58 years old - Am I too old to start nursing school??

  1. Dear Nurse Beth,

    I have no way of knowing if some nursing schools are more difficult than others, but I am undecided as to whether I should proceed. Let me explain.

    I have had good grades and also good HESI scores even in level 4, but the level 4 exams are difficult though I studied most of my waking hours. Some said I studied too much.

    The 1st time I tried to do the semester, I was physically ill. When I was put into the summer fast track course, my immune system went down due to me not being able to sleep. Now I am 58 soon to be 59 which may have some bearing on your decisions. While I want to help people, do you think that I am just too old?





    Dear Am I too Old?,

    Could this be more about the toil the stress is taking on you than your age?

    You are physically ill, not sleeping well, and you say your immune system took a hit. Is this really worth it? It sounds like your body is telling you something.

    I would take a step back and re-evaluate. Your health has to be your first priority.


    Best wishes,
    Nurse Beth

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  2. 102 Comments

  3. by   ConnielCanada
    I agree with Beth your health should be priority number one. As caregivers we a lot of times forget that important part of the story. I am 55 and a nursing student so I do not believe age is a factor. I know women in their 60's just now entering nursing school.

    It does not matter, young or old, nursing can take a toll on you emotionally and physically. Take care of number one and then take it on.
  4. by   xjamxtc
    as a recruiter in the early 2000 - 2002 years many nurses were leaving the field due to the stress - the hours- the under staffing etc. Nurses in their 30-40's were burned out... Then the economy tanked- those who had their jobs were thankful as their husbands were laid off and the others who quit went back to work.. Meanwhile the schools issued the war cry was going that there is a shortage of nurses.. it was a perfect storm.. Now all the experienced Nurses maintained their jobs-a $50 an hour nurse was worth more than 5 grads at $10 an hour- graduates flooded the market.. and now cant find work. 59+ years old - its going to be tough- as two years before you are proficient- plenty of younger graduates-
    the economics of it:- it costs a hospital about 100k to train a new grad.
    verify this- by asking the dean of nursing at colleges- or at the hospitals- the want ads you cant go by- they will always have jobs listed- they will always take apps and hire the best...
    your health- plus the stress a- and ROI- Return on your investment-- is it worth it...? need a job? trucking- costs nothing and you make something..
  5. by   CatHair
    Quote from ConnielCanada
    ...I am 55 and a nursing student so I do not believe age is a factor. I know women in their 60's just now entering nursing school.
    As someone who is 57 and completed RN Licensure last year I can tell you that age is INDEED a factor in the workforce.
    When people meet me and hear I am an RN, they think I have 20+ years of experience.
    When they find out I am a new grad with no work experience they start questioning why I became an RN at my age. That is what comes up in the few interviews I have been able to get.

    As already mentioned, do you think a hospital is going to invest $50-$100K in training for you?
    They would not for me.
    There always seems to be a "hiring freeze" in effect but they will hire "from within", in other words if you are already working there in another capacity. (as PCT/CNA etc).

    I couldn't even get a LTC facility to interview me.
    Perhaps they are waiting for me to qualify as a Resident so I can pay THEM for being there?
  6. by   Nurse Beth
    Ageism is a definite factor in nursing
  7. by   ConnielCanada
    WOW is all I can say in regards to the continuation of perpetuating a serious issue. As a practicing midwife I see the same treatment of women having babies after the age of 26 by physicians. You are just too old to have a baby, and yet women are having babies "successfully" after the age of 30 every day.

    The only way to change a wrong doing is by stopping the ridiculous rhetoric. I will have a job when I graduate, and I will be successful. I have a lot of life experience, wisdom, greater patience, and no children to keep me out of work, these are all very good marketable qualities. I would turn your statements around and say "Look at all I have to offer, over a 20 something that has no real work experience, doesn't already know how to play in the sand box with her co workers.

