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Is 63 to old to start nursing school?

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by Mallory Sunset Mallory Sunset (Member)

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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!

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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. 

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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 🙂 

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Leader25 has 35 years experience.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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!

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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!

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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! 

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BeenThereGoingThere is a BSN and specializes in Critical Care and Community Health. Dabbled in Cor.

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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.  😀

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FullGlass has 1 years experience as a BSN, MSN.

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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!

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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.

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