Midlife Career Change - Need Advice!

Nurses Career Support


Hi Everyone,

I'd love to hear from others who have chosen nursing as a midlife career. I have a BA in English and a Master's in Counseling Psychology.

I worked extensively with battered women and sexual assault survivors. I'm interested in SANE,

Psych. Nursing, ER work. Tell me your story! Is it too late? (I'm a young 40ish)!

Long Term Care Columnist / Guide

VivaLasViejas, ASN, RN

108 Articles; 9,984 Posts

Specializes in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych.

It is soooooo NOT too late! The only time it's too late is when you're pushing up the petunias. I did my thing later in life too, graduating when I was 38, and it was worth every minute I waited. Go for it!!:D :D


90 Posts

MJLRN97 -- how did you proceed, what credentials do you have and what is your specialty -- what would you do differently? Thanks again!

Long Term Care Columnist / Guide

VivaLasViejas, ASN, RN

108 Articles; 9,984 Posts

Specializes in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych.

Hi, alphafe..:)

You're welcome, and BTW, welcome to the board as well!

I'm an associate degree RN with 6 1/2 yrs. experience. It took me four years of school, since I wanted to get all my pre-reqs out of the way before going into the nursing program itself and I'd been out of school so long that nothing I'd taken was relevant. I also had to take remedial math (I couldn't even do long division!).

It was a long hard road, but I've never regretted doing it, even though I will be paying student loans for the rest of my days.....one word of advice, be assertive about applying for grants and scholarships!! I had no choice but to borrow thousands of dollars since we were very poor back in those days, but of the few scholarships I applied for, I received every one, and I should've worked harder at that.

I've worked in long-term care, assisted living, and hospital nursing as well as LTC management (THAT was a mistake, as I was never meant to be anything but a good bedside nurse and teacher). At present I work part-time on the medical/surgical floor at the local hospital where I was a CNA during nursing school (BTW, if you can do this while you're going through school, it gives you a big advantage). I also float to the obstetrics unit quite often......I don't do labor & delivery, but I take care of new moms and babies, recover C-section patients and so on. I love it. Med/surg is very hard on me physically (I'm almost 45 and have some orthopedic issues) but rewarding enough that I plan to keep at it until my body says "no more". At that point I'll probably transfer to critical care, which takes more skills and tends to be and less labor-intensive (except when you're dealing with a bariatric ventilator patient who weighs 650 pounds and has to be turned every hour or two so he doesn't get bed sores).

Hope this info is helpful. Good luck to you!:)

Absolutely not too late! I am 50 and will get my pin and RN a couple of months before I hit 51--we "older" nurses, even if we are new, have credibility...

I got my BA in psych minored in social work and collected a masters in Human Relations (don't ask--and no it's not about personnel....) and am currently an LMFT--I thought psych nursing would be a shoo-in for me, but I find I'm in love with my med surg and ICU patients--especially the little old ones. You will find you use those care giving, nurturing and independence-fostering skills no matter what area of nursing you work in.

In fact, I didn't particularly care for my psych clinical rotation. And it seemed that most of what the RN's did on the psych unit was pass out meds and document patient activities.

About the financial aid--absolutely look at that! My hospital presently reimburses tuition after six months of employment (even for PRN's who might work one shift a pay period!) and will begin reimbursing tuition EVEN FOR NEW HIRES in January. They are recruiting people who don't even have their pre-reqs done, and will pay tuition in advance for 100 new students--so long as they work for the hospital for 2 years after graduating, then the loans are forgiven. What new nurse doesn't mind not having to look for a job! :)

Employers like the VA also will pay off student loans for you over the course of 2 years.

If you are "poor" you may qualify for financial aid during school, but if you saved along the way, get ready for a little shock--you will be eligible for NOTHING through the school (or the US Dept of Ed).

Definitely if you feel "called," please come join us! (There's also a thread about being called.... you might find it interesting.) BTW--it's nice to find another one of us therapist types in here.... Welcome!


90 Posts

Wow! Now I'm jazzed! And reassured/confident.

What great responses!

I love the persistence of everyone on these boards

RE: financial aid, if dh earns what the powers- that-be deem too much, will I be DQ'd?''

RE: qualifications, should I get my coursework done "wherever I can?"

i.e., are employers looking for "status" nursing schools/programs, etc.?

Chris: We have a lot in common -- I qualified for the MFCC (=LMFT) in California, but knew I would be coming east when my daughter was born so did not sit for the exam. I had a great job working with battered women and logged a lot of hours, one of my dearest collegues and friends was a RN who we hired as a consultant to evaluate women in the shelter. She could also do private practice counseling under her

RN credential.

RE: "Definitely if you feel "called," please come join us! (There's also a thread about being called.... you might find it interesting.)"

I started that thread!

Specializes in ICU, CM, Geriatrics, Management.

No way you're too old!

Don't even think about it!


17 Posts

Ok who is this joker Larry?????

I have seen nothing but positivity on this baord!!! Rude, rude, rude, nice manners buddy.

I agree, I love that quote "Never too late, unless you are pushing up petunias!." Remember tomorrow is another chance to turn it all around :)

I had lots of respect when getting my undergrad for people in my classes who were older and making career changes, they always had so much more to contribute and add in class and it helped us! Good luck!


90 Posts

I started this thread before I remembered a bit of graffiti from a college bathroom wall. Mine was a really competitive place and students vented

via the walls (the "message boards" of the day!). One day, I read this scrawl: "I really want to go to law school but I'll be *30!* by the time I'm done!*

To which a wise responder wrote: "You'll be 30 anyway..."

*Can you imagine anyone thinking of 30 as being old? What I wouldn't give!

After I submitted that last post, I thought, gee the name seems familiar!!

You can still sit for the MFT if you want. I lucked out--grandfathered in. You might consider finding a state that doesn't license MFT's yet, move there and wait for the legislation! In the meantime, you could practice!

Also, I like what you said about billing for counseling under her RN. I cannot be a provider for Medicare, and yet many who seek services are elderly or disabled.... Nice to know I'll still have the private practice option.

(Someplace here there is a thread about entrepreneurs.....)

Love ya!



33 Posts

I am 45 yrs old and just graduated in June,2003 as a LPN, never thought I could do it. Made me feel good about myself that the older brain still works.


356 Posts

I'm 44 and finishing my pre-reqs. this year. I hope to get into an ADN program next year.

This topic is now closed to further replies.

By using the site, you agree with our Policies. X