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Am I Too Old?

Nurse Beth   (673 Views 11 Comments)
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; 228,402 Visitors; 1,834 Posts

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Dear Nurse Beth,

LVN here since 2004. I am wanting to continue with my education and apply for a BSN program to be eligible for the NCLEX RN. I am 56 years and old would like your thoughts on the dreaded "am I too old" question. Thanks for your input!


Dear Am I Too Old,

If getting your RN is your life's dream, and you will regret it if you don't, go for it. Others have done it.

Nursing school is a huge commitment so it's important to think it through. By the time you are a newly licensed nurse, you'll be around 60. Everyone's 60 looks different. In your family what does 60 look like? Not just life longevity but productivity longevity.

The first couple of years in a clinical position require stamina and fitness. After that, you can qualify for a non-clinical position with your BSN.

Ask yourself:

  • If I am saddled with school debt, will that be a problem? What is my retirement plan? (financial)
  • Do I want to spend the next few years in nursing school rather than slowing down and enjoying life? (personal values)
  • How long do I plan to work? (realistic)                                                                                    

Best wishes on your decision,

Nurse Beth

Author, "Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job"...and your next!

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Meriwhen is a ASN, BSN, RN and specializes in Psych ICU, addictions.

2 Followers; 4 Articles; 59,230 Visitors; 7,878 Posts

Two of my classmates were in their late 50s when they graduated from nursing school.  Both got hired after graduation--one immediately as she did an externship where she was ultimately hired, the other was hired within a couple of months.  I'm not sure what the former is doing now as I lost touch with her.  The latter worked for seven years and then retired.  Point being:  neither one thought they were too old to become a nurse.

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traumaRUs has 27 years experience as a MSN, APRN and specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU.

15 Followers; 149 Articles; 187,516 Visitors; 20,803 Posts

Oh yeah go for it. Your LPN experience will help tremendously.  Best wishes

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subee has 45 years experience as a MSN, CRNA.

1 Follower; 17,885 Visitors; 1,743 Posts

What's the job market where you live and would you be willing to move if you couldn't find a job?

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myoglobin has 11 years experience as a ASN, BSN and specializes in ICU, trauma, neuro.

3,614 Visitors; 478 Posts

Well, I guess it's time for me to dig out my Peggy Morris article https://www.recordcourier.com/news/local/for-peggy-morris-81-its-all-in-her-attitude/  . She didn't even start her nursing career until the age of 57, and was working on a Med/surg floor at the age of 81 when this article was written. You might consider a "phased" retirement. Full time until you are 65 and then "part time".  People who work longer tend to live longer and stay healthier.

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53 Visitors; 5 Posts

I'm 60 with about 23 years experience as a floor nurse and have been looking for a job for the past, oh, maybe 4 years now. Full time, part time, per-diem, I don't care. Few facilities call me I'm assuming, because of the job/school history on my resume. I've so far had 2 places bring me in and though I have pretty good interviews (I think), I never hear from them again. Meanwhile my younger, prettier counterparts who have just over one year experience seem to job hop at will, to any hospital they choose and make more than I. Though I applaud the positivity here to just "go for it," the reality is that companies want young people and many hospitals want young and pretty to boot. Maybe they think that old people bring baggage (like young ones don't), maybe it's that we seem like we'll just retire soon- again, the young ones hardly last a year before they get another job. My take is that a BSN will take a lot of life away with school work and the payoff will be minimal.

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myoglobin has 11 years experience as a ASN, BSN and specializes in ICU, trauma, neuro.

3,614 Visitors; 478 Posts

I believe that like the RN in Southern California is experiencing that location may also be a factor. Ultimately, becoming an NP and getting your own practice or becoming a travel nurse, or moving may be part of the solution.

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104 Visitors; 9 Posts

I went back to nursing school and will be writing my CNO exam one month before my 55th birthday. I am not sure about the wisdom of that decision yet as Nursepolice post contains a lot of sad truths. Two students, very young and very pretty were offered jobs right away. I could tell by the hospital they got jobs at to not even bother applying. It was clear they only hired young and pretty. 

I may move to another part of Canada and work as a private nurse. The pay is decent but without much excitement. 

I would say that if you want to continue your education then DO IT. Life is short.

 

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by 2Ask

694 Visitors; 79 Posts

Depends who the hiring manager is. I recently transitioned to a new state in my late 50's with 7 years as an RN and the managers half my age were dead end interviews. I had great rapport with the middle aged managers however and have a great job. 

Previous job, I interviewed for a transfer position in ICU- 30-ish male manager and every single nurse that worked on that unit was young and pretty.  I withdrew my application because I really did not want to move to nights and I got a day ICU job offer at a competing hospital. I reported my interview experience and impressions of their ICU staffing practices in the exit survey.

Age discrimination is real but you will find places where they value diversity and the boomer loyalty and work ethic.

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2,250 Visitors; 433 Posts

On 7/4/2019 at 3:22 AM, nursepolice said:

I'm 60 with about 23 years experience as a floor nurse and have been looking for a job for the past, oh, maybe 4 years now. Full time, part time, per-diem, I don't care. Few facilities call me I'm assuming, because of the job/school history on my resume. I've so far had 2 places bring me in and though I have pretty good interviews (I think), I never hear from them again. Meanwhile my younger, prettier counterparts who have just over one year experience seem to job hop at will, to any hospital they choose and make more than I. Though I applaud the positivity here to just "go for it," the reality is that companies want young people and many hospitals want young and pretty to boot. Maybe they think that old people bring baggage (like young ones don't), maybe it's that we seem like we'll just retire soon- again, the young ones hardly last a year before they get another job. My take is that a BSN will take a lot of life away with school work and the payoff will be minimal.

My personal experience is similar.  Multiple applications and interviews. No offers, why would they pick an older nurse when they can get a young pretty one?

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2,250 Visitors; 433 Posts

On 7/4/2019 at 9:39 PM, Canaan said:

I went back to nursing school and will be writing my CNO exam one month before my 55th birthday. I am not sure about the wisdom of that decision yet as Nursepolice post contains a lot of sad truths. Two students, very young and very pretty were offered jobs right away. I could tell by the hospital they got jobs at to not even bother applying. It was clear they only hired young and pretty. 

I may move to another part of Canada and work as a private nurse. The pay is decent but without much excitement. 

I would say that if you want to continue your education then DO IT. Life is short.

 

The local hospital here had a choice between two nurses. One was brunette, attractive and a hell of a nurse.  The other was blonde, cute, but not a very good nurse.  The blonde got the job.  Even the hiring manager said, she's so cute.  The jerk.

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