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New NP grad at 50 years old. Is the age an obstacle to be hired?

NP   (1,853 Views | 15 Replies)

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Hello everybody! 

I  am 46 year old WOCN with tons of experience in wound care which I truly love. However, the work is taking a tall on my body and I am beginning to wander if its time for me again to return to school to become an NP.  My concern is that by the time I am going to be done with the program and licensing, my age (49 -50, if all goes as planed) would be an interfering factor to getting hired.  Would love to hear your opinion and your experience  on the topic. (I am open to all fields of medicine practice, not just wound care, but probably would be a better fit for low stress area).

 

Thank you

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ArmaniX has 7 years experience as a MSN, APRN and specializes in Critical Care.

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Not an expert but I’m sure you’ve considered the benefits v cost of school ratio. How does this impact your planned retirement? 
 

I personally do not feel your age would hinder obtaining a job.. if may help from an assumption of age = wisdom. Research the field and available jobs / expected jobs for your area. Would you be willing to relocate? Depending on your longevity in your current career path, you may see a decrease or similar income. You will start at the bottom of the food chain once again. 

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I encountered age discrimination at 37, and ever since. From what I have seen as the prevailing attitude, age discrimination is going to be a factor no matter what you do. I would do as previously suggested. Seriously consider whether you can afford to make this change, especially if it does not pan out the way you would like. It might be a safer bet in the long run to seek a less strenuous RN position. Many NP end up working as RNs anyway. At least you would not be subject to the wasted time, effort, and expense of NP school when you need to be secure in your preparation for retirement.

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2 hours ago, NN2BVE said:

... Would love to hear your opinion and your experience  on the topic. (I am open to all fields of medicine practice, not just wound care, but probably would be a better fit for low stress area).

I was 58 when I finished my program and accepted an NP position.  I left advance practice ~6 months later, but my age was not a factor.

31 minutes ago, caliotter3 said:

I encountered age discrimination at 37, and ever since. From what I have seen as the prevailing attitude, age discrimination is going to be a factor no matter what you do. ...

This has not been my experience.  I was 40 when I graduated from my associate's program, and easily found a job.  Nor, have I had any issues with age discrimination since.

1 hour ago, ArmaniX said:

Not an expert but I’m sure you’ve considered the benefits v cost of school ratio. How does this impact your planned retirement? ...

This is excellent advice, and definitely  should be high on your list of considerations.

Best wishes regardless of which route you take.

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FullGlass has 2 years experience as a BSN, MSN, NP and specializes in Adult and Geriatric Primary Care.

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Not in my experience.  I started my ABSN at 53, then straight into an NP program.  Started my first NP job at age 57.  I had 9 job offers.  

I don't know why some people on this forum assume becoming an NP means incurring a huge amount of debt.  There are plenty of reasonably priced programs.  Many of the good private schools look expensive, but they tend to offer a lot of Scholarships.  There are federal scholarships like Nurse Corps that are full ride and pay a living stipend.  Many states have equivalent scholarships.

There is nothing wrong with taking out some loans.  There are also federal, state, and employer loan repayment programs.

However, I would think long and hard about becoming an actual provider.  RNs have a lot of career options that are less physically demanding, so becoming an NP isn't necessary just to achieve that.

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ArmaniX has 7 years experience as a MSN, APRN and specializes in Critical Care.

321 Posts; 6,747 Profile Views

11 minutes ago, FullGlass said:

I don't know why some people on this forum assume becoming an NP means incurring a huge amount of debt.  There are plenty of reasonably priced programs.  Many of the good private schools look expensive, but they tend to offer a lot of Scholarships.  There are federal scholarships like Nurse Corps that are full ride and pay a living stipend.  Many states have equivalent scholarships.

True. It seems many individuals go the route of “easy” and some random online program with limited admission criteria. I paid for my graduate program out of pocket without incurring any debt, so it is definitely possible.  On the same note, I’ve worked with many NPs who have debt combined from undergrad/grad in excess of 100k. 
 

While loans and educational debt are not the worst, I think it is prudent for every person to consider what it means for them and their lifestyle at the end of the day. 

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48 minutes ago, FullGlass said:

I don't know why some people on this forum assume becoming an NP means incurring a huge amount of debt

I was 50 when I graduated NP.. Graduated on a Friday, had the job offer I wanted on Monday. 

And I agree with FullGlass --- I did both my BSN and MSN without any student loans... either Scholarships or paid cash. 🙂

Best of luck.  

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While not incurring debt is certainly possible the other factor that you need to think about is whether you will take a financial hit. If I were to get my NP now there is a good chance I would start at a rate significantly less than what I’m making as an RN with a smaller window of time to make up the difference before I retire. I have aging and unwell parents that I need to care for so moving is not an option and there’s no way to predict when that will change. I don’t want to work extra jobs or hours to reduce the deficit and frankly I’m not sure at this point in my life I want the extra responsibility. I did that as a flight nurse and I’m kind of over it. There is a newer MSN that intrigues me, masters of nursing innovation, which seems like a fairly versatile post-graduate degree that could be parlayed into a management, education or development position. My first introduction to it was meeting a nurse who works with an architecture/construction firm that builds new hospitals. My new dream job. 

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33 minutes ago, Wuzzie said:

would start at a rate significantly less than what I’m making as an RN

True - this is a legit concern for many... especially those that have been a nurse of years.

 

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To be quite frank, the allure of NP just isn't there for me after my experiences in nursing.  Had I known what the pursuit of nursing would be as a second career, I never would have blown my secure retirement chasing a never-ending goal.  Only the bursars office and college book stores at the various universities and colleges I have attended over the years have benefitted from my "education".  I would never do it again. The NP role does not impress me.  Nor does the PA role.  And to add to this, the shine is gone from the role of medical doctors too.  I would not advise anyone to go into nursing at any level without giving them an eyes wide open look at all sides of the picture.  I wish someone would have had that talk with me.  And whatever the cost of an NP education, it is not worth losing the ability to have a comfortable retirement with my medical and day to day needs met.  It is sickening to know that your latest rent increase, to live in an urban dump, exceeds your social security monthly benefit by not dozens, but hundreds of dollars.  Nothing will bring housing security, food security, and medical care security back.  I urge the OP to take a realistic look at her desire to become an NP.  There is much more to it than the program recruiters would have one believe.   But then, as so eloquently stated by others here, YMMV.

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Thank you so much for all of you who replied and gave your opinions on the matter.  Incurring debt so close to retiring is definitely very concerning and it is something I would like to avoid.  However, wound care field is not easy on the body and I am wondering if I can afford not to get out of it in the long run. But, again thank you for your food for thoughts and I would definitely be looking into transitioning into other fields of nursing without accumulating debt on the way.

 

 

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If you really want to slow down, consider extended care home health.  I always recommend this area, particularly for those who are nearing the end of their career.  Not the intermittent visit type of home health, where you drive your car all over three surrounding counties during the course of a work day and chart for five hours at the kitchen table at night, but extended care, where you can spend an entire night shift monitoring a stable child while their parents sleep.  Nice rocking chair sometimes.  Routine care for only one patient, who may weigh less than 20 lbs., and all you really have to worry about is a diaper change at the end of the shift.  Can be very easy, or complex.  Depends.  You won't get rich, but kind of hard to jeopardize your income with hard to realize end of career goals.

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