    Ageism has got to stop, and all those who think they are doing someone a favor by "telling them the truth of the matter" is just feeding the myth. I have more stamina, business sense, and stability than most new graduates. I will be successful, as I already am successful, and I have a LOT of years left for anyone to invest their time in.
  8. by   Jensmom7
    I will be 59 in a few months. I'm also an RN. However, I've been an RN since 1979, so including college, I've been subjecting my mind and body to the rigors of school and patient care for 41 years.

    I honestly don't know if I could make it just entering the system at the same age you are now. I've been out of the hospital for 10 years (I now do Hospice), and I know in my heart that I could never do floor nursing again.

    True, there is a high degree of ageism in the profession (although I think my age has been a plus in Hospice). However, if your body simply won't let you finish a Nursing program, it probably isn't worth it in the long run.

    By the same token, don't let anyone shame you into pushing yourself beyond your limits simply because they are able to do it themselves. You have to think of yourself first.
  9. by   JayHanig
    I would not do it. I'm 60 and retired five years ago. Nursing school is much tougher than I think it needs to be but it took a toll on my immune system when I was in my mid 30s. It will probably kill you. And for what?
  10. by   xjamxtc
    Ageism has got to stop, and all those who think they are doing someone a favor by "telling them the truth of the matter" is just feeding the myth. I have more stamina, business sense, and stability than most new graduates. I will be successful, as I already am successful, and I have a LOT of years left for anyone to invest their time
    and the employer will divide the years you may have left working by the cost of employment...
    60 year experienced nurse is one thing-
    the point here is a 60 year old student...
    financially- 67 is retirement- 100k - that nurse will have to make over 14,285.00 in profit jut to pay for the training- that's not counting the added insurance because of high risk that a student brings
    the ongoing education year after year...
    etc etc etc. this is a business-- and it doesn't matter if you are Florence Nightingale resurrected with super human powers- if you cant generate a profit - it will not happen- that is the facts- ideology is for politicians

    if you want to train and pass the NClex- or become a lawyer for it is on your bucket list- have at it..

    but if you are looking at you endeavor as an investment.(job).. cost of schooling, student loans
    cost of getting to school etc- and the speculation that you may make 40k- after whatever time it takes to find work- many are waiting well over a year who are in their 30's that have experience etc
    some are military with lots of experience...
    However, there are costs that must be paid in order to have a job:taxes - uniforms- transportation - food etc.. for you to possibly bring home 20k

    This isnt about shaming- or saying you are too old etc- it is strickly looking at the numbers-- on your side and the business side- if you want to do it just to do it fine...
    but know the financials--- if you got a few thousand dollars lean realestate- buy a few quads- cash flow will be that of a nurses salary in no time.. and you have a team helping you..
  11. by   ConnielCanada
    "[FONT=Open Sans, verdana, sans-serif][COLOR=#000000]By the same token, don't let anyone shame you into pushing yourself beyond your limits simply because they are able to do it themselves. You have to think of yourself first."[/COLOR][/FONT]

    [FONT=Open Sans, verdana, sans-serif][COLOR=#000000]I stated in my first reply that taking care of yourself is number one. No one should do something they are not capable of, or push themselves into something they truly do not want to do. I believe this to be true, regardless of age. I would never try to shame someone into doing anything. [/COLOR][/FONT]

    [FONT=Open Sans, verdana, sans-serif][COLOR=#000000]We are all individuals with different dreams, desires and abilities, and that was my point. I understand hard work, long hours and emotional drain, as I am a homebirth midwife. I know for myself that I can and will continue to work, and I do not believe that if someone is willing and able, others should judge based on age, race, religion, gender, or any economic standing.[/COLOR][/FONT]

    [FONT=Open Sans, verdana, sans-serif][COLOR=#000000]I am really sorry that I posted at this point; however, it really struck a nerve when I read responses stating you will not be able to get a job. We do not make changes to something that is wrong and illegal, by continuing the rhetoric. Clearly, I was on the defense and now I want to apologize if I make others feel like they need to defend their fellow colleagues or themselves. I will not do this again.


