How do you cope with looking "too young" to be a nurse? - page 2

by LaceyRN12 9,255 Views | 53 Comments

Hi everyone. I'm Lacey, and I'm new to this forum! Anyways, I look young for my age. And being short as well doesn't help. I've had people beat me up emotionally for looking "too young" to be a nurse. They think I'm a... Read More


  1. 0
    Trust me eventually you will mature and the young looking nurse will have aged, hopefully gracefully!

    I was a young looking nurse once and I just remained calm and professional, reassuring the concerned or worried that I knew what I was doing.
    Some older patients love having the younger nurse look after them as they feel that they can coddle them.

    I never had an issue after pt's and relatives realized I did know what i was doing.

    Remember years ago it tended to be that very young students came into nursing a lot of them would graduate at 21 after a 3 yr training. So would be 18 when they started.
  2. 2
    If you look younger than your years, I hate to say, you'll probably be dealing with this for a long time. I am in my early 40's and people tend to think I'm in my late 20's. I think its because I am very short. People have asked my age. I smile and say, well my oldest child is 20....and I wasn't a teen mom. They do the math and realize the youngest I can be is 40. I love the look of shock on their faces. I've never had anyone really have a problem with me or my work due to looking younger.

    I know its hard (I've been dealing with it forever) but try not to let them get to you. Just prove to them you are 100% capable of doing your job and they tend to feel more at ease. You'll embrace the 'compliment' when you are older
    JRP1120, RN and grev like this.
  3. 2
    It depends on who says it and how they say it. If its a 90 year old little old woman I smile and say thanks. If it's a co-worker or supervisor, I politely but firmly remind them that I am capable of doing my job, and that any implication otherwise is discrimination and I will not stand for it.
    vintagemother and JRP1120, RN like this.
  4. 0
    I get this all the time. I laugh it off and tell them my real age. I am 28 and people ask if I am 18. I then ask if they would want a teenager being a nurse. The best thing is to not take it personally and feel happy that you look young and not old.
  5. 0
    I know exactly how others perceive you! Im 27 but look like a fresh from the schoolroom starry-eyed little girl! Sometimes I experience some people who would eye me warily when I come in weilding a syringe or a tube set. There are times when they would say straight to my face that they would like a more experienced (meaning older) nurse to give them the shot. But once I do my job, they look at me with new respect. Just do your job well and no one will dare question you!
  6. 0
    People have always thought I'm way younger than I really am all my life. By the time I actually became a nurse, I was so used to it, I didn't really care what people said. Even though I look young, my coworkers can see how competent I am, and they all respect me for the job that I do. I do get patients quite a bit who ask me how long I've been doing my job, and even a few have wondered how old I really am because I don't look old enough to do my job, but I just answer their question and move on. It doesn't bother me one bit.
  7. 0
    This only concerns me as far as GETTING a job
  8. 0
    My brother taugt me a fun way to deal with this. When he was in residency, and a patient would say "you look too young to be a doctor!" My brother would look at them innocently and say "I don't think 19 is too young to be a doctor at all!" and pause to see the reaction. He was a man in his early 30's, and that line almost always got a laugh.
  9. 0
    Personally, I grew a beard. That option may not work for the majority of nurses. I have never really had a problem......all the little old ladies love me
  10. 0
    I just respond that I am old enough to know what I am doing!


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