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Help I'm Not a Young Grad

Nurse Beth   (799 Views 5 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.

14 Followers; 88 Articles; 226,932 Visitors; 1,779 Posts


Dear Nurse Beth,

I am a new nurse and just about to finish my BSN. I find that employers do not want to hire me as I am not a typical young nursing student.

Dear Not Typical,

Congrats on graduating soon!

You will find a job. By "not typical young nursing student" I take it to mean older student. 

You can't change other people, but you can change yourself. Not your age, of course, but don't focus your thoughts on your age. Project energy and vitality at your interviews. Sit up straight and be proud of the life experience and skills you've acquired.

Never, ever allude to anything derogatory about yourself or you age. Some applicants joke about being older, or even point out that they are not "techy" and why anyone would do this I do not know. It is not funny or appealing, it is a touch sad.

Mention your proficiency with Epic or Cerner (depending on which platform they use) if able. If you have had customer service, Lean Sigma, or organizational excellence training in previous roles, mention those.

If you have ties to the community, include those, such as owning a home or having family in the area. That all says stability and loyalty.

Think of yourself as a catch. You have maturity, you have your BSN, you've developed a work ethic, and depending on you age, you're not going to get pregnant 🙂.

Related articles

Ageism in Nursing

Age Discrimination

Best wishes, 

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

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llg has 40 years experience as a PhD, RN and works as a Nursing Professional Development + Academic Facult.

5 Followers; 57,822 Visitors; 13,015 Posts

Why do you assume that it is your age that is holding you back?   Ageism is a convenient excuse when there may be other reasons you are having trouble finding a job.   Have someone who is very knowledgeable about you local job market review your resume, do a practice interview, etc. to make sure you are not over-looking some other possibilities.

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magnolia nurse has 40 years experience and works as a Nurse.

5,398 Visitors; 143 Posts

go to a hospital that has a nurse residency program.. hope that helps..

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290 Visitors; 43 Posts

I am 35 and graduated last year. There were several students older than me— one in her 50s— in my class. All of us had jobs at graduation (excellent jobs; one is in L+D which was her dream). I don’t think your difficulty is related to age. Are you in an area where it’s just generally hard to find a nursing job?  Do you get nervous and not interview well?  Or maybe it’s just plain bad luck. I encourage you to think about factors other than age that may be at play here. 

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not.done.yet has 8 years experience as a MSN, RN and works as a Professional Development Specialist.

4 Followers; 43,454 Visitors; 5,301 Posts

I was 41 when I graduated nursing school. I didn't have trouble finding work.

I am deeply involved in onboarding in my current role. The physical condition of the applicant does matter. Age doesn't factor in; however, if the person doesn't seem fit enough or energetic enough to handle the job they are applying for, it is a factor. It bears noting that this has very little to do with weight/age and much to do with the energy the person brings to the table during the interview process.

I do not know you, so I don't know if this is a factor, but it goes without saying that older applicants often creak and moan more than younger ones simply by virtue of the realities of aging. Be sure you are portraying yourself with energy and enthusiasm. Bright eyes, bright smile, happy demeanor, engaged methods of speaking. If you are getting interviews and not getting selected, then it is due to something in the interview process. If you aren't getting interviews at all it is something in your resume, something about the positions you are applying for (ie: looking for experienced nurses not new grads), something in the geographical location you live in or something to do with the specialty you are trying to break into. You may need to broaden your horizons, have someone look over your applications and possibly do some mock interviews and get brutally honest feedback.

Good luck.

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