Never too 'old' to go back to school and advance your skills

Nurses with years of clinical experience may feel a bit overwhelmed at the thought of studying or testing again, especially if it has been a number of years. Let’s take a look at some reasons for reluctance and the benefits of going back for a higher education. Nurses Announcements Archive Article


Never too 'old' to go back to school and advance your skills

How Old is Too Old?

Truly, no age is too old to return to school. There is always time to learn something new, expand your mind, and better yourself - even if just for yourself. There are no rules that apply after having more education. What you choose to do with your higher degree is completely up to you. Afterall, there is no time like the present. There is little difference in deciding to head back to school in any decade of life. While education may be easy to put off, like anything in life, there is never an ideal time. Our schedules fill up and life gets busy. Finding time to better yourself and achieve your own goals is imperative. Make the most of the time you have been given and seize the moment.

Addressing Fears

Getting older can come with a few bumps in the road that have the potential to affect learning. Can I see the powerpoint presentation from here, hear the professor, type fast enough? There are ways to work around all of these issues. If attending in person, sit close enough to the action to be comfortable for all of your needs. Online programs may be a great alternative, especially if any social anxiety exists surrounding 'fitting in' for your age, and many have programs in place for extra assistance when needed. A common concern among adults returning for education via online programs is that they may not be 'tech savvy' enough. If you are willing to learn, there are plenty of people and tutorials out there to help you. These programs are designed to be self- paced. You are responsible for completing the work by specific known due dates. You can take as many courses as your personal and professional schedule allows for. You are the captain of your own ship and its success depends solely on you.

Can I Still Learn?

Many may wonder if they are still able to learn at a higher education level, especially if it has been a number of years since they last attended school. These concerns are normal and expressed by many returning later in life. If you are interested and have the desire to work hard, anything is possible. Knowing how you best learn can alleviate some of this anxiety and prepare you ahead of time. Are you an auditory learner? Maybe more visual? Hands on? Being aware of your preferred style can put you ahead of the pack and allow you to tailor your curriculum to suit your personal needs. For some, yes... maybe you actually do need more time to process information than you did in your younger years. That's okay. Acknowledge this, adjust your learning/studying style as you see fit, and continue on!


Some considering higher education later in life may express concern regarding financial return on investment and time left in life to work with a higher degree. If your quest for a higher degree is strictly job related, yes, maybe earlier is better. However, having more education is a benefit and certainly not a hinderance. You will gain a new experience, meet new people and learn many new things - some of which may even spark a new interest all together. All of these incredible benefits can only open doors for future opportunities.


Seeking higher education can benefit anyone at any age. The benefits of such are not exclusive to those of any one generation. Young and old, experienced and novice can all enjoy the excitement of exercising the brain and leaving class now knowing something you did not know previously. Learning a new perspective or method can change the way you care for patients and your career goals ahead. Getting back into the world of education can widen your social circle and extend your network with those in your field. Overall, the potential benefits far outweigh the fears surrounding age and education. So what are you waiting for? Stretch those brain muscles!

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I wanted to go back for my BSN but yes my age made the decision not to. I am 59 years old LPN 2005 to 2014 Rn current Associates degree. First Still paying loans any more loans I will be divorsed. Also On line would be fine if it were only test I cannot do papers APA and all that. Also not too coumputer savy so if the computer goes done I am in trouble. SO I feel the young students keeping on going and God be with you

Specializes in Pediatrics Telemetry CCU ICU.

I have been an LPN for 30 years. I was accepted in January into the LPN to RN transition program at my local State College. I will be graduating in December. I am 51 years old. I paid cash for this program. I also have everything necessary for my BSN except for the core nursing classes. I plan on not skipping a beat. I am going directly for the BSN after NCLEX. Not to brag, but clinically I have a lot of hospital experience and I am way ahead of the younger people in my class academically as well. I am a dedicated A student. There were doubts from my instructor the first few weeks into the program. I told her that I had at least a good 20 years in me. I tried retiring and I was bored and missed nursing.

Julie, i am 62 and finished my BSN a few years ago. Nursing is my second career but I have been an RN for over 20 years. IT was extremely hard for me to go back to an online program. The entire program consisted of being able to write papers and responses in APA format. You had to learn how to access and navigate their online classroom and there was always a deadline for submitting responses and papers. During the program you had to submit many PPt presentations, Voice Threads, and papers, papers, papers! A few of the classes were tedius but I did enjoy their Public Health Nursing class because the assignment took you into an interactive virtual city where your nurse avatar explored every aspect of that community. This online BSN proram was geared toward working adults and I felt most of the professors were kind and sympathetic to your stress level. I Would say if you had computer savvy children or husband to help you, you could finish the program. It took me 18 months going back to back classes and working full time to finish. The school gave me a military discount and my employer paid $7,000. I ended up paying around $3,000 out of pocket. I am happy I finished Summa Cum Laude but it took a lot out of me physically and emotionally during that time. I'm now able to keep my home and body in shape and get back to enjoying life again:)