Going to Nursing School at an Older Age - page 2

by AmaurosisFugax 58,441 Views | 264 Comments

I have been planning to go to nursing school (direct entry MSN) & have been progressing in that direction. The other day I was having a conversation with a coworker (a non-practicing nurse!) and she said, now at your age (I am in... Read More


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    Many of the "younger" candidates aren't going to stay in nursing for 40 years. Even if they stay in nursing, they will probably move on from bedside nursing. I was 42 when I got my LPN and 47 when I got my RN. I probably have at least 20 years to work.

    Most of my classmates were 30's, 40's - some 50's. Schools don't care as long as you have the $$$ and the grades. I had no issue with getting a job either.

    Right now there is not a nursing shortage, but we do need good people to be nurses.
    asp603, deleern, NorthernCaliRN, and 1 other like this.
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    Quote from A4L4S
    If it is a school that goes strictly by your GPA etc then age wouldn't even be considered. Most of the people in my class are in their 40s and 50s.....and they are doing just fine. One is pushing 70. I don't see why they would care how long you plan on being a nurse after you go to school. What about the young ones who get into and realize they hate nursing? Or quit after 1-2 years to stay home with children. No one knows what will happen with each person. I work with a 78yo nurse who has no plans on retiring any time soon....so there is your 30+ years on the job for ya!

    If nursing schools is what you want to do then go for it! Don't let people like that hold you down.
    There is a difference between a 40 year old and a 70 year old, though. Forty is still relatively young, whereas seventy isn't. At forty, you still have a good twenty-five years left of working. Seventy, you are pretty much at that age to retire. If I were an employer, I would be VERY hesitant to hire a seventy-something. The forty year old? Not so much.
    Naomi Roberts likes this.
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    Quote from ThePrincessBride
    There is a difference between a 40 year old and a 70 year old, though. Forty is still relatively young, whereas seventy isn't. At forty, you still have a good twenty-five years left of working. Seventy, you are pretty much at that age to retire. If I were an employer, I would be VERY hesitant to hire a seventy-something. The forty year old? Not so much.

    Oh, I know that! I highly doubt she will find a job. As horrible as it sounds I sure wouldn't hire her myself. At least she will become a licensed RN and no one can take that from her. But, the OP was asking about whether it was wrong to take a seat in the school from a younger person, which I say everyone has the right to an education.
    studentrn4me likes this.
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    To the OP,

    your friend's comments are bull excrement, IMHO. You can be a great nurse at any age, 18 to whatever!! Nursing programs cannot discriminate based on your age, so you need not worry . . . I started nursing at age 54! I say "Go for it"!! Nursing is a great profession!!
    ahnniem, SRMorales, Moogie, and 2 others like this.
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    It's great to have more nurses no matter the age as long as you got the passion for it. I started my nursing career at 28 after raising my 3 children and it was a great challenge and it's only been 2 years and it's been very fulfilling and wonderful experience and yes I started a little bit later in the race but I'm way ahead of a lot other girls that started nursing right out of high school and also I only got an ADN and have way more field training than the girls that been studying for 4 years. So your nursing career is what you make of it not what is expected of you.
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    Quote from AmaurosisFugax
    Is it really socially more desirable to prefer younger candidates? And does this factor into admissions decisions?
    Maybe I have a jaded view of the administration of nursing schools, but I would think that the primary factor as to who is admitted to a nursing program is how successful they are likely to be on the NCLEX (based on prior gpa). The program's accreditation, and to a large extent reputation, are directly tied to its NCLEX pass rates. They have a far greater interest in selecting candidates who they think will pass the NCLEX on the first try rather than in selecting candidates based on potential length of career. I doubt that anyone tracks how long a nursing school's graduates stay in nursing, but in most states if a school falls below 80% NCLEX pass rate they lose accreditation.

    As an aside: As I was thinking about your post I dug around looking for studies that look at correlations between NCLEX first time pass rate and demographic/educational factors. Most seem conclude that most demographic factors like gender have no effect on NCLEX first time pass rate and age may have a marginal effect (students over 23 may do slightly better). By far the strongest indicator of future NCLEX pass rate is (no big surprise here) nursing school gpa.

    So I'd ask your friend if she would rather have nursing schools turn out nurses that are less knowledgeable (as measured by the NCLEX) but who will practice for longer or nurses who practice for a shorter amount of time with more knowledge.
    Naomi Roberts and fungez like this.
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    My mom was 57 yr old when she got her RN and it took her long time to pass the test since English was her second language. Now she works for the state hospital and is not looking forward to retiring until her body gives up. so, don't give up!! If being a nurse is your dream, then go for it. Have no regrets!^^
    GreenTeaMochi, ahnniem, and aliveword like this.
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    I saw go for it. You will bring the maturity and life experience. That is great. The one "discriminatory" thing you won't experience is your patients questioning your knowledge--"are you sure you're not a kid?" "Are you sure you're old enough to be a nurse?" I fought that for years, and only now...reverse age discrimination? LOL.

    Anyway, you should go for it!
    aliveword likes this.
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    It's awesome to read all the responses from people like the OP and myself, especially those who have finished school in their 40s and are out there working.

    I just turned 40 and am in my first year of a 2-year direct entry masters program. Our class ranges from a few 23-year-olds all the way up to about 54. I had a young ICU nurse (probably in her late 20s) tell me the other day that she loves to work with the more "mature" students because we bring a lot of experience and diligence to the job. She said she found our demographic to be very competent, with life experience that changed how we interact with the patients. I remarked that we are in this program because we want to be, on our own dime and on our own time, often away from family and our lives on hold. I'm more invested now than I ever was as an undergrad.

    Now, I have a huge amount of respect for the "kids" in the program, most of whom have a great bedside manner and a lot more energy than the old-timers like me. I just know that if I had done this in my 20s, I would have been a totally insufferable, arrogant, doc-hating nurse. I've learned a bit in the past few decades, and assuming I do manage to find a job, I hope that I'll be a better nurse for having waited.

    As for being a student at this age, it's tough. I'm a good student, always liked school, etc., but I'm tired pretty much all the time. Date nights with my husband? Once a month if we're lucky, and then probably just dinner so I can get home and study. I've been blessed to be home for a lot of my kids' stuff, but the reality is, I am missing a lot more at home now than I would have if I had gone to school when I was younger.

    Still, I believe God has a plan, and the timing is part of it. And let's be realistic: it's not like we're going to get any younger! Go for it, but be realistic about what you can do on the side (almost nothing, but you'll find your outlets to stay sane). Good luck!!!
    chorkle, ahnniem, Moogie, and 2 others like this.
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    I'm 53 and am in a LPN/BSN bridge program. One of my classmates in 58. We'll be 55 and 60 when we graduate and will probably work another 10 years. As far as taking seats from younger students...oh well.


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