Ageism in Nursing?

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by Guest1176712 Guest1176712 (Member)

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I read a comment in Twitter where an older nurse was pulled aside and told to speed up. Getting older is tough and involves many factors that determine the amount and kind of work that a person can handle. Right now, even younger nurses are getting burnt out. I was thinking about the work nurses do and the speed at which we accomplish tasks. Do you think ageism is playing a part in the hiring process? Do you think nursing programs are responsible in providing information about the burnout problem in nursing before taking money, especially from student loans? There needs to be transparency in nursing from education to practice. 

Queen Tiye, RN

230 Posts

It may very well play a part in some instances but I have worked with several nurses in their mid to late 60’s, and I am not aware of anyone complaining about them to their face about performance.  Though, it might be a different tale if I say down and asked about their experiences.

Guest1176712

Guest1176712

115 Posts

Yes, I see a lot of older nurses too seeming to do well. Just to be clear, I'm not accusing ageism just looking at the aging of nurses and wondering what options are out there when the hospital gets too hectic for the joints, etc. Clinics can get fast too and there don't seem to be as many job openings for slower paced positions. I don't think there should be an age limit on nursing. But hospitals these days...... I think schools need to make sure they let older second career students know what the profession expects these days (as well as younger students) before they accept their admission fee. 

mmc51264, ADN, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in orthopedic; Informatics, diabetes. Has 10 years experience. 3,131 Posts

I am 57. I am faster and more efficient (motivated??) than most of those half my age. Not going to go down the apathy and laissez-faire attitude road of many of the youth...

Right now, just about anyone can get hired. No ageism as far as I see. 

Guest1176712

Guest1176712

115 Posts

YaY! Good to hear you are  doing well! Yea, I kinda didn't word right. about hiring and ageism. I just meant that the overall hosp environment is high paced and some populations of older nurses may be having probs with it. These days, most nurses are having probs with understaffing. I was thinking that this may make some retire earlier than they would like. 

RNperdiem

RNperdiem, RN

Has 14 years experience. 4,556 Posts

Ageism can be a subtle thing to spot, and can be the result of bias and blind spots. The nurses working in the hospital at least got the job. 

Online applications often go through applicant-tracking software that can filter out candidates from the applicant pool. Can there be parameters set that favor younger candidates? Maybe some of the older nurses a few years from retirement decide that going back for a BSN this late is not worth the money to obtain a second degree this late in the game. What if diploma and ADN candidates are less favored for hiring? Your years of experience give a good guess of how old you are.

In hiring, a manager will be aware of the saying that people tend to hire themselves, and look for any unfair bias in finding the best nurses to work for their departments.

Olivelove20

Olivelove20

Specializes in Adult. 42 Posts

10 minutes ago, AtomicNurse said:

YaY! Good to hear you are  doing well! Yea, I kinda didn't word right. about hiring and ageism. I just meant that the overall hosp environment is high paced and some populations of older nurses may be having probs with it. These days, most nurses are having probs with understaffing. I was thinking that this may make some retire earlier than they would like. 

The decision to retire or leave nursing now would have more to do with what "nursing" is or has become versus age basis.

Fast paced or not, MANY nurses 60 and older can definitely keep up. Not to mention the maturity and experience they bring to the table. I know a male nurse who is 70, works full time nights and leaves the nurses 1/2 his age in the dust.

Hospitals (& other businesses) need to warm up to the idea of older employees whether they like it or not as there is a major shift beginning with the population in the country - The Boomers - and the Boomers have yet to accept "status quo" on anything from what I've seen ?

Hoosier_RN, MSN

Specializes in dialysis. Has 29 years experience. 3,588 Posts

20 minutes ago, AtomicNurse said:

YaY! Good to hear you are  doing well! Yea, I kinda didn't word right. about hiring and ageism. I just meant that the overall hosp environment is high paced and some populations of older nurses may be having probs with it. These days, most nurses are having probs with understaffing. I was thinking that this may make some retire earlier than they would like. 

Some young nurses can't keep up well with the fast pace. They quit and complain about being expected to work. When I was still a clinic manager doing interviews, I had more than 1 young un tell me that they left an employer after being told to get off of their phones and get xyz done (all reasonable things to expect of an employee). On hearing this, I declined to hire, sent to other area clinic managers, who, when they did hire, regretted it. Long story short, older nurses may struggle, but some young nurses ain't cooking it up, either

Guest1176712

Guest1176712

115 Posts

If anything, safe ratios would help retain all age groups and I think that should be the next course of action. 

NICU Guy, BSN, RN

Specializes in NICU. Has 7 years experience. 4,083 Posts

9 hours ago, AtomicNurse said:

Do you think ageism is playing a part in the hiring process?

I was a 48 yr old new grad (plus being a male in NICU) and age wasn't an issue. 

10 hours ago, AtomicNurse said:

older nurse was pulled aside and told to speed up.

They may have confused mobility and ability to multi-task with age. There are several nurses in their 60s that are excellent at multi-tasking and handling the busiest assignments and there are nurses in their 20s that have only one speed- slow. They have a difficult time handling a moderately busy assignment. Age is a number and many of the older nurses have learned to work smarter, not harder. 

LovingLife123

LovingLife123

1,575 Posts

It depends on what you consider “old”.  I’ve seen some older nurses lose their touch and others put any 20 year old to shame.  Depends on the person.  Just like a 25 year old.  Some are great, some are flakes.

HarleyvQuinn, MSN, RN, NP

Specializes in Primary Care, Military. Has 15 years experience. 200 Posts

On 9/14/2021 at 11:11 AM, AtomicNurse said:

I read a comment in Twitter where an older nurse was pulled aside and told to speed up. Getting older is tough and involves many factors that determine the amount and kind of work that a person can handle. Right now, even younger nurses are getting burnt out. I was thinking about the work nurses do and the speed at which we accomplish tasks. Do you think ageism is playing a part in the hiring process? Do you think nursing programs are responsible in providing information about the burnout problem in nursing before taking money, especially from student loans? There needs to be transparency in nursing from education to practice. 

 Back and other musculoskeletal injuries from the job that create limitations can occur at any age. This is a very important factor to remember, especially with the increased acuity and heavier caseloads that nurses are carrying during the pandemic. You don't have to be "old" to find yourself moving slowly because you're in pain from an injury, or suddenly in need of surgery yourself. It doesn't matter how good or experienced a nurse you are, Admin has little use for a "broken employee" whom they just see as someone who can't keep up.