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Inspiration for the Older Student

by EyesForward EyesForward (Member)

Three years ago I threw caution to the wind and took Chemistry after dropping it as a 20-year old, and I made a surprise "A". It was the academic equivalent of jumping out of an airplane for me because of how bad I failed it the first time around. Trust me, I was lost. After Chemistry came other scary things like A&P, which I LOVED so much, and also made A's in. After that I slammed the rest of the requirements over the next couple semesters to try to get into the ADN program as quickly as possible. Yesterday I finished the first half of my 2nd semester in the R.N. program, and emotionally it was breakthrough day. Now I have no doubt I will make it all the way through this program, and I am entirely confident.

First semester was scary because even though I kept making the grades there were people dropping out all around me. After getting through that I'd heard 2nd semester was going to be the toughest of the 4. I just finished Med/Surg, and although the exams were difficult I have been hanging in there making awesome grades. Next week I start Maternal Child, and I have a bold confidence, and every lingering doubt about failure is gone. It's my life, and I'm doing it! So can you. :kiss

You are an inspiration to this 40 year old! You rock! Thank you so much for your post!! I got A&P down but Chemistry, specifically organic chemistry, scare the carbon out of me :rotfl:

Ooh, love this thread! Since I'm a midlife career changer, I can't WAIT to get going. I even Emailed the professor at my local community college to see if I could get into Fall A&P at this late date (much of the course is online so I feel I can get up to speed pretty quickly). Since I already have a BA and MS (not in nursing), I know a lot of my pre-reqs are there, but it was a loooooooong time ago.

I simply don't think I would have been a great nurse when I was young, even though I did do a lot of crisis intervention work. I've found a great direct entry program for people with degrees in other areas -- it's a three year program, but prepares one to sit for the RN exam after year one! YAY!


Hello Eyes, Maggie and Alpha!

I am an older student too. i am in my second semester first year. Academically I am holding my own(High C - Low B) and I am doing much much better in my clinicals this semester than last. But, I got to tell you the first semester clincals were a nightmare for me. I had never worked in health care before I started the nursing program, and I'm basically a High strung type of person (Type A - personality) Well my personality translates to nervousness and anxiety to other ppl around me including my instructor! That was not good. My clinical instructor tore into me on more than one occasion. Problem was she was never specific about what I was doing wrong - so, that made me more anxious which made her more upset - which made me more anxious -and the cycle went on and on until she blew up and called me an idiot! Yep she said I didn't get it and what was my problem! At this Blow up I found out what she was trying to get me to do was palpitate a B/P at the level of aucultation! In case you don't know It is impossible to do that. When I finally figured out what she wanted I asked her to show me how to do that (what I really wanted to do was throw her out the window). Well, naturally she couldn't do what she was demanding of me and all she would say was "You are right". That would have been alright for me EXCEPT she had put me on "Clinical Warning" before this happened. So, great she says I'm right but I have a PERMANENT warning on my record for something that is impossible to do. I decide to go to a higher level person to try to a) get the warning out of my file and b) to get switched to another clinical. Big mistake! I should have kept my mouth shut! The higher person puts a meeting together between me and her. During this so called meeting the higher up states "older students can't learn". This came from someone is is OLDER THAN ME! At that moment I realized that if I wanted to continue the program I'd have to bite my lip and take the insults.

Okay I know this is long, but I need to get it off my chest.

Well, I was not allowed to switch clinicals, the warning stayed on my file and I had to continue on with this instructor. Needless to say at my FIRST med pass I made a mistake I listed one med as given under the wrong date - Guess what I got? Yep another "Clinical Warning"! But I passed the clinical - The instructor tried to tell me how I needed to improve but after she told me I passed I didn't listen to anything else she said.

Now, what is the point of telling you this. Well, from what I understand the "old school" instructors feel that the only way to teach someone is to break their way of thinking and the only way to do that is to insult and belittle them. I don't think they get the connection between embitterness and insults. I am trying so hard to put the past aside and move on. Unfortunately the past keeps following me. When I started semester 2 the instructor wanted to know what I had experience with from the 1rst semester. Well dummy #1 only allowed me 2 med passes, 2 sterile dressing changes and 1d/c foley. Everyone else in my clinical had at least 1/2 dozen med passes, dressing changes, picc lines, peg tube feedings and the list goes on and on. Now , if you were the instructor what would that tell you?

The one bright/wonderful thing about all of this is semester #2 instructor is mentally stable! Maybe I will get thru this semester and be able to move on. But, I am checking into a LPN program just in case. I am too old to keep going thru this.

Sorry that I've ranted for so long. But I just had to get it off my chest. Please be careful with your first instructor make sure you show no fear or you will get eaten alive!



Specializes in Cardiac. Has 2 years experience.

Hello to all "vintage students"!

