How do you cope with looking "too young" to be a nurse? - page 4

by LaceyRN12 9,251 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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    This may seem like common sense, but don't wear pigtails in your hair. The one time I did, I ran behind all day because just about every patient questioned my qualifications. It also made the male patients think it was ok to sexually harass me. So, consider yourself warned!
    FlyingScot likes this.
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    Yep. I just graduated this past August and people still don't think that i am old enough to even graduate from nursing school. I always get asked "So, you are a real nurse?" Yes, a real nurse! Makes me wonder what they thing "real nurses" actually look like...
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    Wow!! This sure became quite a popular post. Thanks everyone for your responses.


    Quote from squidbillies
    This only concerns me as far as GETTING a job
    It might explain why it took me a VERY long time to find a job... people didn't take me seriously.


    Quote from imintrouble
    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.
    No, I don't. I don't think I look young at all. It's how people treat me. I constantly have strangers coming up to me asking how old I am. They always guess an age like 13 years old (***, SERIOUSLY?!). I don't see why I should place so much emphasis on how old I look when no one else notices... but that's the problem... everyone notices and repeatedly rub it in my face. I've gone through this for years. Having people look at me with disgust and tell me, "You look too young" to be doing this and that is absolutely unnecessary and RUDE. It's not just an observation; it's an insult. Observations are noted to yourself. And you'd know what it feels like if you looked 13 years old when you're almost 30.
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    I guess it struck a chord with some of us since we have been there. I remember shopping for a wedding dress with my soon to be SIL and my youngest baby. When the store employees heard me mention that she was my third child, they had to drop everything and gather round to find out how old I was. They were guessing 18 at the oldest when I was 32 at the time.

    I don't find it insulting, but it does get quite tedious that others make a big deal out of it.
    calivianya likes this.
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    Quote from GeneralJinjur
    I guess it struck a chord with some of us since we have been there. I remember shopping for a wedding dress with my soon to be SIL and my youngest baby. When the store employees heard me mention that she was my third child, they had to drop everything and gather round to find out how old I was. They were guessing 18 at the oldest when I was 32 at the time.

    I don't find it insulting, but it does get quite tedious that others make a big deal out of it.
    Yeah, it's nice to see that I'm not alone. But it's insulting when people question your capabilities and skills and judge you so quickly. And it's people's reactions and disgusted looks I get.

    It's like asking an obese person how much they weigh and getting a look because you look "too fat" to be doing what you're doing. And I can't even help the fact that I look young.
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    In reply to citylights89 - I know exactly what you are saying. When I graduated (a few years ago!)' I was asked if I was a "real" nurse a lot - I did have a baby face. I had one lovely senior lady ask me if I was a nurse. When I said yes, she grabbed my hand and said "are you sure"!! When I said yes, she patted my hand and said "if you say so dear"!!
    Last edit by Peppermintcake on Oct 10, '12 : Reason: Forgot to hit reply button
    citylights89 likes this.
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    Keep smiling, be professional and be the best nurse on the floor.
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    i know what you mean i am 28 with my masters degree. and i am a superviser and a teacher. i look very young. Despite being in my late 20's
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    Wait until you're two weeks shy of the big 4-0 and people think you're about 23 or 24.

    I am not making this up.

    Aside from the fact that I always, always win at those games in amusement parks where they try to guess your age, it's a burden. And no, no one would want to put up with this on a day to day basis, no matter how much they may think they otherwise.

    Cute comments about 'how could you know, being as young as you are' (you do realize I'm older than your kid!) and 'oh, you'll find out about that later' (you do know that you and I are about the same age, and I know this because you told me when you graduated from high school) and 'you couldn't possibly know about *insert some cultural reference from the Reagan era* because you weren't even in diapers then!'

    To the last one I answered, 'Nope, you're right, I wasn't - I was in grammar school.'

    I actually told someone that I wrote Ronald Reagan when he was shot. (I did - I still have the reply card I got from The White House.) They actually had the nerve to tell me that was impossible. Really?

    It was even worse when I was a 38 year old lieutenant. Most Lt's are in their early to mid 20s. I'm older than some of our attendings. I look like an intern. And I'm not bragging about it. While I know how blessed I am (I have a four-months-shy-of-50 year old sister who gets carded), being pandered to like a kid gets old and grates on your nerves.

    (I confess do love the shock value sometimes - especially if someone really digs their own grave over it. Some people say stuff so daft they deserve to have their butt handed back to them - and it's class when all you have to do is say, 'nope - 39, two weeks away from 40' or whatever this week's zinger is.)

    I've also had people tell me I'm lying. OMG. Really - would I LIE about being so close to forty I can smell it? Seriously, I'd rather lie about being 28. It's more believable in my case! Being out of state I've had my driver license questioned. OK, I'll buy that - but please, when I show you my military ID, at some point it has to stop.

    But it's actually not the blessing so many want to believe it is.
    Last edit by carolinapooh on May 29, '13
    RN/MSN1984 likes this.
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    It is so aggravating, I'm right there with you! I don't mind it when it's a friendly observation and people smile, but when people get serious and it's a criticism it's different. There is a world of difference between a patient saying, "You look so young and beautiful!" with a huge smile on his/her face and saying, "You don't look old enough to be here," with a frown. Sorry, but if I pass boards, I'm qualified to take care of you as an RN and if you have a problem with that you can take it up with the state BON because they're the ones deciding that I'm qualified!
    carolinapooh likes this.


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