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Is 63 to old to start nursing school?

Hi! I'm 60 years old and I have always wanted to be a nurse. At my current pace, I will be able to apply for the ADN program in 3 years. Is 63 too old? Does anyone know someone that age that has been accepted into a program?

Thank you!

You are going to get all kind of answers from “live your dreeeaaammm” to “are you crazy”. Let me drill it down for you. I am 54 years old and have been a nurse for 31 years. I am a slim, active distance cyclist, expert downhill skier, sailboat racer, carpenter and I am tired. Bone tired. Go to bed at 7pm tired. My job exhausts me even though I love it. And it gets harder every year. If you are an average person you’ll likely feel the same. And you will start with a significant disadvantage. Ageism is alive and well in the nursing world. It doesn’t affect those of us with experience as much but you might find finding a job difficult. The jobs best suited for those of us who are slowing down a little require experience which you won’t have. I’m sure there are a few out there who managed to find the perfect job but they are outliers. Depending on your location having an ADN might also be an issue. I hate to sound so negative but I would be doing you a great disservice to encourage you without also giving you a dose of reality. If you choose to move forward with your plan we, of course, will offer you all the support we can give but please think long and hard about it before making your decision. There are many outlets for helping others that don’t require a great deal of time and money or the risk of it all being for nothing.

Rionoir specializes in Neuro ICU.

Are you wanting to do this to fulfill your bucket list or because you need to save for retirement? If you just want to do it to do it then more power to you. If you need to do something for retirement then be very careful that you don’t waste several years in school only to realize that the physical demands are too much, including clinicals for school. Not only that, but you are losing several years of compounded interest on money you could be investing from another choice.

Just something to think about 🙂

Leader25 specializes in NICU.

Lovely to have dreams but reality is important,if you are independently wealthy,have plenty of free time and just want to fulfill a dream without needing this for a paycheck or future financial security then go for it.

If you are like the majority of us working to put food on the table,roof over our heads then no do not do it,Find some other way to feel useful. So sorry had to be frank,best of luck.

bitter_betsy specializes in Emergency / Disaster.

Is it possible - yes - totally. Nursing school is physically and emotionally demanding.

I am not a spring chicken. I have a child the same age as most of my cohort and I'm pretty sure that I'm the oldest. I can get by on 4-5 hours of sleep per night but I do get tired (I do have a 1.5 hr commute each way and that doesn't help any either). I also have a job waiting tables 1 day per week so that I have a little bit of income. I get sick fairly easy and missing clinical isn't an option (I get 1 makeup day and sometimes I have to pay $250 to make up that day). These dang white shoes are my nemesis - I'm having a rough time finding white shoes that don't hurt my feet.

They physical and emotional stress of nursing school is no joke. I don't know why it is that way. I honestly thought people were wimps until I experienced it myself. There is just nothing like it. I've never had anxiety and now I do... My initial goal was to keep my GPA above a 3.6 so I didn't have to take the GRE to get into PhD school. Now my goal is to graduate with the rest of my cohort.

Before you make a decision, determine if you are physically capable. Are you on any medications that give you brain fog? Do you have problems moving 12-14 hours at a time? Can you help turn a patient or catch them if they are falling? I think most job requirements state that you need to be able to lift 50# (check that - I know there is a requirement but I don't know the specific number). Do you have to eat on time every X number of hours? Do you have to sleep X number of hours? Even if you don't want to work in the hospital setting, most clinicals are based in hospitals.

My last bit of advice is to make sure you check the market where you are and make sure there are jobs available. If your particular market is saturated, I wouldn't consider it unless you are willing to move.

I know this isn't an easy choice and I'm sorry that it seems we aren't being totally supportive. I do wish you the best and I'll certainly answer any questions you may have.

15 hours ago, Wuzzie said:

You are going to get all kind of answers from “live your dreeeaaammm” to “are you crazy”. Let me drill it down for you. I am 54 years old and have been a nurse for 31 years. I am a slim, active distance cyclist, expert downhill skier, sailboat racer, carpenter and I am tired. Bone tired. Go to bed at 7pm tired. My job exhausts me even though I love it. And it gets harder every year. If you are an average person you’ll likely feel the same. And you will start with a significant disadvantage. Ageism is alive and well in the nursing world. It doesn’t affect those of us with experience as much but you might find finding a job difficult. The jobs best suited for those of us who are slowing down a little require experience which you won’t have. I’m sure there are a few out there who managed to find the perfect job but they are outliers. Depending on your location having an ADN might also be an issue. I hate to sound so negative but I would be doing you a great disservice to encourage you without also giving you a dose of reality. If you choose to move forward with your plan we, of course, will offer you all the support we can give but please think long and hard about it before making your decision. There are many outlets for helping others that don’t require a great deal of time and money or the risk of it all being for nothing.

