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Age Discrimination in Nursing

Nurse Beth Article   (89,188 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 specializes in Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho.

15 Followers; 88 Articles; 227,883 Visitors; 1,817 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 7 of Age Discrimination in Nursing. If you want to start from the beginning Go to First Page.

410 Visitors; 5 Posts

I think a person should be who they are. I would like to see the discrimination law actually be put to use so people 40 and better don't have to be discriminated against. Telling a 40 plus person not to talk about their experience as a nurse back in the day, or to listen to music that a child would listen to is age shaming. A 40 plus person should be able to talk about what is important to them and listen to whatever music they prefer the same way as anyone else. You can put on whatever make up, wig, clothes you want it will not change the fact that everyone can see how old they are. Sorry, but it will take a major law suit and a land mark decision before anything changes.

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325 Visitors; 1 Post

Thank you for the article Beth. As a 52 year old who just completed her master's degree, I can understand the fears we older nurses have in the workplace regarding age discrimination. I also understand older nurses sentiments that they shouldn't have to change or adapt to fit the youth orientation of their work environment. However, age discrimination does exist and we can't just rely on our experience and accomplishments to get us through. Until age doesn't matter, it is in our best interests to do what we can to appear youthful and vibrant while also using our experience to lead and mentor the younger generation. Your tips to keep yourself fit and healthy, sit up straight etc. are spot on. We can't stop aging but we can face it with grace and dignity and by doing so we provide the example that aging nurse are valuable, productive, and necessary commodities in todays ever changing healthcare system.

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oahufish has 19 years experience and specializes in Surgical and Cardiovascular ICU.

1,781 Visitors; 31 Posts

Several weeks ago our Manager was discussing a new Call in that she'd hired to try out in our unit. She then stated "He's older but we'll see if he works out, if not we can let him go before his probation period is up" and that she does not like to hire "older nurses" because they "just don't catch on as quick" in regards to our computer charting system! It's also a well known fact that she tells every new employee to "write up UOR's" on certain "experienced" RN's in our unit because she'd like to get rid of them!

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wingding has 4 years experience.

3,617 Visitors; 76 Posts

I was 48 when I started Nursing School, 51 when I passed NCLEX & got my job on a psych unit (I always say age plays well there!) The only problem I have is the 23yr old nurse with 6 months more experience than me pissed off because everyone thinks I'm the charge nurse or the one with most authority because I am older:) I get the stink eye from her every time --- ask if I care ;)

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546 Visitors; 6 Posts

I am right in the middle of this. I am 57. I got my LVN last year and my RN this year. I haven't found a job yet. Just a "Thanks but no thanks...", "We are reevaluating this position..." or "We are looking at someone who might be a better fit...".

It is frustrating for me. I worked in avionics in the Navy, I am computer literate, a BS in Computers, and I can say that I gutted it out through two gruelling years of school and I never had to remediate or retake a board. Sounds arrogant, doesn't it. No! I am proud I did it. With all the people who started and dropped from the program, I never let it get me down.

I am already heading towards either a BSN or MSN. Still deciding.

I will add that I have been out of the workforce for over a decade. I was so burned out in the computer field, I just didn't go back.

It is hard to talk about a work history that is over a decade old. I do have great references from instructors, floor staff, friends and others... I just want to work. I don't think God would put me through all this to sit on my duff to look at a diploma on the wall!

Really would love some advice if you have it.

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oahufish has 19 years experience and specializes in Surgical and Cardiovascular ICU.

1,781 Visitors; 31 Posts

I am right in the middle of this. I am 57. I got my LVN last year and my RN this year. I haven't found a job yet. Just a "Thanks but no thanks...", "We are reevaluating this position..." or "We are looking at someone who might be a better fit...".

It is frustrating for me. I worked in avionics in the Navy, I am computer literate, a BS in Computers, and I can say that I gutted it out through two gruelling years of school and I never had to remediate or retake a board. Sounds arrogant, doesn't it. No! I am proud I did it. With all the people who started and dropped from the program, I never let it get me down.

I am already heading towards either a BSN or MSN. Still deciding.

I will add that I have been out of the workforce for over a decade. I was so burned out in the computer field, I just didn't go back.

It is hard to talk about a work history that is over a decade old. I do have great references from instructors, floor staff, friends and others... I just want to work. I don't think God would put me through all this to sit on my duff to look at a diploma on the wall!

Really would love some advice if you have it.

usnretired1997, I know this may not be ideal but have you considered taking a job as a Monitor tech, Unit Clerk, NA etc... just to get into a hospital system? In our area there are not many opportunities for new grads, so I've seen many folks get their foot in the door this way. Once you're in the system, Managers see your work ethic, willingness to learn and when they find out you have computer skills as well, you might land an RN position pretty quick. I know this has worked for many new grads in our hospital.

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Nurse Beth has 30 years experience as a MSN and specializes in Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho.

15 Followers; 88 Articles; 227,883 Visitors; 1,817 Posts

Such good advice by oahufish to take an entry level position to get your foot in the door

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wingding has 4 years experience.

3,617 Visitors; 76 Posts

usnretired1997,RN --- I am looking forward to getting BS so I can do Med Review / Utilization Review for Insurance companies. You can also look at health dept., other type of nursing --- Psych is interesting! Wound Care - Home Health. Agencies as PRN for right now??? Wow - there are tons of options, you are just looking at hospitals??? Use your class mates & your instructors..... You will find something soon - Trust me --- just keep confident & pray --- the right job for the right nurse at the right time.... Let the time be now!!!!

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1,289 Visitors; 7 Posts

That's awesome! Best wishes to you!

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1,289 Visitors; 7 Posts

Great advice for ANY career. I will be 40 in January, and I am currently pursuing a BSN. I must admit the age thing makes me a little nervous, but I have a special needs son to provide for so I will press on.

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wingding has 4 years experience.

3,617 Visitors; 76 Posts

ni_garrett - Get your BSN ---- Can't go into Administration without it & it will only broaden your possibilities!!! If you are feeling like this is what you need to do then you are being called --- no matter what age --- you will never go wrong following a calling. Good Luck!!!

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rnforforty has 41 years experience and specializes in Infection Control, Med/Surg, LTC.

1,896 Visitors; 74 Posts

Age discrimination is so true. Within the last 6 years 3 of the 4 local hospitals riffed most of their long term nurses. Of those I know who were not caught in the eliminations (done under the guise of eliminating positions and then turning around and hiring for those supposedly non-existent positions) were given such a hard time that all have retired early (age 62). I was one. I haven't worked in nursing for over a year and currently work at PETSMART a few hours a week to get out. I know one male nurse who is a bag boy at the local supermarket. However, my husband who is terminal with pulmonary fibrosis, went 8 days in the hospital recently without being bathed or the offer of cleaning his teeth. He went for over 24 hours without any nurse assessing his breath sounds and pulmonary status. The only nurse to see he was assessed was an older, experienced nurse, who checked him every 2 hours. None of the pert, young new hires touched him. So, what's wrong with this picture?

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