50 years old : I want to be a nurse

  1. Dear Nurse Beth,

    I'm 50 and a professional musician and clergy looking to get an RN over the next few years. I have two young children, 7 and 9 and divorcing - could it get worse lol? I am also a chaplain at a hospital and I'm thinking the best place to start is with CNA work. At my hospital I'm a well known quantity there as I do chaplaincy rounds on all the units including behavioral, and I'm looking for any advice you have for me. Thank you so much. I'm a very young looking and feeling 50.




    Dear Wants to be a Nurse,

    You have a lot on your plate as a divorcing parent….it’s huge. Congrats on your decision to become a nurse. Having a professional job and job security is important as a single parent. Pursuing your nursing education tells your children that education and helping others is important.

    The benefit of working as a CNA is that you stand a good chance of getting hired by your CNA employer when you graduate as an RN. This is because they know you and your work ethic. So it's a good thing, although in your case you are already known at your job.

    My advice is to just to get your RN training as soon as you can. Work as a CNA while in school if you are able, but your primary focus is to get your RN.

    Good luck in nursing school!

    Best wishes,

    Nurse Beth

    Last edit by Nurse Beth on Sep 4, '16
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  2. 9 Comments

  3. by   Lovemed
    Nurse Beth, thank you so much for your encouragement and your response...It means the world to me. Something great happened. One of the amazing nurses at the hospital offered to help place me there when my tech course work is over and I burst into happy tears when I walked out of her office. I started my CNA course this past Monday and I've loved the whole week so far. I'm eagerly looking forward to doing EKG and Phlebotomy after passing the CNA boards and I'd like to start prereqs now for RN or ABSN if I can even think of handling an accelerated bsn with two kids. Either way I'm going for it! Thank you!
  4. by   dbabz
    For what it's worth, I'm 51 and starting a BSN program on Tuesday. My only living child is 14 and starting high school and I'm coming from SAH-dome. Prior to that, I was in the Securities Industry for 15 years. As Nurse Beth said, you've got much on your plate. Hopefully, your ex will be supportive of your pursuit--as s/he should be; you are securing a better financial future for your children. You and I are taking huge leaps of faith that, with any luck, will result in challenging, rewarding careers. Sometimes you just have to hold your breath and hope for the best. Good luck to you--you're very brave!
  5. by   oldandintheway
    I was over 50 when I started nursing school and I wasn't the oldest one. It can be done and it opened up a great and rewarding second career. You will face some different challenges than your younger classmates but they will have unique challenges also. As a chaplain you already know the comfort of faith, good luck and I hope the best for you.
  6. by   kristier
    I will be 57 when I graduate with my RN-BSN this May. I'm applying to graduate schools, and plan to be a FNP and work in Public Health by the time I am 61. I have a 3.9 GPA overall, and I already have 2 job offers to choose from (hopefully with more to come)after I graduate this spring that I can work at while getting Masters degree. I can't imagine having missed this opportunity to become what I was always meant to be.
    God bless, good luck! Don't let anyone tell you "no". You're going to succeed beyond your dreams.
  7. by   Tommy5677
    I think it's great but here's what I would suggest as I do for everyone. First of all, you have to know that nursing school is no cake walk. It's grueling. I'm serious. Grueling. Here's what I would do. Get your associate degree at the local community college, take your boards and pass them, and then do the BSN online. You will save a ton of money and if somewhere along the way you find that nursing isn't for you, you haven't invested your life savings or plunged yourself into debt. I would also suggest surrounding yourself with a really good base of support: People to watch your kids when you need it, etc. Believe me, you are going to need that. Best of luck.
  8. by   Lovemed
    I'm so glad you offered that suggestion because I am worried about it. Thank you! Please stay in touch with me - I'm going to need the support. God bless!!
  9. by   subee
    If you're at Phelps in Westchester, you must know how competitive the marks is in the NYC area. If you have the financial means to go through the ABSN at the program in Westchester, just do it and get to work ASAP. ADN a waste of your time.. You already have a BA and don't need to add extra time to schooling. You will need your family and friends to help out with baby sitting because you're not going to be available during ABSN much for your kids. Someone has to be at home because you're going to be in the library or at clinical.
  10. by   Lovemed
    Thank you for your suggestions. I don't have any family support. I would need to be working at the hospital in order to get an RN paid for or any other degree. I don't think I would be able to pursue the ABSN now
  11. by   RockSolid
    I agree with Tommy5677. I went through a very very tough BSN program when I was quite a bit older than you. It was grueling, although I did extremely well. I'm glad I did it because it got me into a job quickly, and d/t my age the idea of spending more years doing an on-line RN to BSN was not realistic. But - to anyone who has time - and believe me, you are young! I also recommend getting an ADN and then going the RN to BSN route.

    Many ADN programs require a CNA, but if your chosen school does not, they may give you credit for other schooling and for your chaplain work. Otherwise, be aware that the CNA will add time to this process. Beyond that, you'll probably have to take pre-requisite courses for either Associates or Bachelors program. Things like Anatomy and Physiology, in some cases things like Microbiology, Organic Chem. For my BSN all of my prereqs took 3 FULL semesters, at 4-6 classes each. A ton of work. For most associate programs, there are fewer prereqs, so you'll start the program faster, too. Once you have an ADN and get your RN, you can work as a nurse and start an on-line RN to BSN. Some hospitals pay ADN's less than BSN's and a few in large cities don't want to hire ADN's, but believe me you will be able to find a job. My hospital, a rural regional, doesn't pay any more for a BSN and hires ADN's all day long.

    So, my recommendation is also to take the associates degree path. You will save time and money. In terms of the CNA, it is very valuable experience, but it's also ok to skip it if you can. Regarding being hired at a hospital after working as a CNA - maybe, maybe not. One very large hospital system I know of uses a third party testing service for employment choices, and they brag that they don't care if you worked for them in another capacity! In other cases, working there as a CNA might help, but ask yourself, do they already know you as a chaplain? If so, might that help just as much?

    Bottom line - if you want to be a nurse, go for it. You are not too old by a long shot. Check out the options, talk to admissions counselors, gather info. Be mindful of your full plate and what your support system will bear. Don't sabotage yourself by making things more difficult than they need to be. If you can manage a BSN, that's great. But the ADN is just as viable and it will get you working as a nurse, in most cases, faster.

    An ABSN is great, but only if you can check out of your life for the year it will take you to get it. Literally, you won't see your kids, or anyone else except your cohort, teachers, and patients. If you can manage that then it's an option. But, from what you said about your situation, I wouldn't recommend it at all.
    Last edit by RockSolid on Sep 4, '16

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