Thank you so much for taking the time to respond to my questions. You have given me a lot to think about. All the best to you.

Edited by Mallory Sunset

12 hours ago, Rionoir said:

Are you wanting to do this to fulfill your bucket list or because you need to save for retirement? If you just want to do it to do it then more power to you. If you need to do something for retirement then be very careful that you don’t waste several years in school only to realize that the physical demands are too much, including clinicals for school. Not only that, but you are losing several years of compounded interest on money you could be investing from another choice.

Just something to think about 🙂

Thank you for your feedback. Take care!

10 hours ago, Leader25 said:

Lovely to have dreams but reality is important,if you are independently wealthy,have plenty of free time and just want to fulfill a dream without needing this for a paycheck or future financial security then go for it.

If you are like the majority of us working to put food on the table,roof over our heads then no do not do it,Find some other way to feel useful. So sorry had to be frank,best of luck.

Thank you. You have made several good points. All the best to you!

10 hours ago, bitter_betsy said:

Is it possible - yes - totally. Nursing school is physically and emotionally demanding.

I am not a spring chicken. I have a child the same age as most of my cohort and I'm pretty sure that I'm the oldest. I can get by on 4-5 hours of sleep per night but I do get tired (I do have a 1.5 hr commute each way and that doesn't help any either). I also have a job waiting tables 1 day per week so that I have a little bit of income. I get sick fairly easy and missing clinical isn't an option (I get 1 makeup day and sometimes I have to pay $250 to make up that day). These dang white shoes are my nemesis - I'm having a rough time finding white shoes that don't hurt my feet.

They physical and emotional stress of nursing school is no joke. I don't know why it is that way. I honestly thought people were wimps until I experienced it myself. There is just nothing like it. I've never had anxiety and now I do... My initial goal was to keep my GPA above a 3.6 so I didn't have to take the GRE to get into PhD school. Now my goal is to graduate with the rest of my cohort.

Before you make a decision, determine if you are physically capable. Are you on any medications that give you brain fog? Do you have problems moving 12-14 hours at a time? Can you help turn a patient or catch them if they are falling? I think most job requirements state that you need to be able to lift 50# (check that - I know there is a requirement but I don't know the specific number). Do you have to eat on time every X number of hours? Do you have to sleep X number of hours? Even if you don't want to work in the hospital setting, most clinicals are based in hospitals.

My last bit of advice is to make sure you check the market where you are and make sure there are jobs available. If your particular market is saturated, I wouldn't consider it unless you are willing to move.

I know this isn't an easy choice and I'm sorry that it seems we aren't being totally supportive. I do wish you the best and I'll certainly answer any questions you may have.

Thanks for taking time out of you busy schedule to answer my questions. Good luck on your nursing journey. I know you are going to graduate with your cohort. You've got this!

BeenThereGoingThere specializes in Critical Care and Community Health. Dabbled in Cor.

Off subject I know, but at 62, and stronger than most my age; I wear SAS for white shoes. If my feet cramp, as if there was plantar fasciitis, I switch to Dansko. The firm support and the “roller” soles stop the cramp. But they are hard, so SAS becomes my go to. This message is for bitter_betsy in above post. 😀

FullGlass specializes in Adult and Geriatric Primary Care.

I honestly think you are reaching the upper limit, age-wise. I started my ABSN at age 53. It was the hardest thing I have ever done. We did have a student in her 60s and she dropped out. You can certainly do, it but think carefully and be honest with yourself.

1. Can you handle an intense academic experience? Nursing school is HARD. The hardest thing for me was going back to school full-time after being an expert in my previous field. School is harder than a lot of people think, and emotionally it is jarring suddenly knowing nothing.

2. Physically, nursing school is demanding at time, during the clinical rotations. Are you in good physical health?

Once you get through nursing school, there are nursing jobs that are less physically demanding than bedside nursing, such as school nurse, research study RN, primary care, public health, and case management. You could also consider teaching once you get some experience.

Good luck!

3 minutes ago, FullGlass said:

Once you get through nursing school, there are nursing jobs that are less physically demanding than bedside nursing, such as school nurse, research study RN, primary care, public health, and case management.

These are the jobs I mentioned earlier. Most, if not all, require some degree of experience. Some more than others. That first year of bedside to get experience is a killer, even for the youngsters.

bitter_betsy specializes in Emergency / Disaster.

