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Am I too old for bedside nursing?

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I am 47 years old and have been working as a school nurse for the last 5 years. I love my job , I love the kids , and I love the people I work with… the pay is not the best , but I get summers off (and holidays etc). 

I always get this way over the Summer (bored I guess) and applied for an RN position at the hospital.  I had an interview today and they asked for me to have a second interview with the hiring manager. 

I miss the excitement of working on the floor, however this position will be nights which I’m a little concerned about. I also have no where to move in my current position but if I return to the hospital I can at least get my tuition assistance and eventually move up. 
I just don’t know if I’m crazy for considering this. Last year was not easy as a school nurse, but obviously not as hard as most. I was hoping for some advice … what would you do…?? 

Money is not really a factor although making more money would be nice (im not going to lie). 

Thanks in advance for any advice. It’s been a while since I’ve worked on the floor so I just want some opinions. 

JBMmom, MSN, NP

Specializes in Long term care; med-surg; critical care. Has 9 years experience.

I'm also 47 years old and I work night shift in the hospital. I've been in the hospital for four years, almost a year on med-surg and almost three and a half in the ICU. There are MANY nurses our age, and older, still working floor positions in the hospital. As for the night shift thing I think you can't really know until you give it a try. I have no problem working nights, not saying I'm not a little more tired than I probably would be with a dayshift job, but the benefits of being home for my kids during the day makes up for that. In a few years when they can all drive themselves maybe it won't be worth it as much, but I'll worry about that when I get there. 

Good luck with your interviews!

When I go to respond to posts like this I argue with myself about dashing others' hopes and dreams (interests). 😂 But I do realize that we're all  in our own unique place in life.

Your age wouldn't be the primary reason to think extra carefully about this. A main factor (for me) would be whether or not you are generally respected in your school nurse capacity--because that is the wild card issue. You already know the hours and the schedule are preferable where you are right now. If you also enjoy your work setting (the work, the people, etc) and feel that you are able to do the work in a way that is satisfying to you...I don't know...I feel like odds are that those things will be somewhat less likely in acute care. Especially in comparison.

When I make big moves like this (almost never) I tend to hedge my bets. If I wanted to make your move I'd probably pick up a hospital job in Spring/early Summer so that I could work it a few months before making a final decision about a complete transition.

Good luck with your interviews and decisions ~

SmilingBluEyes

Specializes in Specializes in L/D, newborn, GYN, LTC, Dialysis. Has 24 years experience.

How long do you plan to be a nurse?

Where do you plan to work?

That has a lot to do with aging. Bedside nursing can be bone crushing. But that's not the only type of nursing there is.

Good luck!

Thank you for your honesty. I think I know it would be a huge adjustment on me, my family , my body , lifestyle etc. I guess part of me feels like I have something to prove and being a school nurse doesn’t cut it? 
I am really lucky and am in a great position …I do feel respected , especially after this last school year we had.  I’m good at what I do and I know it would be a big blow to them if I left … so I worry about that part of it too. 
Like I said, this is me feeling like I need to prove something which maybe is not a good reason to make the change. I’m just so conflicted. Ugh. I like the idea of Spring time though! That would give me time to make up a more educated decision. 
thanks again 

19 minutes ago, SmilingBluEyes said:

How long do you plan to be a nurse?

Where do you plan to work?

That has a lot to do with aging. Bedside nursing can be bone crushing. But that's not the only type of nursing there is.

Good luck!

I’ve been a nurse for about 6 years now. I plan to work until we can retire and move south. I would guess another 5-10 years. I always pictured myself staying at the school until that day would come. But I do feel like I’m missing out on something bigger.  🤷🏼‍♀️

upstatejj, RN

Specializes in RN, BSN student. Has 19 years experience.

I too am wondering if I’m too old to go back to bedside nursing. I really want to because I want to refresh all my skills and do travel nursing. I’ve applied for some med-surg positions and have not been offered anything. I wonder if it’s because of my age and/or the fact I’ve been doing home health so long.?

