How do you cope with looking "too young" to be a nurse? - page 3

by LaceyRN12 | 9,526 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


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    I look very young (I am young but look about 15) and yesterday a girl asked me how old I was, very rudely, before I was about to give her her birth control injection. I should have said, if you don't trust me to do this you can wait for someone else to come back for lunch... in an hour.

    It happens all the time.
    squidbillies likes this.
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    Quote from LaceyRN12
    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 teenager. People don't take me seriously at all, and it's hard to feel like an adult because of it. What are some ways to help me cope with this?

    Thank you.

    I have always been cool with it. You show competence and confidence, but don't overcompensate, as some may, with an attitude.

    "I'm blessed with good genes and clean living." That's my bit and I say it with a smile. 20 some years later, it isn't so much of an issue, but people still can't guess my age. I just had a group of people ask me this the other day. Some people are fixated on age, and I can't understand why. Just smile and be confident.

    Regardless, people always have to get to know you and your work, and it ends up being OK. So be glad for your genes and do well.
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    I never considered that I worked in a progressive area, but I can't remember hearing a young looking nurse's ability linked with their appearance.

    Is it possible YOU place more emphasis on your appearance than patients and co-workers? "You look too young to be a nurse", is not an indictment on your abilities, but simply an observation.
    OCNRN63 likes this.
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    Glad I am not the only one that has this issue! I dont actually have a job yet, but clinicals were always fun alot of the older patients always assumed I was a candy striper or a high school volunteer...
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    Im 25 and look 16, but usually its not a problem. I'm a nicu nurse though so my patients don't care, and many of the parents are around my age anyway. Parents do ask me sometimes how old I am and comment on how young I look but usually its just because they are curious. They see I am confident and take good care of their babies. Usually when I say how old I am and how long I've been working they just say "wow thats great you figured out what you wanted to do so young and went for it!" I only really have had one dad who made a big deal about it and kept asking me if I was old enough to drive, but eventually he shut up because I took really good care of their baby and he was really appreciative of everything I did for them.
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    I feel your pain! I was 19 when I started nursing school, 20 when I graduated. I always got the " are you old enough to do this?" I always want to say no I am not but they were really desperate and needed someone to play nurse and I was available so it worked out lol. I am 25 now and still get it because I look 18. Honestly I am competent and feel secure in my role as a nurse so even if they think I am too young after awhile they forget about because I know what I am doing and I think that shows.
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    I'm pushing 50 and most people think I'm in my early thirties (they must be blind) some have even said 29 (I hope they don't drive). When I first started I looked about 12. Never had a problem with patients or staff. I'm kind of no-nonsense so I was never giggly. Just know your stuff and act like a professional adult and you won't have any problems.
    vintagemother likes this.
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    Wait a few years. Then you'll complain about how old you look, like me.
    OCNRN63 likes this.
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    enjoy it while it lasts looking younger than one's years is a blessing. Would you rather be 20ish but look like 40ish? I think not. Anyways always dress neatly, clean, ironed uniforms, hair conservative no loose strands, light make up, know your stuff so you can be confident, act mature. Less talking more observing your coworkers to see what body language cues give you way as a youngster. Learn to exude confidence.

    Shoot my first month on the job I had patients questioning if I was a student, was really a nurse, what was my citizenship status, when did I "arrive", was I a volunteer. One patient as I leaned over to give him a shot he read my ID, "Registered Nurse". He said, "you're a registered nurse ... ". Me, "Indeed I am". Now lets see what can we do about your problem. End of conversation. Its been a few more weeks since then and you know what? not one person asked anymore if I am a nurse and its because I am the nurse.
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    A friend once suggested that when a patient asks me if I'm old enough to be a nurse, I should do this: Look them in the eye and ask with all seriousness "Have you ever heard of Doogie Howser?" I haven't actually gone on to do that but it gave me a good laugh!


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