Ageism in Nursing School.. - page 3

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   BSNtobe2009
    I have a feeling the girls that are snickering behind your back, are the ones that won't be there when YOU graduate!

    Every class has those people in them, but they are usually the ones with the lowest grades.
  2. by   deleern
    I didn't ever worry about it. I sat in the front row so i wouldn't fall asleep. (i worked the night shift as a CNA so i could go to schoold for Nursing.. I was 45) i would leave after Class(to sleep). was pleasent, just never worried about it. I had one goal that that was to remain Standing at the end of the 3rd semester for my Pinning ceremoney. I am now just about done with my RN and still not worried about it, I just do my thing and let the kids be kids. I will be 48 when i graduate and i am older than most of my instructors....
    If the people around me have a problem with it... Guess what that is their problem not mine. I love Learning and Nobodies adittude is going to get in my way....(makes me feel like singing "i am woman hear me Roar"):-)
    Last edit by deleern on Nov 5, '06
  3. by   Natkat
    I'm so sorry to hear you feel rejected by your classmates.

    I think I experienced a touch of this in the beginning (I'm 45) but I shrugged it off. I just worked really hard, tried my best to learn fast and got the respect of my classmates. I pitch in and help them whenever they need help - just little things like making a bed, finding the supplies, and backing them up when they feel bullied by the staff. Eventually they accepted me as one of them. They don't invite me to hang out with them and sometimes that feels lonely, but I understand. They are a lot younger than me and I'm not exactly hip or cool. I know they'd rather socialize with people their own age and I got over it. But mostly I just try my best at what we are supposed to do and try and set an example. I try to be the "go to" person if they have a question and can't figure something out.

    I have found that if I don't make a big deal about it, then they don't either. I've worked hard on my social skills and it worked. I make conversation, make small talk and listen when they talk. I smile and I'm careful not to come across as critical or judgemental.......and I struggle with that since that's part of my personality. But I leave that personality at home so that when I'm with them I'm more pleasant and positive. Eventually they see me as just a person and I'm pretty sure they don't think about my age. Maybe they talk about me behind my back, but I don't care. At least they're kind enough not to do it to my face and I appreciate it.
  4. by   Nibor6000
    I had this problem when I went back to school for my masters in nutrition. I was different from a lot of my classmates because I had been out in the "real world" and knew why I was in the program and what I wanted to get out of it. Please don't let that seem as patronizing as it sounds, but I feel that many non-traditional students are extremely motivated and naturally curious. Adult learners want to know "why" and how what they're learning will further their careers; some, but not all, of your classmates will have reached this level of maturity. This may cause some friction between you and your classmates. Frankly, I didn't really care about the eye rolling, etc. Introduce yourself to motivated students - young and old. Once you develop a group of people you like and are encouraged by, you won't notice what anyone else is doing.

    Good luck!
  5. by   Balder_LPN
    I'm 40, the oldest in my class is 52, I have noticed none of this stuff directed at the older people in class. Maybe they have some other issue with you than your age. You may be jumping to conclusions, there was nothing in your post that indicated age was the specific issue.

    Mostly they are probably just immature though, they'll get over it.
  6. by   Jade005
    Quote from ilovehottea
    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 Conference room yesterday...we were at a skilled nursing facility and were doing our clinical work there. I don't get any respect from one of them - she is always snapping answers to questions I ask the professor! I have just about had it with this group of people I am in school with. I know I'm not there to make friends but to learn...but honestly, sometimes I get so nervous in class or in clinical that I actually get physically ill! I am in my first semester in nursing school. I don't want to drop out, but I am seriously considering it. And it's not from the patients or staff I have to deal with - it's from MY OWN CLASS!!
    Just like to tell you that I can understand where you are coming from here.I am 43 and not the oldest in my class but I am bogged down with teenage sons and a fulltime job (single mom). I don't have time for the petty little games and could really care less if any of my classmates like me or not. I am there for my degree, besides, If they are in their early twenties you are at such different places in your lives. Try to focus on learning the material and giving your full attention to becoming the best nurse you can be. You will find your niche, continue to treat your classmates with respect and consideration and "this too shall pass"
  7. by   Sheri257
    Quote from Jade005
    I don't have time for the petty little games and could really care less if any of my classmates like me or not.
    I agree. I'm not sure why anyone would care in the first place. Besides, if I did worry about stupid things like this ... I'd never get any work done.

    :typing
  8. by   EmerNurse
    Hi Ilovehottea!

    The first semester of nursing school is pretty god-awful for most folks. It's a culture shock after those pre-req's - now it's for REAL.

    I remember that it took a while for our nursing class to "bond" if you will. At the beginning, everyone who knew someone from "before" kind of hung with them and didn't much branch out. But after a semester or two, people began to gravitate to others who studied like them, thought of thier schooling in the same way, etc. Also, some of these folks aren't going to be around in a semester or two.

    My advice - and I was in my late 30's when I started nsg school - with FOUR kids at home - is to stay rather quiet for now, do your work to the absolutely BEST you can, and concentrate on your learning. As time passes, the dynamics of your class group will change, as people adjust to the new stresses and demands of nursing school.

    The one time I felt really really OLD, hehe, was after nursing school - I was in a small preceptorship (briefly, hated it, another story), with 4 other girls, all roughly 22 and new grads (I wasn't a new grad). We were all eating lunch in the cafeteria and the entire discussion revolved around which docs and residents were "hot" and single. <sigh> THAT made me feel old. I just wanted the docs who talked to me like I had a clue LOL.
  9. by   lovingtheunloved
    Not all of us young 'uns are like that. Take heart.
  10. by   danh3190
    I'm 55 and may not be the oldest in my class (I figure it's impolite to ask people their age). Most of the students are in their 20s and 30s. A couple in their teens. A bunch (10 or so???) in the mid 40s to 50s. A lot of the students have degrees and have had other jobs before coming to nursing.

    We've been pretty lucky in that the class seems to be getting along pretty well as we finish our first semester. One 18 year old seemed to fret a lot about being the youngest, but she seems to be feeling better now. I haven't heard anything directed at us old folks, but then maybe my hearing's starting to go...
  11. by   ilovehottea
    I have to add. This isn't just happening to me, there are others who are older that get a lot of crap in our class. I'm telling you, it is really aggravating...especially when you are trying to study before class starts.

    Also, a couple of younger students (the ones that are probably chiefly responsible for this irreprehensible behavior IN class) actually made fun of a couple of elderly patients in our clinical setting!! SOME, not all, need to seriously GROW UP.
  12. by   UM Review RN
    I have to thank a really bad clinical and a couple of extremely stressed, insecure instructors for giving me a chance to bond with my clinical group.

    Those talented students were being told nothing but negative things about themselves. Everyone was feeling the strain, morale was in the pits.

    One night I was angry because yet another talented student was torn to shreds and made to cry in front of the group.

    I decided to fight back. I wrote one nice thing, one note of encouragement, about each of my classmates. I put on a fancy border, added some color, and printed it out on glossy photo paper--one for each of them.

    You would not believe how many of them came to me after that semester and told me how that little note kept them going. One said she hung it up on her wall!
  13. by   UM Review RN
    Oh yeah, my point.

    My point is that you might be facing some "discrimination" because you lack healthcare experience right now, but later on, your life experience can help you to become part of the team.

    Study hard, take it seriously, and you'll do fine. Best wishes to you!

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