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Am I too old to be an RN.... or should I just stay an LPN?

Nurse Beth   (51,968 Views 58 Comments)
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.

13 Followers; 88 Articles; 226,071 Visitors; 1,746 Posts

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Dear Unsure,

I would be the last person to discourage any form of education for anyone, anytime. Education is a life-long pursuit, and as a bonus, it keeps you young!

Should you go for your RN or just stay an LPN” ? Is becoming an RN your dream? Are self-doubts holding you back? Avoid making decisions based on fear. What are your loved ones telling you?

We each have only one lifetime to either go for our dreams or talk ourselves out of them. There's no reason to put the I'm too old” restriction on yourself.

After all, Hillary Clinton is running for President of the United States and she's 67 years old, right?

As with every choice, there are factors to be considered. Ageism in the marketplace exists. Some nursing jobs require physical stamina. It will be a matter of finding the right place for you.

The good thing is that you are known and already have connections in the nursing world. That is golden when you go to look for a job. When you do find your spot, you will bring a wealth of life experience to the role.

Deep inside, you already know the answer to your question, and it will not leave you with regret.

There are many nurses on the site here who have stories of becoming an RN later in life, and hopefully they will share their experiences.

Best wishes!

Nurse Beth

Edited by Joe V

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2,663 Visitors; 88 Posts

Age is a number...some people are young even if they are considered "old." I really like the article that I can't find on this site anymore that spoke to: There are many nursing jobs available so why can't I get a job? I felt after reading the article that who ever wrote it had their finger on the nursing workforce's pulse. To paraphrase the article piece that empowered me is as follows: Some organizations must post job openings externally. There are likely candidates who are being hired internally.

Any advice on avoiding the time and effort spent applying to these likely dead ends?

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tnbutterfly is a BSN, RN and works as a Content/Community Director @ allnurses.

13 Followers; 112 Articles; 192,938 Visitors; 5,299 Posts

I really like the article that I can't find on this site anymore that spoke to: There are many nursing jobs available so why can't I get a job? I felt after reading the article that who ever wrote it had their finger on the nursing workforce's pulse.

Perhaps this is the article you are referring to? I See Lots of Job Postings, So Why Can't I Find a Nursing Job?

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2,663 Visitors; 88 Posts

Thanks for your post. I'll be reading the articles you suggested. Thanks again for the heartfelt spirit you put forward in you message.

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2,663 Visitors; 88 Posts

A belated thank-you for pointing me to the article I couldn't find

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1,216 Visitors; 46 Posts

Anytime you are able to excel in your career do it. This makes you an exceptioal person as well as an exceptional nurse.

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traumaRUs has 27 years experience as a MSN, APRN and works as a Asst Community Manager @ allnurses.

14 Followers; 130 Articles; 185,680 Visitors; 20,635 Posts

Age is just a number - you will be 40 or 50 or 60 or 70 whether you become an RN or not so why not go for it?

I bet you can do it!

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mlj8955 works as a Nurse.

2,042 Visitors; 23 Posts

Dear Unsure: If I may offer some advice...Just do it if your heart says so, "remorse is the complement of hell" (Emily Dickinson), we all want do overs, so if it is really something you want just do it. I am going into my second year of an ADN program, this will be my third career, I will be 61, 2 months after graduation. The past year has been harder than 'woodpecker lips' but so far I have zero regrets. I have always wanted to be in the field of medicine. I left a very promising career in public education to pursue something I am passionate about. Just go for it!

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JoseQuinones has 5 years experience and works as a Nursing student.

9,938 Visitors; 281 Posts

Hilary Clinton is running for President of the United States, not RN of the United States. There is no logrolling of heavy patients in the Oval Office. Physical considerations are very real.

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933 Visitors; 22 Posts

I'm not sure what "too old" means but I'll be turning 40 exactly three weeks after starting my BSN program this fall. Sure, I'm scared and am slightly concerned about my ability to perform. The thought of returning to my old career (regardless of the success I achieved) scares me even more. I would rather try and surprise myself than be too afraid and never know. Remember too that every student is facing their own version of doubts, regardless of age. So of course you can do this!

And BTW, there was a 60 year old who just finished 1st semester at the CSUS BSN program.

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AnaLong has 1 years experience and works as a Family Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nurse.

5,646 Visitors; 106 Posts

Please, please, please follow your dreams. I know a nurse who was an LPN for 17 years. She went back and got her ADN. And she didn't do a bridge program she went through the whole 'shabang.' She said that she had nothing against those who do, it was just not right for her. Do what is right for you! You have the experience. I really don't think you would have a problem with placement. It probably would even be a plus with a future employer!

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NamasteN has 6 years experience and works as a RN.

1,948 Visitors; 34 Posts

LPn at age 50, after teaching middle school for 15 years. Now at 57 just became an RN. Bet I'm older than you! 😊

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