Marley costume drifted by. Swaying in front of me-- here is where the adage "a drunken man's words are a sober man's thoughts" becomes obvious-- he blearily looked at me and said, I have to ask, just how old are you anyway? I cracked up. When I told him I was 47, he made me high-five him. His friend asked, "so...how do you like college parties?" I laughed again and told him, "they haven't changed in 30 years."

    Anyway, the point of it is I try to make connections with people in my class. You don't HAVE to go to parties but some of them you can only make connections by showing up at their beer parties. Some of them you can make connections by offering to help them study for a difficult test. Some of them you can make connections by bringing homemade cookies. Some of them you can make connections by encouraging them to talk through a boyfriend problem. Almost all of them will connect with you if you encourage them.

    You just gotta genuinely like yourself and like them.

  8. by   WDWpixieRN
    Quote from jov
    if i hear a student missed a particularly important lecture because of illness or an accident, i e-mail them and offer to go over the notes with them. most of the time, they don't take me up on it, but they definitely appreciate that someone is looking out for their well being and success... and willing to sacrifice time to help them out.
    this reminded me....at our last clinicals, someone was missing a pen....i pulled one out of my clipboard to lend them (didn't get it back, of course)....my lab partner commented, "what would we do with you? you're like our little mother hen"....i tend to be the one to answer the questions, call with reminders, print something extra for my buds if i think it'll help them....but i mostly enjoy them too, until they start acting like *my* 20-somethings!!

    oh, and i loved the rolling stones tour, too!!
  9. by   firstyearstudent
    Quote from jov
    gotta join in this discussion!

    I'm 47, and in my 3rd semester for a BSN. About 2/3 of our class are in the 20-ish age, the rest are sprinkled throughout. I **think** I was the only one who enjoyed the 1974 Rolling Stones Tour of the Americas at United Center in Chicago...

    I was a bit worried about attending school with "the youngins" but was pleasantly surprised by what I found in my nursing class. Bright, ambitious, hard working and caring young women and men. Gives me hope for my future nursing home stay...

    I would say I have mostly friends. I have years and years of experience and training both in primary care and EMS. I've been told by my classmates that they think "I'm a genius" since I do very well in class. I ask thought provoking questions and yes, I'm the one that challenges instructors sometimes on concepts. For sure, there's respect.

    One thing I do is I strive to create a team effort within the class. Last semester, we had a grueling Mother-Baby class and several classmates were in danger of failing. To one classmate, I offered to meet with her individually to tutor her. We spent about 6 hours together for the next 2 tests, going over concepts. Did it help me? Slightly, but I would have been fine without it. Did it help her? Definitely (she got a higher score on the final than I did!). And not only that but it cemented respect and gratitude in our working relationship. If I hear a student missed a particularly important lecture because of illness or an accident, I e-mail them and offer to go over the notes with them. Most of the time, they don't take me up on it, but they definitely appreciate that someone is looking out for their well being and success... and willing to sacrifice time to help them out.

    I believe it will be an important skill to be able to work intergenerationally. But to tell you the truth, it's been refreshing and invigorating to work with these young people. And fun! They are so good at having fun! So I'm real happy to be in the mix.

    Finally gotta tell you this... at Halloween, one of the guys in my class announced he was having a halloween party. "The whole class is invited." :hatparty: Hubby was out of town, I had my kids scheduled for sleepovers someplace else, so why not? Ended up having dinner with an old friend, then driving back over to the college town for the party. At 9:00, it was still a little dead, by 10:00 there were 100 people there, about 7 from my nursing classes. So I watched them play the drinking games (with the cups and the ping pong ball) and dance, and they all snarfed down the cookies I brought. I don't drink, so I didn't embarrass myself, and my friends from class thought it was the coolest thing that I showed up (they don't know that WE don't know we're "0ld," do they?). About midnight, I was getting tired. Just before I left, an extremely drunk dude in a Bob Marley costume drifted by. Swaying in front of me-- here is where the adage "a drunken man's words are a sober man's thoughts" becomes obvious-- he blearily looked at me and said, I have to ask, just how old are you anyway? I cracked up. When I told him I was 47, he made me high-five him. His friend asked, "so...how do you like college parties?" I laughed again and told him, "they haven't changed in 30 years."

    Anyway, the point of it is I try to make connections with people in my class. You don't HAVE to go to parties but some of them you can only make connections by showing up at their beer parties. Some of them you can make connections by offering to help them study for a difficult test. Some of them you can make connections by bringing homemade cookies. Some of them you can make connections by encouraging them to talk through a boyfriend problem. Almost all of them will connect with you if you encourage them.

    You just gotta genuinely like yourself and like them.

    ABSOLUTELY!
  10. by   emtb2rn
    Didn't catch the Stones in '74, but really loved the '75 tour at the Garden in NYC (Honky Tonk Women's cowbell opening ruled). Haven't encountered any ageism from my classmates or instructors either. The folks I interact with range from 19 to early 50's.
  11. by   royr
    Quote from firstyearstudent
    I think you can show yourself to be vulnerable and still worthy of respect. I think I'm well respected by the younger students and I've never been afraid to say or show that I'm confused, ignorant, overwhelmed, tired or stressed. I'm generous when I can afford to be and I don't give when I might resent it. Mostly I'm just honest, easy going and have a sense of humor. It seems to work with people of all ages.
    I am very happy for you that you find yourself in a group of accepting and caring people. I tried it your way the first semester - and had very mixed results. Some took my friendliness for more than just being friends. It seems that these younger folks consider behaviors "just fun" that my wife would consider infidelity - it seems that many of the girls are more grown up than I am - and study trips to their dorm rooms bringing ice cream and brownees I bake are now out of the question if I want to maintain my marriage. I have also encountered the other extreme in those that mistake my kindness for weakness. In addition; I also have encountered clinical instructors that don't apreciate anyone's sense of humor - and write you up at the sound of a laugh. So - after several confrontations of different kinds - I decided to set the ground rules as I stated - It is working for me currently and I hope to finish this program in May, sit for my NCLEX shortly after - and pray I find a group of good folks to work with who will accept me for being myself when I go to work. If this is not possible, then I guess like so many others before I will have to think of something else that will work and will gladly entertain suggestions. I wish you continued good fortune in your quest for your degree.
  12. by   Halinja
    I have to say, I haven't run in to any ageism. I have friends who are in their early 20's, up to close to my age. The trick, I think, is that to me they're all my compatriots/colleagues. Yes, at times they can't understand some of the pressures in my life. But I honestly admire the younger girls who are working so very hard to make something of themselves. I think that admiration shows, which doesn't hurt.

    I'm always willing to help, but don't push, and I disagree with the person who said be the one to offer to pay. I see another person in my class who is trying to buy her way into friendship, and it isn't appreciated.

    One time we were going to have a study session at my house. When one of the girls arrived she laughed and said, "I was so startled to see a house instead of an apartment, I forget you aren't the same age as us." It isn't about age. Its about surviving nursing school. We're all in it together.
  13. by   land64shark
    Actually, my Nursing 2 instructor commented that this is her first class where the majority of students are "second career students".....that's polite for older.
    I'm 42. The oldest in the class is in her sixties. (Very smart and English isn't even her first language.) I get along just fine with all of my classmates. Of course that doesn't mean I don't want to roll my eyes at some of their immaturity....

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