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Age Discrimination in Nursing

Nurse Beth Article   (88,842 Views 114 Replies 989 Words)
by Nurse Beth Nurse Beth, MSN (Advice Column) Writer Innovator Expert

Nurse Beth has 30 years experience as a MSN and works as a Nursing Professional Development Specialist.

14 Followers; 88 Articles; 226,921 Visitors; 1,777 Posts

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Have you experienced age discrimination? This writer says it exists, and it's real. Maybe you are having a hard time getting hired, or worse yet, you've lost your job for flimsy reasons. Here are some tips to help. You are reading page 2 of Age Discrimination in Nursing. If you want to start from the beginning Go to First Page.

1,471 Visitors; 13 Posts

Just have to say about some of the "tips" for older nurses like "stay fit and healthy" Really? Some age related illnesses are beyond our control. Arthritis? One of the worst things for a nurse to have. Back issues from all the years of lifting and bending even if you use proper body mechanics? It is a fact of life that as we age we don't have the energy a younger person, who is not lazy, has. We don't bounce back from 12 hr shifts and night shifts. Give us a break. How about allowing older nurses to have less taxing postions if possible instead of saying things like "sit up straight", don't complain, don't even mention your reading glasses (not good to try to start and IV without them) You would think as nurses we would understand the aging process. And believe me I know about ageism. My last job was phased out and do you think a hospital is going to hire a 63 yr old as opposed to a younger nurse? Uh, no...

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Rose_Queen is a BSN, MSN, RN and works as a Staff nurse educator.

4 Followers; 4 Articles; 102,740 Visitors; 8,625 Posts

I guess my department is the exception. We have a lot of staff with a lot of seniority (and yes, those with a lot of seniority are older)- there are quite a few nurses and surgical techs who have been working in my department since before I was born. Even those of us who have been working there for over 10 years haven't been able to move up on the seniority list high enough to be exempt from working evening shift. The older staff are the ones most frequently asked to fill in as interim management, although most do not want the position permanently as they prefer being clinical instead. It seems those who leave are the younger ones, and the older ones will be there until they retire with no worries of being pushed out the door.

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NurseGirl525 is a ASN, RN and works as a Registered Nurse.

32,074 Visitors; 3,663 Posts

I will be turning 40 in a few months. When I start looking for a job next year, I feel that being a little older gives me many advantages that I intend to bring forth in an interview. I'm a lot more stable and don't have that drama that comes with those 20 years younger than me. But, I also will not reveal my age and to be honest, I don't think you can tell with me. I am fortunate to have inherited some great genes in the wrinkle dept. My grandma in her 70s did not have a single wrinkle on her face. I also take care of my skin and wear sunscreen every day. When I get carded, I'm often told well, I never would have guessed that!!

I also agree with wearing the correct clothing, make-up, and hair style. I have always said, never skimp on your hair and face. They are two of the most important assets that you have so take care of them. I don't dress super young, but I keep up on what's fashionable and dress for my body-type, something I find that the younger generation cannot seem to do. And never wear your make-up too heavy or a kind that cakes. Those get stuck in wrinkles and make you look older. I don't buy super expensive make-up, but I try it out and buy what works for me and my face. No dark lipstick either. That can make you look older also.

You can use your age to your advantage, just use it appropriately. Know how to use technology, be up on the latest techniques. I just had a conversation the other day with some nursing instructors about not having to aspirate when doing IM injections. They were talking about it and I had said how I read an article on that earlier in the year. There is nothing wrong with spending 20-30 minutes here and there knowing the latest techniques and newest technology. Whether or not you agree with it, you at least know what is going on in the world of nursing.

I do struggle with my weight, but I do work out and keep myself healthy. I take care of myself. And since I dress for my body type, you can't tell my weight too much. One of my new favorite activities is Brazilian Jujitsu. It doesn't kill me and it teaches me great self defense. I've come to realize that sport is all about physics with your body. It's not necessarily about being the strongest, it's about how to use your body and leverage to your advantage. I can run circles around other people.

Also, keep up on your interview skills and have updated resumes. Writing a resume that is the same way you have always written it will also date you. Resume writing has come a long way even in the last 10 years. Research what employers are looking for and have good interview skills. Nurse Beth is absolutely correct to have a firm handshake, look the interviewer in the eyes, and smile. Exude confidence. You have a short period of time to convince this company to hire you. Use it to your advantage and make the right lasting impression. Not the wrong impression which I find many people do. So, you need to rehearse it in your mind. Have an idea of what you are going to say. There is a pretty standard list of questions they may ask, so plan it out in your mind.

You only have one chance to make a great impression. Once it's gone, it's gone.

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Jensmom7 has 36 years experience and works as a Hospice Nurse.

11,183 Visitors; 1,907 Posts

When I interviewed for the Hospice company I now work for, I actually think my age worked for me (I'm 58).

I brought 36 years of Nursing experience with me, including the critical thinking skills that are still important, even in Hospice.

I know what I want to be doing until I retire.

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suseliz has 40 years experience.