6 hours ago, BeenThereGoingThere said:

Off subject I know, but at 62, and stronger than most my age; I wear SAS for white shoes. If my feet cramp, as if there was plantar fasciitis, I switch to Dansko. The firm support and the “roller” soles stop the cramp. But they are hard, so SAS becomes my go to. This message is for bitter_betsy in above post. 😀

Thank you - Danskos hurt my feet something awful - well truthfully the 2.0 did. I bought them and gave them away. They only have the white in Professional. I love my ABEOs but they don't make them in white. After my final today I stopped at the store to pick up leather paint... Gonna try painting/dying an old pair of my favorites. I have plantar fasciitis so my feet are kind of particular. I don't think I've tried SAS though. I'll have to look into those. Thank you Kindly!!

just enjoy your life! why go back to school and get all that headaches only to stress yourself out. Unless you are open to any kind of challenges in life, then go for it!

5 hours ago, FullGlass said:

I honestly think you are reaching the upper limit, age-wise. I started my ABSN at age 53. It was the hardest thing I have ever done. We did have a student in her 60s and she dropped out. You can certainly do, it but think carefully and be honest with yourself.

1. Can you handle an intense academic experience? Nursing school is HARD. The hardest thing for me was going back to school full-time after being an expert in my previous field. School is harder than a lot of people think, and emotionally it is jarring suddenly knowing nothing.

2. Physically, nursing school is demanding at time, during the clinical rotations. Are you in good physical health?

Once you get through nursing school, there are nursing jobs that are less physically demanding than bedside nursing, such as school nurse, research study RN, primary care, public health, and case management. You could also consider teaching once you get some experience.

Good luck!

Thank you so much for sharing your experience and information. Take care!

1 hour ago, Tseringurung said:

just enjoy your life! why go back to school and get all that headaches only to stress yourself out. Unless you are open to any kind of challenges in life, then go for it!

Thank you. Take care!

Neo Soldier has 5 years experience as a BSN, RN.

On 8/11/2019 at 3:42 PM, Wuzzie said:

My job exhausts me even though I love it. And it gets harder every year. If you are an average person you’ll likely feel the same.

On 8/11/2019 at 3:42 PM, Wuzzie said:

There are many outlets for helping others that don’t require a great deal of time and money

Nursing school is stressful to begin with and so is nursing as a career. I agree with @Wuzzie. Consider volunteering. That way, you can help others without having to go back to school.

I started out in my late forties. I find nursing to be exhausting, both mentally and physically. I, too, feel you are already hitting the upper age limit. Once you get through nursing school, unfortunately, it will be difficult to find a job.

If your heart is truly set on doing it and you can afford the investment of time, energy, and money, then go for it.

VegGal specializes in LTC Management, Community Nursing, HHC.

A woman in my LPN program many years ago was in her 60s when she started the program with us. If I remember correctly, she was at least 65. She was very diligent with all her coursework and clinicals, always on time, always did well in all our tests, and graduated at the top of our class.

I left the state soon after the program, and I heard that she worked as an LPN at a local doctor's office for about a year and decided to retire for good. I don't know if there was more to that story, but at any rate, she was probably atl east 68 by then. Maybe all she wanted to do was achieve her dream of becoming a nurse, maybe the job was too much for her. Either way, I have no idea, but she did go through the program and do really well, so it's not too late for you, but only you know if you'll be able to actually work as a nurse.

Does that matter right now though? As long as you won't have to take out student loans, or borrow the money some other way for school, I think you should give it a try. You never know how you'll do until you actually do it! All the best to you.

FolksBtrippin specializes in Psychiatry, Pediatrics, Public Health.

We had a student in our cohort who was in her 60s. I think the bigger problem for her was that she had trouble with her knees and was obese.

She failed one class about halfway through and then had to take a leave of absence but she retook the class and graduated one year behind me.

I don't know what she's doing now.

There are many little pockets of nursing that are not as physically and emotionally demanding but they are not as glamorous as hospital nursing. Pediatric home health, developmental disabilities, clinic. These are specialties a new grad can try and are a little more low key, if you're looking to fulfill a desire to care for people without being pushed to exhaustion.

Best wishes!

traumaRUs specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU.

Its a very personal choice. Nursing is a second career for me - I became an RN in my mid-30's with a young family. I went back to grad school in my late 40's and have never regretted it. I'm in my 60's now and in my current job, I have absolutely no issues keeping up. However, I realized that the life of a level 1 ED that saw >100,000 visits/year was not going to be my place in my 60's.

I wouldn't discourage you, but I would encourage you to be realistic. Are you up to being on your feet for 13 hours/day? Can you sleep during the day? Night shift is typically where newer nurses land.

For me, nursing school wasn't that bad - I really compartmentalized my life then: studied when I had time, took care of my kids and worked a full time job. I am not a 4.0 student but I passed everything and in the end thats the goal.

Best wishes on your decision. Please let us know what you decide

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