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Ideal age of nursing students

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by dadaui66 dadaui66, CNA (New) New Pre-Student

Has <1 years experience.


I am a 39 year old second year nursing student.  To nurses and fellow nursing students, how old do you think a student entering nursing school for her or his RN degree should be?  What kind of personal characteristics should she or he have?

Nature_walker, ASN, BSN, RN

Specializes in psych. Has 5 years experience.

Are you engaged in the learning? Are you open to learning? Do advocate for yourself to get the most out of your learning? That's really all I care about. I don't care how old you are, as long as you are willing to learn and put in the work, I'll work with you. 

I don't think there's such a thing as an ideal age for nursing school. So long as you're physically capable of performing the clinical skills and are able and willing to put in the work for (and deal with the stress from) the endless exams and projects, I don't see how age is relevant.

On 10/31/2020 at 5:39 PM, dadaui66 said:

To nurses and fellow nursing students, how old do you think a student entering nursing school for her or his RN degree should be?

Chronological age doesn't matter (basic maturity does, though). Chronological age has to be one of, if not THE, least important thing(s) a prospective nursing student should be concerned about.

I do have a concern/personal opinion when others much older than you want to pursue nursing; like those approaching typical retirement age. My qualms are that nursing is brutal, it is not hand-holding much of the time, and age discrimination appears to be real. But I'm not there, and their life isn't mine, and especially if it's a bucket list thing for them and their life will not be complete without being able to call themselves a nurse, I still support them. 

At your age, if you have researched exactly what nursing in the real world consists of and have a plan for your life and the finances make sense (this is NOT a career to ruin your finances over or to conscript yourself to years to paying for it, IMO) --- go for it without reservations.

I'm 27, I thought I'm too old for nursing! glad I found this site. I have so much self doubt but I really want to pursue nursing. I'll work on my application this 2021 and hopefully to get back on track! 

I just turned 44 and I am waiting for a response on my nursing school applications!  So if I get in I would be starting at 44/graduating at 46 or 47 depending on the school. I have wanted to be a nurse for years, but my kids were too young and my mother in law was ill and I was caring for her before she died.

I spent that last two years taking my A, P, and Micro classes (plus some corequisites). There have been others in my classes over the last 2 years that were my age, or close to it, and also in their mid 20s. I think physical ability is important, but drive and maturity is also important.  I already have a b.s. (kinesiology) and an M.A. in a non-nursing field, but I am also going to get my BSN right away - if I get in to one of the schools I applied to.  One thing younger students don’t realize about us “older students” who also have young kids, is that we are great at time-management and organization!  I was one of the highest-scoring students in all of my classes, and scored in the 99th percentile on my TEAS exam, all while managing my preschool and K/1st grade kids, and a husband who works 60 hrs a week.  Motivation is a big factor!

** People do ask me why I don’t try to become an NP, but at my age I do want to get right to work. Perhaps if I was in my 30’s I would attempt to get my MSN or NP, but becoming an RN is my priority for now. 


Specializes in Student, Grad: ‘21.

I don’t think there’s a right or wrong age! My cohort has individuals aged 20 to 50s. It’s about the time in your life and if you’re able to dedicate yourself to the program and be adaptable to this learning style during a pandemic. 

JBudd, MSN

Specializes in Trauma, Teaching. Has 40 years experience.

Old enough to take personal responsibility, young enough to have an open mind and willingness to learn.  How many winters you've seen has nothing to do with maturity 🙂


I am a first semester nursing student at 31 years old. There are a few of us 30+ but most of my class is under 25. I can tell a difference in how we handle certain situations, but for the most part we all earned a spot and are working hard to complete our program and learn what we need to know.


I can honestly say that if I would have gone into nursing right out of school with no life experience, I would have made a terrible nurse. I was shy, didn’t advocate for myself and wasted a lot of time on stuff that didn’t matter. I am glad for the time I had to mature and work in different fields that prepared me for this path, but I know not everyone needs what I needed. I agree that maturity level matters much, much more than age.


Has 2 years experience.

I'm a 34-year-old male who is in his first semester of a 1-year accelerated BSN program. I had considered becoming a nurse for a number of years, but since I had no healthcare experience and going back to school felt so costly and time-consuming, I kept putting it off until I was laid off from my corporate job in Fall 2019.

Fast forward to today, and although I'm still just a student, I'm so happy with my decision to pursue this path. I've been learning so much. I'm loving the face-to-face interactions with patients in my clinicals. 

As with any field, it's not for everyone, but do not let age discourage you.  

I was blessed to have older, non traditional students in class with me. They had their life together or at least faked it well. It made me more grounded and not party like the typical young college student!  

SweetLizaBeth, BSN

Specializes in Hospice. Has 7 years experience.

On 12/21/2020 at 5:08 PM, raflmendoza said:

I'm 27, I thought I'm too old for nursing! glad I found this site. I have so much self doubt but I really want to pursue nursing.

I was exactly twice your age when I entered my LPN program, and 57 when I graduated with my BSN.  I graduated at the top of my class in both programs— not that it means anything in the real world. I’m a young 61 now, and I have 7 years of experience. Getting through school was the best decision I have ever made. I only wish I had started at 27. 
Get those applications in and get going on changing your destiny.