Finishing my Nursing Degree - 20 years on!

Nursing Students Pre-Nursing


Hi, I began a Bachelor of Nursing Degree back in 2002 when my son was only one.  I worked damn hard. The first two years were full-time and then I cut to part time for my final year. I had only six months full-time remaining of my three year full-time degree.  However, my relationship was struggling, and I felt my son was not getting the best of me. Even so, I was determined to complete my degree so that I could give him a better life once I'd graduated and was working. Sadly, I received no support from my partner to finish my degree, and he was tired of being stuck at home taking care of our child while I studied. I was pressured into "deferring" the remainder of my course, so that he  could return to his building job. Quite predictably I did not return to my nursing degree, and instead worked a variety of menial jobs until depression and illness got the better of me and I dropped out of life altogether. 

Now, almost two decades later, I lament the lost opportunities of yesteryear, and the poor choices I made. I like to blame my partner, but the truth is I should have held my ground and done what I knew was the right thing - I should have completed my degree at that time 

Is it too late? Is it all over for me now? Would I have to start over from scratch?  

I was one of the older students back then, in my late thirties. However I was top of my year in pathophysiology and pharmacology.  Would I be able to shave any time off my degree for prior accomplishments? Or was it too long ago and therefore not able to be counted?

Any advice would be gratefully received. Thankyou in advance. xx

xoxo From Rachel in Australia

PS, I get that there would be differences between the USA and Australia. However, I'm pretty sure the issues in question would have similarities.


Specializes in Psychiatric and Mental Health NP (PMHNP).

If you want to be a nurse, go for it!  You will probably have to start over, as it has been a long time since you took classes.  I started an accelerated BSN at age 53, become an NP at age 57.  I went to Johns Hopkins and right after starting, the school hired a new Dean from Australia!

Specializes in Postpartum/Public Health.

Hi Rachel,

Hope you're doing well! I think if your calling is nursing, just go for it! I completed an accelerated BSN program in Canada, and I had a lot of classmates that were older, had completed a Masters, had children, had a career change that went back to school to do nursing. 

I am not sure what it's like in Australia, but you can always talk with some of the universities or colleges, to see if there are any courses that you've taken in the past that may count towards a new nursing degree. I know in Canada many schools need anatomy and physiology as a prerequisite and unfortunately that course would expire after 5 years, so if you took it more than 5 years ago you would have to retake it. But it doesn't hurt to reach out to the admissions committees of schools to see what they say! 



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