Concern: Age Discrimination for a New 58 RN

  1. Hello,
    I am done with my first career. I really would like to become an RN. I would be 58 when I would graduate with an A.S. Degree.
    • I am very worried though about age discrimination in hiring.
    • Also, they say there is and will be a nursing shortage, but I don't quite buy that. Please, please respond.
    Thank you so much
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    About Cyns

    Joined: Jul '11; Posts: 3


  3. by   MN-Nurse
    Quote from Cyns

    I am done with my first career. I really would like to become an RN. I would be 58 when I would graduate with an A.S. Degree.
    • I am very worried though about age discrimination in hiring.
    • Also, they say there is and will be a nursing shortage, but I don't quite buy that. Please, please respond.
    Thank you so much
    There is no shortage of new grad nurses.

    I haven't experienced any age discrimination. I started working on a ADN degree at 40, finished at 44, and got a Med Surg job offer a week after passing the NCLEX.

    However, I made sure that I ran circles around my younger peers academically and professionally. If you outperform younger candidates, you are less likely to experience discrimination.

    Good luck!
  4. by   porridge
    There is age discrimination in nursing, as in all fields of employment. That's not to say it's impossible to get a job as an older nurse, as long as you are physically able to handle the demands of the job (and those demands are often extensive).

    While I would never want to rain on anyone's parade, so to speak, I think it's important to be aware that there really is no nursing shortage. I have friends who have been in nursing for years longer than myself, with lots of experience and skiills, who are finding that they don't even get call backs from submitting applications online. Many of them are staying in jobs they don't like, simply because there is no alternative at the present time.

    Having said all that, if nursing is your dream you shouldn't let anyone talk you out of it. Life is short, and I don't think any education is ever wasted.
  5. by   caliotter3
    I have encountered age discrimination. The topic was even brought up in at least one interview. When they see an oldster walk into the room, they want to see someone with a decade or three of experience. I would certainly make certain that you have a secure means of support through school and the foreseeable future. New grad or not, old or not, you can go a long time without a job in nursing. At least that is what I have experienced.
    Last edit by caliotter3 on Jul 2, '11
  6. by   netglow
    Bottom line.

    Do you need to work to support you and your family? This will make your decision for you. There are thousands of nurses that are with license and chomp'in at the bit to work, but they remain unemployed. Many for 2 years. They are in default of loan payments for college. As you read above, even experienced nurses can't seem to make a move. Many more managed after a year or so to get a really crappy job that requires an RN. These jobs are not at all where their skill and intelligence lie. They, are waiting to get the heck out and into any hospital RN job. So what I am essentially saying, you have several thousand RNs ahead of you in line. The question is how long can you wait, financially?
  7. by   33762FL
    I agree with the two points other posters made that there is no nursing shortage, and that age discrimination exists (the older you get, the harder it will be to enter a new career). I want to make a third very important point:

    If you are older and have student loans you can't pay, they will garnish your social security checks. IMO unless you are wealthy enough not to have to borrow any tuition money, this is the biggest deterrent to entering a new career at 58. If you don't find a job and therefore can't make loan payments, they will garnish your social security.
  8. by   FlowerGarden
    I encourage you to go into nursing if that is what you want to do!
    Don't let your age stop you.
    I also was hesitant because of my age (I was 55 when I started nursing school and by far the oldest in my class). I felt that people would not judge me by my age, but would probably judge me more on how much energy, strength, and enthusiam I radiated.

    So, I entered an accelerated program at the age of 55 and graduated Summa Cum Laude in May at age 56. I agree with the above comment that you should strive to do really well in nursing school in order to stand out.

    As far as a nursing shortage, I do not believe there is one. I think there are way too many nurses for available positions, and from what I have heard it can be difficult for new grads to find a job.

    However, I am happy to report that I landed a new grad RN position within 6 weeks of graduation. I attribute my success to making connections during school (in clinicals and with my various nursing instructors) and by just being myself and showing positive energy, enthusiasm and a strong desire to be a nurse.