1,088 Visitors; 44 Posts

We have to be realistic about aging. I am a very young looking 62, but left my job a year ago. I could not keep up with the corporate demands of my family practice NP practice. I think I was doing very well, but had no life outside of work due to exhaustion. Age discrimination, I'm sure. I was turned down for a job 5 years ago, I'm sure it was my age.

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macfar28 has 20 years experience.

7,308 Visitors; 138 Posts

There does seem to be a pattern here at my present hospital of older nurses being picked apart and needled over small, insignificant things. It has left me wondering if this is because they can bring in 2 new grads for the cost of one of our experienced nurses. I hate to think that way but I can't help it.

We are going to mandatory 12 hour shifts in a month and many of our older nurses are taking early retirement. (They don't feel they have the stamina and have always worked 8s.) I'm talking nurses who are the backbone of this organization. In fact one, whom I admire greatly, precepted me in my clinical rotation on this very unit 20 years ago. We are all very sad.

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352 Visitors; 4 Posts

I believe there is ageism. As an LVN who is 55. I have applied to get my RN doing the bridge program. I have to take 4 science classes. I have been working as an LVN for 10 years. Mostly clinical work. I now work in Occupational health.

My employer is willing to pay for my return to school. I fear age discrimination in accepting me into nursing school. I don't know how I will do but I know it will be challenging. I don't plan to do hospital work and I plan to stay at my current employer if they bump up my pay. I enjoy Occ health work as it is 75% administrative.

I don't know if I will be accepted to the school. Can anyone give me any feedback on age discrimination in being accepted into a nursing program?

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2 Followers; 46,344 Visitors; 8,863 Posts

I believe there is ageism. As an LVN who is 55. I have applied to get my RN doing the bridge program. I have to take 4 science classes. I have been working as an LVN for 10 years. Mostly clinical work. I now work in Occupational health.

My employer is willing to pay for my return to school. I fear age discrimination in accepting me into nursing school. I don't know how I will do but I know it will be challenging. I don't plan to do hospital work and I plan to stay at my current employer if they bump up my pay. I enjoy Occ health work as it is 75% administrative.

I don't know if I will be accepted to the school. Can anyone give me any feedback on age discrimination in being accepted into a nursing program?

To me there is a difference in expanding your career later as opposed to starting a brand new physically and mentally demanding career. It makes sense to me that having your RN would afford you more, less physically demanding, opportunities for the next 7 or so years that you have left in the workforce.

Since most are based on grades, testing and other objective items I doubt the schools would attempt this or ever care if they admit older nurses. I've seen some student nurses I can only assume are well into their 50s. Good luck.

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2 Followers; 46,344 Visitors; 8,863 Posts

We have to be realistic about aging. I am a very young looking 62, but left my job a year ago. I could not keep up with the corporate demands of my family practice NP practice. I think I was doing very well, but had no life outside of work due to exhaustion. Age discrimination, I'm sure. I was turned down for a job 5 years ago, I'm sure it was my age.

I think this is such an important and realistic approach. No matter how politically correct and inclusive we wish things to be slowing down is a fact of life. Nursing has a shelf-life as do many other careers such as super models, sports, construction workers etc. Its important to be cognizant and accepting of our abilities at all life stages.

I have no doubt there is discrimination or in some instances at the very least favoritism that applies to all ages, races, sexes, tattoos, piercings, hair color etc. In some ways it is a part of life especially when candidates are equal in most areas. The Powers That Be absolutely will hire the person they "like" better. Although frustrating what I try to remember is that place would not be a good fit for me anyway and move along to the next opportunity.

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352 Visitors; 4 Posts

If my employer will foot the bill for the private school that I have applied to and flex my current working hours than I will go for it. A lot of this is for a salary increase as my current employer has told me I would get a meaningful salary increase because as an RN I would be more "marketable".

I haven't been in school for a while and do have concerns about working while doing clinical rotations. The other thing I look at is being able to work part time after retirement.

If it doesn't cost me anything and can increase my salary, what do I have to lose.

Any more pointers about keeping up with school studies or clinical rotations. I remember how hard the LVN classes were.

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mmc51264 has 7 years experience as a MSN, RN and works as a RN.

38,173 Visitors; 2,601 Posts

I think that there is a difference between age discrimination and seniority discrimination. I am an older new nurse (50ish-been a nurse for about 4 years) and I feel that my experience was an asset. What I am seeing now is that nurses that are my age that have been nurses for 25-30 years are being pushed out because they have maxed out their salaries. They are expensive. I agree there is discrimination against the younger nurses, too. I am in that weird category where I look like the more veteran nurse but am not.

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VivaLasViejas has 20 years experience as a ASN, RN and works as a Retired/Disabled Nurse and Blogger.

8 Followers; 142 Articles; 247,612 Visitors; 9,591 Posts

At the last hospital I worked in, there was definitely an effort to push us older nurses out. We got the worst assignments and were the first to be called into the managers' office and disciplined for minor mistakes. Eventually most of us did quit...it just wasn't worth it to fight.

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