2 hours ago, upstatejj said:

I too am wondering if I’m too old to go back to bedside nursing. I really want to because I want to refresh all my skills and do travel nursing. I’ve applied for some med-surg positions and have not been offered anything. I wonder if it’s because of my age and/or the fact I’ve been doing home health so long.?

I don’t think we’re too old … maybe I worded my post incorrectly.  I think it’s more is it worth it? I’m pretty settled but not satisfied. IDK

In your case I would keep applying if that’s what you truly want to do. I agree … I want to refresh my skills and get back in the “game “. But I need to decide if it’s worth it.. or will I regret it in another 20 years ?? (either way LOL) 

ABQRN

Specializes in Med Surg/UC. Has 9 years experience.

Hi, I appreciated your post, I am also 47 and relate to that feeling of having "something to prove." I am a second career nurse but worked bedside for about 7 years in a med/surg setting. I was mostly a resource nurse & would help wherever needed, so somehow feel like I need to go back bedside and do/learn more. I moved to urgent care for a change and though the hours/low stress worked well for my family, I still feel the pull that I am getting further away from whatever it is that bedside nursing will provide and wonder if I will regret not going back to a higher level of care. 

It's super hard when you have a bird in hand and it works well for family/life balance but there is always a restlessness in you. All that said, I don't have an answer, just wanted to let you know I have the same struggle. I do know that now is probably easier than normal to get back in the hospital since they are so short staffed. I guess it's really about benefit risk ratio and what we are willing to risk?? If you try bedside and hate it have you really failed... or just explored an option? 

RatherBHiking, BSN, RN

Specializes in Med-Surg, Oncology, OB, School Nurse. Has 29 years experience.

I understand how you're feeling!  However, unlike you I don't always "love" my school nurse job OR feel respected. I think after almost 20 yrs of being in school nursing I just feel restless for more maybe and a little burnt out. I did go back to the hospital for a year. I did love the task oriented nature, learning new things, growing as a nurse, working with patients who I felt like I could truly help. If they were in pain I could give them medicine not an ice pack. Nausea I could give IV meds, not saltines and hope for the best. Frequent flyers we still had those but not for 9 months straight until Summer came. LOL! I made great money. It was physically harder than I expected. Being on your feet for 12 straight hours (well more like 13-14) wears you out. If I got to work and was feeling more tired than normal I couldn't just take it easier like you can in school nursing. Working holidays wasn't fun with younger kids. Sometimes I needed a day off for something and couldn't get it and would have to try and trade and if that didn't work I'd have to suck it up and miss something. I remember a bad snow storm I was still expected to come in and I was like oh how I miss my snow days now! I was mad quite often at work because they would say they had a nurse patient ratio but then find loopholes to give you more like three are going home except they didn't usually leave until near the end of the shift and sometimes things changed and they didn't leave at all. Things like the pharmacy running behind or not having the right meds on the floor would slow me down. A lot of nurse's aides I worked with were lazy or I didn't even have one so I had to pick up those duties too. I just felt like I had been used and abused after a long shift. I was always anxious the night before work not knowing what to expect or who I'd have so I didn't sleep great. Some doctors were just mean. My kids were having a hard time with me being gone so late in the eve and not being home to help them with homework or see them off to school in the morning. I did love only working 2-3 days a week. I was never bored. That was med-surg and oncology. I thought about going into more critical care with less patients and to learn more but decided to go back to school nursing for my family.

Now my kids are all graduated and I'm trying to decide if I have what it takes to go back. I'd like to get a couple years experience and travel. However, I'm 4 years older than you and by the time I get in a couple years recent experience I'd be in my mid 50's. I did this when I was in my early 40's and my feet, back and knees would ache a lot then so I can't imagine now. I'm in good shape and work out regularly but something about those concrete floors aren't easy on you. I was much more tired at the hospital job. I don't have a lot of stress but I also don't have a lot of job satisfaction either. I feel bad when the other school nurses talk about how much they love their jobs. I just don't. I don't hate it. It's easy to me. I love the autonomy and my own office. There's always people and students and families I work with I enjoy but I've been thrown under the bus enough times by principals and teachers I don't fully trust anyone. I've never enjoyed working five days a week ever. So I'm trying a new school this year that came open in our district to see if a change will help. I'm also trying to decide if the restlessness is just due to needing some new hobbies and excitement in my life or a general dissatisfaction of my career. 