    I did it, and so can you. It was hard -- not because I'm "old," but because nursing school is just hard.
    I made my dream come true and so can you! I encourage you to go for it. Good luck!
  9. by   Whispera
    About a decade ago, I taught a man who had retired from his first profession. He was well into his sixties. He turned into a wonderful nurse... Don't let age hold you back!
  10. by   brandy1017
    Are you healthy enough and physically able to do the job to start with. Most of the country does not have safe or no lift environments so the risk of injury is great.

    Second do you have enough retirement money set aside. You are so close to retirement it would be better to save money for retirement rather than taking out student loans or using your retirement savings to go back to school. If you take out retirement before 59 1/2 years old you will have to pay ordinary income taxes plus 10% penalty federal and state at least in some cases, a loss of possibly 50% of your income right there.

    I don't think you'll have enough time to make that money up. Student loans are an even worse option as you won't have enough time to pay them off before retirement. Think long and hard before doing this and read thru the many posts of people who can't get jobs or are frustrated and disastified with their working conditions because I don't think things are going to get better for nurses when the govt, employers, and insurance companies are always trying to cut costs.

    As was already mentioned you cannot get rid of student loans and social security will be garnished if need be to repay them. Could you afford to retire if that was the case?

    This country puts too much emphasis on education as the way to advance financially and socially and the end result is so many Americans having spent thousands getting degrees they cannot get appropriate jobs with and then stuck in dead-end low paying jobs and trapped in student loan debt.

    Congress recognized this truth which is probably the reason Banruptcy protections were taken away from Student loan debt back in 2005. They realized many students would never get decent jobs to pay the loans back and to prevent record bankruptcy defaults they took away all consumer protections from student loans.

    Before you invest the time and money in this venture, please shadow nurses or take a job as a CNA and learn if you are up to the physical aspects of the job and if you like it and if you can handle the stress involved. It is unfortunate that we do not have a safe no-lift environment in nursing but with Bush demolishing the ergonomics legislation Clinton put in place so many years ago, I don't see things improving anytime soon.
  11. by   snoopy29
    I will be completely honest with you ..... I am in my 40's, very fit and healthy and yet I know there is no way I can continue to work in an acute area for much longer. The work is physically incrediblydemanding - at the end of a long day my back aches and my feet are like water melons! - I wear a pedometer and usually clock up 14 miles on an average shift.

    I am lucky in that I have the luxury of choice because I have years of experience under my belt and know that when I am ready to leave acute care then I have realistic softer options open to me.

    If being a nurse is your dream then follow that but have a very clear idea about where you want that to be, what realistically you can sustain and what are your chances of obtaining that and those answers should form the basis of your decisions.

    good luck with whatever choices you make
  12. by   Seas
    Age discrimination exists. Like one other poster said, once you are going for an interview at an age of 58, they will hope you have some experience. You will be competing with hundreds of new grads at ages of 20's which will even lower your chance of getting hired. But on the other hand, I witness older new grads finishing school and finding jobs too, but not often. it totally depends.
    I, personally wouldn't go for it.
  13. by   frogdream
    I had just turned 59 when I graduated from an ADN program last December (2010). I have other degrees, decided to go to nursing school 3 years prior to that. I then go a job in administration at a major hospital, working for a top MD. I found an evening/weekend ADN program, so I was able to work full time, take advantage of tuition reimbursement and many connections made on the job. The hospital hired me 4 months after graduation. I have now been working > > 2 months. I compare notes with a group of young 20 something new grads that started when I did and don't have any different new grad experience or difficulty than theirs. I did hear from a PCT on my floor in the beginning who told me to my face that the nurses were wondering why they hired an "old" person! (I think she was the one who had the problem with it) but I just carry on and now feel like I am getting more and more accepted into the group. I know that takes a little time.

    Don't give up if that is what you want to do. Take the advice to network really well, I think maturity is recognized at being very important.
  14. by   NamasteNurse
    I am 53 and graduated when I was 50. Got all three jobs I applied for. One because I was older! I graduated at the very top of my class. The only problem is my knees and it almost stopped me from getting a job! They had to see that I could kneel down and do CPR if necessary! I did it, got the job. My LPN cost me 10,000. It's 113 a month. No problems anywhere! Go for it!