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Lots of Experience A Long Time Ago

by Nurse Beth Nurse Beth, MSN (Columnist) Educator Columnist Innovator Expert Nurse

Specializes in Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho. Has 30 years experience.

Dear Nurse Beth

I am 61 years old and have not worked in 16 years. I have been active volunteering at Free Clinics and in Special Procedures at my local hospital, while continuing my education in order to earn my BSN/MSN at UVA. (I am an ADN). I have 25 years experience, all in Critical Care areas. I am having trouble getting hired at my new location in Winchester, VA. I made it to one interview and it seemed to be going very well, but did not get the job. Can you advise? What can I do to make myself marketable?

Dear How to Be Marketable,

You are facing several challenges, none of which are insurmountable, but you need strategy and persistence.

You have solid experience, but it was 16 years ago. To remedy that, consider taking a refresher course if possible. Your resume has a large unemployment gap. Highlight your volunteer work, and skills utilized.

You are sixty one and competing against twenty year olds. While some employers value the maturity and life experience of older workers, many do not. Read Ageism in Nursing for some tips.

The fact that you landed an interview is encouraging. It says that your resume did what it was supposed to-got you an interview.

The fact that you didn't land the job speaks to your interview. Be sure and hone your interview skills. Read How to answer What's Your Greatest Weakness? and Tell Us About Yourself

Activate your network and let everyone know you are looking for a job. See if your volunteer jobs can parlay into paying roles.

Best wishes,

Nurse Beth

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

Related Article:

How to Land a Job


Most hospitals would be more inclined to consider employing you if you took a refresher course to show your motivation.

Many hospitals insist on a refresher course after a five year hiatus!

In fact many hospitals would consider a 16 yr hiatus means you are totally unqualified simply because of the tremendous changes

in most aspects of nursing in that period of time.

The cost involved to get you up to speed, unless they are desperate for help, would be prohibitive.

At age 62 a hospital training you would not be cost effective....and hospitals always consider the bottom line..

Most hospitals would prefer younger nurses who would have a longer work span to recoup the cost of training.

You may have better luck taking a refresher course in Telemetry, Dialysis or applying to Skilled Nsg, Assisted Living facilities, Walk in Clinics or Out Patient


The vast drug changes, medication procedures, machines you'd have to learn etc etc will be overwhelming in a hospital setting.

Good luck on your journey and don't get discouraged if that's what you really want to do.