How do veteran nurses react to...

  1. ...second career nurses?

    I am working on my pre-reqs to get into nursing school next fall, and if everything works out, I would graduate in Spring '09, at the age of 40. I was wondering how nurses generally feel about this. How will my co-workers take to me, a 40 yr old man, starting over in a field they may have been working in since their mid 20s? I've heard good and bad from a few friends who work in hospitals and was hoping you all might let me know what you think, how you would react, or any good stories you can share about working with older grads just starting out in nursing.

    At 37, I know much more about myself than I did at 27, and know I have a great deal of compassion, I'm customer service oriented, and I work well under pressure. I think these will be assets in nursing.
    Last edit by Asklepios on Aug 22, '06
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    About Asklepios

    Joined: Aug '06; Posts: 95; Likes: 20

    25 Comments

  3. by   begalli
    You will find that you will not be the only person in your nursing program who are both second career students and in their 30's (and probably, maybe, men). Once done with your program, you will be a welcome relief!
  4. by   puggymae
    I had a 67 year old woman in my nursing class whose husband died and she needed to support herself! She did great. I think older students add to the class because they have alot of life experience.
  5. by   weirdRN
    As an older student, 2nd carreer myself, I often wondered how I was looked at by the eighteen and nineteen year olds in my class. Even though I was only ten or twelve years older than most of them, sometimes, I felt ancient.

    I know that I kind of looked at them as being just young and not all that expereinced with life. I wondered how they would relate to the aging population that is currently starting to fill our hospitals and nursing homes. I got frustrated very quickly with some of the less driven, less hard working people in my classes. I often wondered how they passed classes when they were out drinking and partying all weekend and sleeping through classes.

    As for actual Nurses, I think it takes all kinds. I don't think that you will be viewed any differently than any other new grad. In fact, veteran nurses may have more confidence in you b/c you LOOK older and may LOOK like you know what you are doing even when you do not. To that end, sometimes, you MUST own up to your weaknesses, and let people know that you do not know what you are doing.
  6. by   begalli
    Quote from WhimsieRN
    In fact, veteran nurses may have more confidence in you b/c you LOOK older and may LOOK like you know what you are doing even when you do not.
    This is SO true! I too am a second career RN and the people (docs, rn's, therapists) who didn't know that I was a new grad thought that I had been nursing forever. Some of them, I never told that I was brand new at it! (but of course I was appropriate with what I did not know)

    All of the students regardless of their age worked really hard in my class 7 years ago. My own little circle of studying friends/pal-around friends included a 21 year old female, one in her early 30's, one in her late 20's, a guy almost 40, a woman who turned 50 during the program and myself, in my late 30's. Our ages were all over the place, but we all were the BEST of friends and still keep in touch today.
  7. by   banditrn
    I think it will be a non-issue. I graduated at 40 myself. I wasn't the oldest or youngest in my class.

    One thing I did find as a student, in clinicals, was that patients accepted me better than the couple of really young ones that we had - I think they felt that because I was older, I knew more or something??
  8. by   santhony44
    I don't think you'll have any trouble.

    Good luck!
  9. by   Lfransis
    40? Is that all? As you can see from the posts, no worries, you'll be fine.
    I just graduated LVN school with an age group from 18-60.

    I think we all have insecurities. At 30 this is a second career for me.
    By the time my 18 year old classmates are my age, they will have 12 years of experience....you see where I'm going?


    BTW, Isn't 40 supposed to be the new 30? umpiron:

    Good Luck!!
    -lelu
  10. by   JBudd
    Older new grads are sometimes easier to get along with, just because we have more in common. Realisitically, the really young ones I've run into sometimes can't cope with stuff the way someone more mature can. I love new grads no matter what age they are though.

    Welcome to nursing!umpiron:
  11. by   JB CC-RN
    I think you have made a wonderful decision to go to nursing school!! I graduated with my BSN at the age of 44. This was one of the best decisions I had ever made. It was a little scary going to nursing school with people half my age. What I found was, we as students were all in the same boat, all trying to learn the same things. Nurses on the unit that I took a job were very supportive and never made me feel uncomfortable because of my age and being a new grad.

    I think you will find nurses to be very happy to have you on their unit.

    Best of luck to you.
  12. by   Altra
    Quote from Asklepios
    ...second career nurses?

    I am working on my pre-reqs to get into nursing school next fall, and if everything works out, I would graduate in Spring '09, at the age of 40. I was wondering how nurses generally feel about this. How will my co-workers take to me, a 40 yr old man, starting over in a field they may have been working in since their mid 20s? I've heard good and bad from a few friends who work in hospitals and was hoping you all might let me know what you think, how you would react, or any good stories you can share about working with older grads just starting out in nursing.

    At 37, I know much more about myself than I did at 27, and know I have a great deal of compassion, I'm customer service oriented, and I work well under pressure. I think these will be assets in nursing.
    I became a nurse at 38. A majority of the nurses I work with who are my age have 10-15 years experience.

    The only time I've felt like I was being downright negatively judged was on a walking tour of the hospital during my first week. A group of us newbies were introduced to nurses on a particular unit using the term "young new nurses" and one particularly charming nurse chose to look right at me and say out loud, "they don't look young ..." Meow. Back at ya, sweetie ...

    It does have its *weird* moments but overall I think there are advantages to coming into this profession with the benefit of some added maturity, including the ones you alluded to in your post.

    Best of luck to you!
  13. by   TazziRN
    Doesn't matter when you get here, just get here!!
  14. by   Ruby Vee
    Quote from asklepios
    ...second career nurses?

    i am working on my pre-reqs to get into nursing school next fall, and if everything works out, i would graduate in spring '09, at the age of 40. i was wondering how nurses generally feel about this. how will my co-workers take to me, a 40 yr old man, starting over in a field they may have been working in since their mid 20s? i've heard good and bad from a few friends who work in hospitals and was hoping you all might let me know what you think, how you would react, or any good stories you can share about working with older grads just starting out in nursing.

    at 37, i know much more about myself than i did at 27, and know i have a great deal of compassion, i'm customer service oriented, and i work well under pressure. i think these will be assets in nursing.
    [font="comic sans ms"]stories? i always have stories! i've worked with lots of second career nurses, and even married a couple of them! (first one was a big mistake -- both the nursing part and the marriage, but the second is a keeper!) i think you'll find that your co-workers are just so happy to have another nurse on board that they won't care what you did in your first life -- except in so far as it gives you stories to share. good luck with school, and i hope you enjoy nursing!

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