At what point are you too old?

  1. Is there a magic age number when it becomes apparent that you are too old for the OR? I will be a guy at 37 years of age starting hopefully in the OR, what is my expected longevity?
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  2. 19 Comments

  3. by   tessa_RN
    I really dont know..I think it depends on your health..Im currently working with people that are in their late 50's and they are doing great...They are in good shape and in good health..I wish I had something more concreate to tell you but I think it depends on the person..
  4. by   classicdame
    Your question made me laugh because I did not start nursing till in my 40's. I know plenty of nurses and MD's who are close to retirement age. If you can stand and do the work you are young enough.
  5. by   chartleypj
    The average age of a perioperative nurse is slightly higher than the national average of the general nursing population at 47 years.
    Having said that, I have worked with OR nurses in their mid-sixties who could work circles around others half their age.
    I think your expected longevity in the perioperative setting is a purely personnal choice.
    I hope this helps,
    Pj
  6. by   CIRQL8
    We've had nurses in our OR retire at or after age 60, then still come in and work PRN. You aren't too old unless you think you're too old.
  7. by   ewattsjt
    We have full time nurses and techs that are in their early 60's. They are going to retire every year when we get a new insurance package. LOL It hasn't happened yet. They love the OR and the work doesn't bother them.
  8. by   sheluke
    This is great post-something I've also wondered but didn't know where to ask! As a forty-something experienced nurse looking into OR nursing as a new challenge for the second half of my career, I'd feared I'd be already looked at as 'too old' for the physical rigors of the OR! good to know the average is right in my neighborhood.
  9. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    We have a nurse still working part-time in her late 60's. She's living proof that age is just a number.
  10. by   mcmike55
    That's a really good question!
    Funny thing is, as I get older, I keep pushing the number ahead of me!
    That said, I have, and sure many of us have seen, some nurses that should have retired long before they did. Physical and mental abilities do dimish as you get older, I guess it's just a question of the individual.
    I also hate the idea of someone retiring with X number of years of experience, and no way to pass some of that along to others!!! I'm sure most of you agree that "book learning" is only a part of this job. A lot is experience!! And many times this resource is lost, or, as I have done over the years, blown off. Do I ever wish I could go back and talk to some of my older charge nurses and supervisors, and get that information that I blew off when I was starting out!!
    At our hospital, call is optional at age 60, and I still have about 8 years before I get there. I can tell you for a fact that recovering from pulling an all nighter is getting harder and harder to recover from!!!!!

    Mike
  11. by   HeatherB,CST
    Like the original poster, I am also 37 and I'm about to start Surgical Tech classes. I will be almost 40 when I graduate. In my "previous life", I was a hairstylist. I never thought I would be standing behind a chair all day at 37, but I did, and loved every minute of it. I don't think it's the age, just how strong your body and sharp your mind is. I've been standing all day for the last 15 years, so I'm sure the OR won't be too much of a stretch physically. As far as the learning goes, I am so excited to be in a classroom again, I can't stand it.

    I've met many people in the scrub role who started this career in their late 30s and early 40s, and they wouldn't trade it for the world. I wouldn't worry about the age thing, and just do what you can as long as you can do it. Enjoy the fact that you are not too old to pursue your goals, and cherish the time you do have in your chosen field.
  12. by   SuesquatchRN
    When you're no longer breathing.

    I started nursing school at 52. Became an LPN at 53. SHould be an RN by 54.

    One classmate became an RN at 63.

    Go for it!
  13. by   brewerpaul
    I certainly hope age is not a barrier. I'm graduating as an RN in about 3 weeks and start in the OR in June-- just shy of my 57th birthday!
  14. by   shodobe
    30 years in the OR and still going strong. I still work full-time one place and part-time at 2 other places. I don't plan on throwing in the towel for quite some time. I do come away with a sore back if I have scrubbed a case for more than 3 or 4 hours. If you are healthy then you should have no problems.

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