I too am an older student - 38 - and am half way through my second of 4 semesters in nusring school. I also still have to finish A and P, Micro, Sociology and Ethics along with nursing (Chem and Math are done!). On my second career as well. All my life I worked for my family's corporation which has just about "gone under". You know things are bad when you mother calls you the Friday evening before Christmas to tell you you've been laid off...... Thankfully I had been accepted to nursing school and was to start 2 weeks later in Jan. The only problem, I was going to have to do it w/out an income.

Through all my classes, prereq's and first semester I carried a huge class load and maintained a 4.0, and am doing the same thus far this semester, but clinicals, OMG! the last 2 weeks of the first half of the semester I had a H/A. I had made a few mistakes, we call them "U's" for unsatisfactory, but at our school the instructor usually tells you right away, or asks you, "what did you forget?" and you know right then and there were your mistake was. And then you are given written documentation of same mistake along with a note that states if you further clarification is needed please see instructor for additional assistance.

After reading some of these other posts and hearing students share stories of what things are like in their schools, I am convinced that I surely must attend the best nursing school in the country. Our instructors are wonderful, they remember what it is like being a student and are sympethetic, there is no "hidden agenda" to "wash us all out of the program" (that makes no financial sense for any educational institution), in fact on the first day of class the dean of nursing stated that the main focas of the faculty was to help students any way they could to get us through to RN. I have accesss to my clinical instructor almost 24 hrs a day (they ask that you don't phone them at home between 11pm and 7am) and have had a wonderful relationship with all instructors thus far. The worst thing about my nursing school, which is hospital based (the entire institution is contained in a hospital), is the fact that we students have no parking available except metered parking on the street, or free street parking several blocks away, which does provide for some morning and evening exercise.

But I digress, much power to you, the older student, may you prevail and be willing to assist the younger around you that do not possess your wisdom and maturity.

Well I am a 45 year old in my 7th week of ADN level 1 just started clinicals. The bad news for me is I failed my second test in nsrg 101 by two points got a 76. Nutrition 110 seems a problem too. Dont know if I can make this up. Can you be put out of the program before the quarter ends?

Well I am a 45 year old in my 7th week of ADN level 1 just started clinicals. The bad news for me is I failed my second test in nsrg 101 by two points got a 76. Nutrition 110 seems a problem too. Dont know if I can make this up. Can you be put out of the program before the quarter ends?

Chin up!! Failing one test doesn't mean you aren't going to make it!!! It just means you gotta work harder. We'll pulling for ya!!:)

Jo Dirt

Has 9 years experience.

Well I am a 45 year old in my 7th week of ADN level 1 just started clinicals. The bad news for me is I failed my second test in nsrg 101 by two points got a 76. Nutrition 110 seems a problem too. Dont know if I can make this up. Can you be put out of the program before the quarter ends?

What's up in nurtition? I've got the swing of that pretty good, it's chemistry I'm shaking over...

To Yose. What you describe is how Lateral Violence starts and pervades our profession. I have experienced similar situations, and even at the Master's level, that same sick philosophy contnues on. You'd think they'd be above such Lateral Violence toward a vulnerable population such as students, but I was told the object is to beat you down and build you back up. I just want their knowledge. I like who I am and certainly have no desire to be like those who perpetuate such sickness. Barinbass

in the military they call "lateral violence" boot camp. it is designed to wipe your slate clean and weed out behavioural problems that would be a danger to your self and your squad mates if allowed to continue. surely it has some value when dealing with younger people, and definitely when dealing with maladaptive personalities, but it has no place when dealing with older students who have already demonstrated constructive work ethic.

getting instructors to modify their model for such students without providing them a mechanism is a pipe dream. the only chance you have at avoiding it is in developing a one to one relationship with each of them early on in your coursework. take a moment and sit with them.

explain to them who you are and why you are changing careers. ask for help in making this change, but let them know that you expect to pull yourself up by your own bootstraps. doing this without appearing vain or condescending is difficult, but possible.

when i left a career that was paying six figures to go back to school so that i could "fix people, rather than tell people how to fix machines" i was careful to avoid salary discussion, and focused on ethic. it worked with the majority of instructors. those this tactic did not work on were beyond any kind of help, and should not have been in their positions, at all.


Specializes in E.D.. Has 2 years experience.

More inspiration from an old fogey...I am 40 years old and ONE FINAL AWAY FROM FINISHING NURSING SCHOOL!!!!! I have shed more tears, drank more caffeine, and leaned on more shoulders than I can count...but, it's almost over. So, to all you old timers out there, it CAN be done! Keep the faith!

::Goodie::, RN

Specializes in Cerified Wound Ostomy Continence Nurse. Has 6 years experience.

From another one of us who's doin' it "Old School"... it is SO SATISFYING to go back to school and have what it takes (the desire, the drive, the passion) to suit up and show up and succeed.

Seriously, I might have another degree in something ENTIRELY unrelated, but my satisfaction and my ability to commit are very high. I am very excited to be on this path.

Best of luck to all!

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