    [/COLOR][/FONT]
  12. by   Jensmom7
    Quote from ConnielCanada
    "[FONT=Open Sans, verdana, sans-serif][COLOR=#000000]By the same token, don't let anyone shame you into pushing yourself beyond your limits simply because they are able to do it themselves. You have to think of yourself first."[/COLOR][/FONT]

    [FONT=Open Sans, verdana, sans-serif][COLOR=#000000]I stated in my first reply that taking care of yourself is number one. No one should do something they are not capable of, or push themselves into something they truly do not want to do. I believe this to be true, regardless of age. I would never try to shame someone into doing anything. [/COLOR][/FONT]

    [FONT=Open Sans, verdana, sans-serif][COLOR=#000000]We are all individuals with different dreams, desires and abilities, and that was my point. I understand hard work, long hours and emotional drain, as I am a homebirth midwife. I know for myself that I can and will continue to work, and I do not believe that if someone is willing and able, others should judge based on age, race, religion, gender, or any economic standing.[/COLOR][/FONT]

    [FONT=Open Sans, verdana, sans-serif][COLOR=#000000]I am really sorry that I posted at this point; however, it really struck a nerve when I read responses stating you will not be able to get a job. We do not make changes to something that is wrong and illegal, by continuing the rhetoric. Clearly, I was on the defense and now I want to apologize if I make others feel like they need to defend their fellow colleagues or themselves. I will not do this again.


    [/COLOR][/FONT]
    I really wasn't speaking to anything you said, actually I got distracted part way through that post and forgot to finish reading it. (It's been a long day).

    I've just read so many posts on AN telling people that they can do whatever they put their mind to, and if they don't, they're somehow letting the profession down.

    Kudos to you for your get up and go. Over 20 years of bedside nursing have slowed me down some (thanks to all those large mammals I wrestled around in bed by myself because everyone else had disappeared, my shoulders let me know when it's going to rain lol), but Hospice nursing is fairly light physically, and I love it.

    Sometimes our bodies just don't let us do what we want to do. And you're right, taking care of ourselves is of prime importance. Someone who is breaking down before even getting to the "meat" of a Nursing program needs to reevaluate and possibly discuss things with her health care provider.

    Please don't be put off from speaking your mind. That's what a forum is for. If I had an issue with anything you had said, I would have quoted you directly. You made a lot of good points.
  13. by   CatHair
    Quote from Jensmom7
    ...if your body simply won't let you finish a Nursing program, it probably isn't worth it in the long run.
    And this goes back to the original post which was about “Am I too old to start Nursing School?”
    My answer would be “no, you are not too old to start Nursing School”, but if you expect to graduate and be treated the same as your 24 year old peers,… you might want to listen to those who have been there/done that.

    If you have current contacts that are interested in hiring you after you graduate, then go for it. At 55 I did better on my night shift clinicals than the “seasoned” professionals I worked next to who had been doing it for years and were half my age. But when a job came up for that EXACT position, it went to someone half my age with work experience in that hospital system as a PCT.
    I had no one going to bat for me. They did. They got the job. That's the way the world works.

    Quote from ConnielCanada
    ...I do not believe that if someone is willing and able, others should judge based on age, race, religion, gender, or any economic standing.
    I agree, but unfortunately your belief system does not line up with how the real world works and it cannot be pushed aside by sheer will.

    Quote from ConnielCanada
    The only way to change a wrong doing is by stopping the ridiculous rhetoric.
    So, don’t ask, don’t tell? Stop pointing it out and it will go away?
    I prefer evidence-based science.
    I worked with a student that failed the RN program TWICE. She once used a People magazine article as a sole citation for a paper. I got a lot of crap from my peers for pointing it out. She was in my work group. So much for my age and wisdom counting in my favor. She finally passed somehow and is now working in a hospital system that won’t look at my “life experience” and “wisdom”. She is ~25 years old and has many friends where she works.

    I guess I will just keep thinking positive thoughts and pay more attention to PEOPLE magazine when I am in the checkout line at the grocery store.
  14. by   Farawyn
    What Jensmom7 said.

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