Younger Nurses: Do you find people dont take you seriously? (semi-rant) - page 2 this has been bothering me a lot, but yesterday I had an encounter with a PT and now this is starting to get to me. Just a little rant..and I'd like to know if anyone else feels this way and... Read More

  1. by   sweetielin
    i am 23 but look much younger. i work in a small hospital. most of my patients know me from when i was a nurse's aide. some are surprised to find out that i'm an lpn and that i have been working at this hospital over 5 years. i get asked my age a lot and most patients think i am much younger. they tend to think i am in training. i let them know that i will be their lpn for the night and that i have been an lpn for a year and a half. once i let them know, i generally don't have any problems from them.
  2. by   DorkyStudentNurse
    I'm a student nurse and I'm only 18. I started nursing school when I was 17. It's because my birthday is late in the year, I've always been one of the youngest people in my class. I can actually understand why a patient would be wary of being cared for by me, although I feel that I'm just as competent as the older student nurses. Patients see a girl who's not even old enough to drink who is going to be caring for them. I'm only a first-year student so I don't have any huge patient responsibilities but I have a feeling I'm going to be constantly proving myself for the rest of my education because I'm younger than the rest of the students. Right now it doesn't bother me, but I think that it may start to get to me when I have more responsibilities.
  3. by   mmutk
    I also know how you feel, I am 23 now and graduating nursing school. I look alot younger than I am (more like 17 or 18). I currently work as an EMT-IV and a tech in the emergency department. The patients down here will not let you get away with looking young- for sure.

    I have learned to be very assertive, not in a disrespectful way, but in a professional way. Confidence and assertiveness are REQUIRED in the ER and especially helpful if you are like me and look very young. Good Luck
  4. by   jeepgirl

    I graduated nursing school (RN) when I was twenty. I'm 22 now. Needless to say, I have dealt with people and their "age" issues... "My youngest child is older than you!" Blah blah blah blah blah. I have my BSN. I'm working on a masters. I've worked in the medical field since I was 18. I just see it as a fact of life that for some reason, to some people, I will always be somehow "less" because I am younger than they are. At least, until I meet the age of most of the nurses I work with (give me at least 20 more years!). However, you will see that it gets better with real nursing experience.

    It is the perception of inexperience that seems to be emphasized when you are younger than almost everyone you come in contact with at work. If you get a 40 year old GN, no, they don't always come off as being as inexperienced (even if they very much are) as the new, inexperienced 20 year old GN. Part of that is having the life experiences (outside of nursing) that effects the way older adults carry themselvces and part of that is just age! You expect that if you get an "older" adult (age is relative, I know! - I'm saying "older" as in the opposite of "younger") in your room, for some reason you think that they have been doing this for a while! Also, to many of the nurses who are older, they are more of a "peer" socially to most of the people you may work around than the 20 year old GN. So, it can be easier to accept those who are older in this profession than those who are not for social reasons alone. And when you are the baby on your unit or workplace, in both age and experinece, everyone tries to play momma to you too. Which, in a way, can be really nice.

    I think that you'll find that this becomes less of an issue if you stay in one place for a certain amount of time... coworkers tend to forget that you're the completely inexperienced baby and begin to treat you as more of an experienced team member.

    I have to disagree with the OP though... read the book "From Novice to Expert." I think that it takes at least a few years to move from the "novice" stage - 3 months does NOT cut it. While everyone moves through the stages quite quickly, I would say that nurses (including me) who are in their very first few years of practice are most likely still in the novice stage. There is sooo much to learn in nursing - it takes years and years to gain skills competently. And part of no longer being a novice is realizing that you don't know everything and being completely aware of that. The novice can be so inexperienced that they don't even know that they don't know something! :-)

    Good luck in everything you hope to achieve - It'll get better soon!

  5. by   NurseEllie
    I'm in the same boat as all of you. I find it particularly frustrating when nosey, complete strangers ask my age, find out I'm much older, then say "wow, well at least you'll appreciate it when you're 50." Although I'm sure its brought up with complete innocence, I find it very insulting. Especially because in health care, age usually equals experience, which equates to competence. How would the cashier at the department store like it if I insinuated the same thing by saying, "You're not very good at your job are you?" or asked something personal like "what color underpants to you have on?" Now instead of answering the age question I just sidestep it by saying, "much older than you think I am." There's no reason to have the same polite conversation that leaves me feeling insulted simply to satisfy their curiosity. I agree that at work it's espcially important to carry yourself with confidence and be assertive, even to dress slightly different to get the respect we deserve.
  6. by   runningfool
    Quote from NurseEllie
    Now instead of answering the age question I just sidestep it by saying, "much older than you think I am." There's no reason to have the same polite conversation that leaves me feeling insulted simply to satisfy their curiosity.
    I say the same thing you do. I, too, feel insulted when someone tells me I look much younger than I am. How would they feel if I asked "Well, how old are you? Really?! You look MUCH older!" They'd be so insulted and yet I'm supposed to take it as a compliment when it's reversed? No one who is 27 likes to be told they don't even look like they've graduated from high school. That IS insulting and people don't realize how rude they're being.
    There have been a few times in my early 20s when I'd blow up and tell someone I only look young to them because their mind is twisted from watching too much tv where 30 year olds play 16 year olds. I don't say that anymore even though I want to sometimes.
  7. by   Super_RN
    i am 23 and i hear it a lot as well. i get carded for everything, but hey, it makes me feel good! i hope i get carded until the day i die. if i'm 98-years-old and get carded it will make my day, although it's highly unlikely to happen as for patients being weary of my age, i don't tell them. i simply tell them i have worked as a rn for 2 1/2 years, all in icu. doctors were leery at first, but i've called them several times in the middle of the night and guess what?! i knew what i was talking about! *gasp* no problems anymore...they just tease me cause i'm young enough to be their daughter.
  8. by   S.N. Visit
    I'm not a "younger nurse", ( I'm neither young or a nurse yet ) but my older patients 65+ yrs always are suprised when I tell them I'm married and have three kids, the looks on their faces are priceless. So far they have all assumed I just graduated H.S.and think I'm about 17-20 yrs old. Since I'll be turning 33 in March, I actually embrace the compliment I think as you get older, people just tend to look younger to you.
    When I was young, I was never taken seriously either. I remember being 18 and people would guess me to be 14. It used to make me so mad. I'd answer the phone or door and people would ask If my parents were home :angryfire
    I know what you're feeling, just be patient it really gets better. Soon enough you'll have some young punk guess your age to be about 5 yrs older than you are, and then you'll be worried that you look or act too old! :chuckle
  9. by   Drysolong
    There's always a flip side to every coin. I am 54 and an LPN student, so people tend to look at me as if I am an experienced nurse, when I am truly a novice. Years ago, I was sometimes taken aback when I was attended to by a young nurse or However now, especially as a nursing student, I am very accepting of people of all ages in the medical profession.

