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Age Discrimination in Nursing

Nurse Beth Article   (89,185 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; 227,880 Visitors; 1,815 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 8 of Age Discrimination in Nursing. If you want to start from the beginning Go to First Page.

310 Visitors; 2 Posts

I've found that attitude is everything and not accentuating your age is the best route. If you act like a team player you will be a part of the team no matter what your age is.

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Mestisa57 has 2 years experience and specializes in LTC- Behavioral Health.

540 Visitors; 2 Posts

Thank you so much for this article. Awesome advice. Sometimes we do things and don't realize the impact it has!

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2 Followers; 46,466 Visitors; 8,863 Posts

I have to work until I am 70 due to change in SS rules. So listen up, young people Ss states if you want full retirement from SS yiu will have to work until 70 years old then you will see what age discrimination is really all about.

It is my understanding social security, which isn't meant to be a retirement fund but to augment our own savings, is available at age 62?? If people wait until 67 they will receive more money but imo the reason they do that is because most people will not live long enough after 67 to make up for the thousands they received in the previous 60 months. The average life expectancy is 78.74. Figure at an estimate of $1,200 per month a person would have to live a long time to make up for the $72,000 they didn't receive from ages 62-67.

I'm going to collect as soon as I can and retire so I can actually enjoy my last few years. As a prescriber, although a bit physically kinder, the mental load is tremendous and I don't know many physicians or NPs who are still sharp enough to do this into their 70s. Although a bitter pill to swallow I think it is important to accept the aging process and imo 70 is not the new 50, its still 70 and no way is a 70 year old as fit, quick or able as a 50 year old, no matter how well preserved.

Edited by Jules A
OMG I just realized I already responded to this post! See the senility is setting in already. :D

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121 Visitors; 1 Post

I was accepted to a nursing program and I just got my license and I'm 54. You can get accepted in a nursing program - just make the first step. At least you have healthcare-related experience and has the option of a shorter route to becoming a RN. Goodluck!

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462 Visitors; 9 Posts

I was an LPN for 27 years and graduated from my LPN to RN program in 2013 2 weeks before my 52nd birthday. I am going to start working on my bachelors degree. I do not worry about my age, they will either want me or not want me. I am very skilled at my job. I have let my hair turn grey and I have friends of all ages. Ageism does exist just not going to let it stop me.

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1,232 Visitors; 76 Posts

I am old enough to retire. Fortunately I am employed as a Nurse Manager for a "not for profit" dialysis company. I am respected and valued for my contributions. I feel that my knowledge and skills, my ability to think outside the box, and my management skills are valued. I can definitely say that I am not a victim of ageism. I just hired a nurse who is my age. She has been a manager, as well. I think this is one area where ageism does not exist. Well qualified dialysis nurses are such a rarity that age has nothing to do with the hiring process. My boss doesn't even want to hear the words "retire" from me!

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259 Visitors; 2 Posts

Yes, there is a discrimination against new grads. It's in every job posting as "no new grads" or "1 year experience" or "no new grad if you don't come from a specific college" this one is a particularly great example of discrimination. You are paying the college in order to work at their hospital. Finally, my favorite, the job is listed as "no new grad" the computer kicks your resume out, and they don't accept hand delivered resumes. Yet, your schoolmate, who has no experience or same experience/grades/personality as you, knows someone and they hire the "new grad." How is that even legal?

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Kssrn404 has 9 years experience and specializes in Cardiovascular recovery unit/ICU.

2,032 Visitors; 68 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.

I do agree that you need to keep up on writing resumes. I am about to turn 53 and have been out a long time raising three kids. Two of them were too sick to attend daycare due to suppressed immune systems. They are now grown and I just landed a sweet position in the cardiovascular recovery unit. I got busy and became proactive. I went back to school for a semester in an RN refresher course. Before and during the semester I bought all of the best up to date critical care books and studied very hard. I finished my clinical a on a Med/ surg/tele floor at this hospital so they would know who I was and that I could keep up and do a great job. I kept my connections with my former coworkers. It turns out that one of them is currently working in the unit I was just hired in. Join professional organizations like ANA, star nursing associations and specialty organizations like AHA. Subscribe to professional journals and keep up with the latest procedures and trends. When asked in my interview had I ever heard of the newer Left ventricular assist devices I was able to strike up a conversation about several of them and that made a big impression on the nurse manager who interviewed me. I also work out and keep physically fit for those 12 hour shifts. I invested in some new scrubs that look really sharp. During my semester back at school I made sure to take BLS and ACLS and put that on my new resume. I was hired on the spot despite my age and my huge work gap. You guys can do it if you're really passionate about your profession. As the post above stated: I am more stable as my kids are grown and I have more time to devote to my career and volunteer work in the community related to my specialty. For you older nurses out there you CAN DO IT! Work hard and be passionate!! Best of luck to those of you presently searching for a position. 😬 I know you can do it!!!!!

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1,932 Visitors; 26 Posts

As for myself, I value those older people who have a life time full of experience.

Like me.

I am one of them. One of those older people, a senior, a baby boomer. But still a bad*** with plenty of work life left in me.

Did all the right things. Mentored the youngsters every chance I had. Carved myself several 'niches'. Became a Super User for the new EMR From Hades (and was one of the few SU's patient/dedicated enough to lead the docs through their first, frustrating experiences with it). Heard from many of the docs what a "travesty" it was that I became 'too expensive for the organization to keep'. Even left a very helpful negative review of said organization on Glassdoor.

I miss the "edge" I honed in the hospital. The idea of spending the next 10 years in LTC/Rehab is, for lack of a better description, anti-climactic. As long as I have a disabled spouse to support, options to flex my Experience Muscle are somewhat limited (as in no 9 to 5).

When I passed the NCLEX I was relieved that as long as I could give good care, I could find a job. So far, that has remained the case. Not in the way I anticipated, but then, life has a way of adjusting our expectations. Like any good nurse, I can still roll with the punches. Go ahead, sling more ageism my way.

Yes. That's a dare.

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GadgetRN71 has 10 years experience as a ASN, RN and specializes in Operating Room.

1 Article; 13,838 Visitors; 1,820 Posts

I have had kind of the reverse problem. I am 45 but have been told I look early 30's. I have 10 years experience as a nurse and 7 years as a surgical technologist. I have been accused indirectly (and one time directly) of lying about my experience. So, I think age perception can cause issues both ways.

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3,120 Visitors; 142 Posts

The topic is great but it really doesn't say anything most of us don't already know. One of the reasons the older nurse is discriminated against is the pay because of the years of experience. It is real, but it is just one of the many problems within the culture of nursing.

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421 Visitors; 2 Posts

I retire after close to 40 years, hated it but at 58 sent a resume at 2:30 in the afternoon, had an interview scheduled by 9:30the next morning and started work the next week. Look at your resume and ensure it doesn't focus on the tasks you did rather the skills and strengths you have

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