Am I too old to start a nursing career?

  1. Hello everyone! I just found this forum this afternoon and wow! there is some wonderful information here that I am looking forward to reading. I will be 45 years old this fall. Am I too old to start a nursing career? (Or maybe just crazy?) I got off the "fast track" in IT about 7 years ago when I remarried and had another child and decided to stay home for a while, and I wasn't able to get back on again. I have a BS degree and I would love to work with Alzheimer's patients or in hospice. Sorry if this subject has been discussed before. Thanks for your advice.

    Suzanne
    Toledo, Ohio
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    About toledogal

    Joined: Jul '07; Posts: 1

    25 Comments

  3. by   Tweety
    There are many many nursing students your age and older.

    The main thing to consider is your overall health. How is your back, your knees, physical stamina? Do you have issues with chronic pain? Can you handle high stress?

    Good luck to you!
  4. by   traumaRUs
    I agree with Tweety. Consider your physical and emotional health first and then decide. Nowadays folks work until they are 70, so you will have plenty of years in the workforce. Good luck.
  5. by   mommyRN07
    Nursing school is difficult at any age.
    That said, age aint nothing but a number. I know 45 year olds who are in better shape than 20 year olds. I know 45 year olds who are on their death bed.
    If you are dedicated, willing to WORK, ok with being dropped down a few levels (nursing instructors do that to everyone), and have the time to devote to studies, go for it. I had people in their 40s in my class, had someone in her 50s even.
  6. by   kro9834
    I agree with other postings, and as a new grad at age 48, I can tell you that it is completely possible for you to become a nurse. I started my journey 4 yrs ago, graduated ADN in May, started new job June 19, took NCLEX on July 6 and passed. Just an hour ago I sent in my licensing fee to the state of Illinois to receive my 'official' license in a few weeks. I say 'GO FOR IT!!!! Good luck....keep in touch with allnurses.com because it will be a lifesaver for you.
  7. by   donsterRN
    I'm ditto-ing all of the above!

    I'm 49 and starting the nursing courses this fall. I'll be 51 at graduation, and the poster who said that age is just a number is certainly correct. We're gonna get older anyway, so we might as well be studying for something that will make us happy. I say DO IT!!!
  8. by   StephOScope
    I graduated in a class which had as many students over 40 as students of traditional college age. Go for it. You are definitely not too old, nursing is a popular second career choice so you will not be the odd (wo)man out.
  9. by   llg
    I agree with the majority of what the other posters have said. It's not too old to start IF (and it's a big "if") you are in excellent physical health and have realistic expectations. You'll have to deal with some potential problems that are "solvable" but sometimes difficult. I have known people in their 40's and 50's begin nursing careers and be successful and happy with their choice -- but I have also seen some who were not really prepared to deal with some of the issues and who where therefore, disappointed with their choice.

    Here are just a few things to think about:

    1. In most areas of the country, new grads start their careers working in an inpatient setting (hopistal, nursing home, etc.) -- a facility that needs workers 24/7. That means that you have to be prepared to work your share of the night shifts, weekends, holidays, etc. While most people say they know that going in ... some people find that they are really not wanting to work those hours when the time comes. They also find that their middle-aged bodies don't tolerate those hours as well as they younger bodies. And don't forget, entry-level staff nurse jobs often involve being on your feet for 12 straight hours, lifing, moving equipment, etc.

    Suggestion: Do your homework and find out about job opportunities for new grads in your area. You might even try to do a trial run of some 12-hour rotating shifts and see how your body tolerates it before investing in the education.

    2. Some mature students find it extremely frustrating to go to school with students much younger than they are. They find their fellow students immature and difficult to get along with. The same goes for many of the instructors. Some will be younger and less mature than you -- less mature in their ability to make judgments about running their classes, make decisions about handling the student issues and politics of teaching, etc. That can add to the stress of a mature student who may have trouble learning from a teacher he/she does not respect as a teacher -- even though that instructor may be a competent nurse.

    3. As an older new grad, your preceptors, your boss, etc. may well be younger and less personally mature than you are. Again, while they will be more skilled in their nursing care, they may be less skilled at handling some of the interpersonal dynamics -- and having to be in a subordinate position to these less mature nurses may add to your stress.

    If you can handle these issues, then don't let your age get in the way. However, don't be a "Pollyanna" and let unrealistic expectations lead you down a path you are going to regret. Assess your physical abilities and your willingness to deal with these very real and difficult potiential problems before deciding. Don't gloss over the negatives just because you find the positives appealing. If you enter the field with realistic expectations, you'll have the greatest chance of success.
  10. by   MiaKeaRN
    I'm 42 and also wondered if I was too old to begin a nursing career, but when I showed up at our registration/uniform fittings, I was surprised and relieved to see that I was not alone. I chatted with a gentleman in my class who will be 60 years old when he graduates!

    Best of luck to you.
    Mia
  11. by   deleern
    it is not always about the destination it is the journey, I strated when I was 45. I graduated the ADN Program this spring and passed my boards on June 12 I am 48 and I would have been 48 if I would have done nothing.

    I plan on going on for my masters as well... I will be in my 50's when i graduate.
  12. by   AtomicWoman
    Whew! I was joining just to ask this very question! I will be 51 or 52 when I finish nursing school. When I tell people what I'm going to do, they look at me like I'm nuts. Maybe I am, but I have to do this. Otherwise, I'll always be thinking "what if". And I'll still be 51 or 52 years old in a few years.
  13. by   bugdane
    Quote from toledogal
    Hello everyone! I just found this forum this afternoon and wow! there is some wonderful information here that I am looking forward to reading. I will be 45 years old this fall. Am I too old to start a nursing career? (Or maybe just crazy?) I got off the "fast track" in IT about 7 years ago when I remarried and had another child and decided to stay home for a while, and I wasn't able to get back on again. I have a BS degree and I would love to work with Alzheimer's patients or in hospice. Sorry if this subject has been discussed before. Thanks for your advice.

    Suzanne
    Toledo, Ohio
    Dear Suzanne,
    I started nursing school at age 44 with my sister who was 50. We both are now RN's and both have careers that we love. Don't let anyone discourage you from your dream---good luck!
  14. by   lamazeteacher
    Only begin in the United States, if your training and the amount of time you want to spend in the Nursing profession will occur before you are 55 years old. There is general age discrimination practised regarding "seniors" in large organizations, due to extra premiums $900/month+) insurance carriers charge employers!
    I had a wonderful 40+ year career until I reached that age, advancing to management and heading education and infection control departments - until I reached 55. Since I don't look that age, I was hired, only to be fired when the company put my name in for healthcare benefits. This has been humiliating and traumatic.

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