    In my clinicals just recently, my charge nurse was a recent graduate, BSN. I think she was about 24 and very young looking. She was nervous, until we convinced her that she knew so much more than us. I didn't consider her age, just that she was a knowledgeable resource provided for me.

    So, don't let the ISM's get you down. There will always be plenty of them.
  10. by   perfectbluebuildings
    yep, at 22, people think I am usually "no older than 14!!" And too, they ask my age as if it is their business, and usually think I must be very innocent because I look so young. But then when I take care of their kids and act professional and answer their concerns, they treat me much better. I guess it's just perception but it does get old. As does the line "you'll be sooo happy for it when you're MY age!!" or whatever, though I know it meant well, just hear it so often.
  11. by   angel337
    ten years from now you will take the young comments as a compliment. but seriously, i know how you feel. i graduated nursing school at 29 and people still think i am much younger. fine by me. i also get the "are you a LPN". i truly don't know why. i just brush it off. people will think what they want. i have a friend who is a 26 yo doc, so she gets the double whammy like "i can't believe you are a doctor". be proud of your accomplishments, there are many people who wish they were in your shoes. i'm impressed by any young person who knows what they want and go after it. good luck with everything.
  12. by   TweetiePieRN
    Quote from MeghanRN this has been bothering me a lot, but yesterday I had an encounter with a PT and now this is starting to get to me. Just a little rant..and I'd like to know if anyone else feels this way and how you deal with it.

    Little backround on me: I'm 22, and def. look younger then I am. I worked for 2 years as a student nurse aide, 3 months in PA as a RN on a peds/med-surg floor, and now im here in Texas doing Peds home health. I have had my fair share of experiences, and although I know im not an expert, I'm most certainly not a novice. bothers me when people never take me seriously that I'm a nurse.

    Yesterday I took my patient to PT, and the PT and I were talking, and she asks about me and my backround. And so I tell her, and shes like " Oh you must be a LPN then.." (NO disrespect meant to LPNS here WHATSOEVER!) No ma'am, I'm an RN, yes I have my bachelors, yes I went to school for 4 years, and yes I have experience ( Now i didnt tell her that, just told her that I was an RN, but thats what I wanted to say).. she just seemed so shocked..and shes not the only one who is shocked that I'm a RN. She was kind of just the last straw since this wasnt the first time..

    I've had lots of people seem to not take me seriously that I'm a nurse, and this frustrates me. I just hate when people find out I'm a nurse and say- not ask- they say "you must be an LPN then". I worked hard for my bachelors..ugh..just ask me what I am and i'll gladly tell u! With each new job..I pretty much get asked how old I am every time...

    So..after this rant, since this has been on my mind all day..I feel better.
    Does anyone else experience this? I want to be taken seriously..not looked at like I must not know much about nursing since I look younger and therefore have no experience. I'm really just curious as to opinions and what you all think..

    I dont want to stir anything up,but I'm just frustrated and needed to vent. thanks for responses in advance!
    I am 26 and I have been told I look 19 or 20. I am only 4'11" so that makes it even more believable that I am a "Child" LOL! I do get people asking who their nurse is and I tell them it is me. Then they get this puzzled look on their face and say "You are an RN?". I have to assure them and then show them my badge to prove it.

    When they ask me how old I am...I just say with a smile "I am older than you think". It used to get on my nerves too, but just let it go. I would much rather them think I look younger than to think I look 15 yrs older!! There happens to another nurse I work with. She is 3 yrs younger than me, but looks quite a bit older than my real age!

    How long have you been an RN? If you have been a nurse under a year, then you are still technically a novice nurse. There is nothing wrong with this. No one looks down on your skills. We all have to start somewhere. Over time, you will get more assertive and it will get to the point that how people perceive your youth will bother you less and less. Good luck!
  13. by   elizabells
    For all the times I've had to hear it, I d%^n well better look thirty when I'm fifty!

    And can I tell you how tired I am of getting hit on by fourteen year old boys bc they think I'm around their age. There is something so unaccountably creepy about it!