Sorry I don't have more advice other than to say I understand. I don't think one job is "better" than the other, just different with different pros and cons. It's just what you think you can handle for yourself at this stage of life. If you decide to go back, let us know how it is and how you like it!

50 minutes ago, Blue_Moon said:

I understand how you're feeling!  However, unlike you I don't always "love" my school nurse job OR feel respected. I think after almost 20 yrs of being in school nursing I just feel restless for more maybe and a little burnt out. I did go back to the hospital for a year. I did love the task oriented nature, learning new things, growing as a nurse, working with patients who I felt like I could truly help. If they were in pain I could give them medicine not an ice pack. Nausea I could give IV meds, not saltines and hope for the best. Frequent flyers we still had those but not for 9 months straight until Summer came. LOL! I made great money. It was physically harder than I expected. Being on your feet for 12 straight hours (well more like 13-14) wears you out. If I got to work and was feeling more tired than normal I couldn't just take it easier like you can in school nursing. Working holidays wasn't fun with younger kids. Sometimes I needed a day off for something and couldn't get it and would have to try and trade and if that didn't work I'd have to suck it up and miss something. I remember a bad snow storm I was still expected to come in and I was like oh how I miss my snow days now! I was mad quite often at work because they would say they had a nurse patient ratio but then find loopholes to give you more like three are going home except they didn't usually leave until near the end of the shift and sometimes things changed and they didn't leave at all. Things like the pharmacy running behind or not having the right meds on the floor would slow me down. A lot of nurse's aides I worked with were lazy or I didn't even have one so I had to pick up those duties too. I just felt like I had been used and abused after a long shift. I was always anxious the night before work not knowing what to expect or who I'd have so I didn't sleep great. Some doctors were just mean. My kids were having a hard time with me being gone so late in the eve and not being home to help them with homework or see them off to school in the morning. I did love only working 2-3 days a week. I was never bored. That was med-surg and oncology. I thought about going into more critical care with less patients and to learn more but decided to go back to school nursing for my family.

Now my kids are all graduated and I'm trying to decide if I have what it takes to go back. I'd like to get a couple years experience and travel. However, I'm 4 years older than you and by the time I get in a couple years recent experience I'd be in my mid 50's. I did this when I was in my early 40's and my feet, back and knees would ache a lot then so I can't imagine now. I'm in good shape and work out regularly but something about those concrete floors aren't easy on you. I was much more tired at the hospital job. I don't have a lot of stress but I also don't have a lot of job satisfaction either. I feel bad when the other school nurses talk about how much they love their jobs. I just don't. I don't hate it. It's easy to me. I love the autonomy and my own office. There's always people and students and families I work with I enjoy but I've been thrown under the bus enough times by principals and teachers I don't fully trust anyone. I've never enjoyed working five days a week ever. So I'm trying a new school this year that came open in our district to see if a change will help. I'm also trying to decide if the restlessness is just due to needing some new hobbies and excitement in my life or a general dissatisfaction of my career. 

Sorry I don't have more advice other than to say I understand. I don't think one job is "better" than the other, just different with different pros and cons. It's just what you think you can handle for yourself at this stage of life. If you decide to go back, let us know how it is and how you like it!

Thank you! You actually described how I really feel to a T. I posted this a few weeks ago. In the meantime I declined the second interview and decided to stick out my school job and keep looking for what I really want (peds). The other position was med Surg and it just wasn’t what I really wanted.

anyway, thank you for your response. I think we are on the same path.  
good luck this year with whatever you decide. 

DrMaryrn

Specializes in Critical care, educatiom. Has 41 years experience.

I respect your desire to return to the bedside. I have been an RN for 41 years, I'm 62 years old and I frequently feel the desire to return to patient care. I love nursing, and truly believe we all serve a purpose in our profession. Now I serve nursing as a nurse educator. I am helping to continue our legacy, but nothing will warm my heart like beside patient care