Start Nursing School at 66?

  1. Dear Nurse Beth,

    I'm wanting to do a career change at 66 years old. I did 25 years as a firefighter/EMT and have many hours caring for patients and know exactly what the nursing profession is like. My wife has major concerns that I will put in all of my time, money, and effort only to be denied a job because of my age. If there really is a nursing shortage, will hospitals and agencies hire a new nurse who is 68 years old? I just read about Max Walton who is a nursing student at 73 years old. I currently live in the southern US but love small rural communities. Can I realistically get a position as a new nurse at 68 years old? Thank you all for your replies.

    Dear Can I Get a Job as a New Nurse at 68?

    Realistically it is going to be a challenge to land a new grad position at 68+ years old. In some areas, it is hard for all new grads to land a position, regardless of age. If you have not yet completed all your nursing pre-requisites and been accepted into a nursing program, you are looking at more like 3-4 years before graduation, which puts you at 69-70 years old.

    If you are considering this, research your area as the demand for new grads varies geographically. The fact that you love rural areas makes it less competitive, and you may find that critical access hospitals and underserved areas are more likely to have openings.

    Keep in mind that Age Discrimination is real. Employers will look at things such as your predicted workplace longevity, and even things such as how much you and your wife will use your health insurance.

    If you do attend nursing school, you need to strategically network with the goal of being hired while you are in school and clinicals, as explained in my book "Your Last Nursing Class- How to Land Your First Nursing Job"

    The bottom line is, there are no guarantees, and your wife may be right. Or she may be wrong. Or she may just want you to slow down and enjoy life with her.

    Best wishes in your decision.

    Nurse Beth

    Author, "Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job"...and your next!
    Last edit by tnbutterfly on Oct 5