Ageism in Nursing: A Pervasive Problem - page 5

Mary stewart, age 62, has worked as a registered nurse on the postpartum unit for the past quarter century. She began her long career in nursing in 1972, with her graduation from a nursing diploma... Read More

  1. by   CeciBean
    I was a second career nurse who went back to school when my youngest started preschool. I never encountered ageism until I moved to where I live now. My previous job was in a large city where I had worked an assignment as a traveler and liked the ambience. I got the position via a recruiting agency, was actually offered two different positions in that hospital (should have accepted the other one, but never mind) and was hired immediately. I would have stayed there but for being offered a wonderful position (having nothing to do with nursing) by The Man . When I got up here I applied for numerous jobs but it seemed that they would all prefer younger, newer nurses that they could pay less (pay was real sticking point, apparently). I went to one interview where the DON who interviewed me was younger than my youngest child and seemed perplexed at what to ask me! I was considering whether to start traveling again when my appendix exploded and I had an emergency appy. Three months later I developed a condition requiring three major surgeries and one slightly less major one over the course of 9 months, which I came to believe was a signal that I should consider myself retired. I still maintain my license and do some volunteer work, but that's it. I am mildly bitter about the ageism I was shown, but I've concluded that everything happened for a reason. I am now in my third career as a jewelry designer.
  2. by   suseliz
    Ageism? I think it depends on your point of view. I left hospital nursing in 1994 when I decided I could no longer provide safe nursing care with the current staffing levels at my hospital. I became a Family Nurse Practitioner, so I could see my patients one at a time. I was in a practice I loved, but left in 2014 after 17.5 years because corporate medicine got to be too much for me. I thought I was continually exhausted due to my age, but several doctors followed me out the door. I now work per diem doing online convenience care. I work from home and work when I want to. I was recently offered a part time job out of the blue, which I accepted, will work one day a week in a psychology practice prescribing antidepressants and anxiolytics. This is something I became very good at in primary care. I am a recent widow and need to cobble together an income for 3 more years until I can collect social security at age 66. My point is that I think ageism exists, but... I don't think anyone in any profession should expect to do the same thing for the same employer for years and years. I think it's important to prepare for changes in your career. When I graduated with my BSN 40 years ago, I never in my wildest dreams imagined what I am doing now as an NP.
  3. by   AnnoyedNurse
    VickyRN - I think your mentality is skewed. There is more discrimination and negative attitude in the workplace against younger nurses than senior nurses. I have witnessed older nurses gossip and question the competence of new nurses many times. I think your comment about seniority is important. Yes, they have earned the right to have some leniency is scheduling, however, that does not make it appropriate to treat new nurses as slaves or at the bottom of the barrel. Just because someone is new does not mean they are incompetent or should be treated any differently.

    Quite frankly, in my opinion, seniority rules is organized discrimination against young people. Nursing is not a trade- it's a profession- all members of the team should have the same scheduling requirements including senior nurses. I've worked for a magnet Level 1 Trauma Center where meritocracy ruled and the culture was amazing. I currently work for a union hospital, where seniority rules, and the culture can be somewhat pervasive and against the standards of professionalism.

    I have witnessed senior nurses bully new nurses for whtever reason they wanted. I have witnessed younger nurses quit because of maltreatment bynew nurses. Rarely have I seen older nurses being bullied. Quite frankly, we are the future of nursing and the belief system of seniority rules will be retiring soon as well.

    We are professionals and we should act like professionals and not expect speciality treatment just because we are older. That is a sense of entitlement more than a new nurses expecting to be treated with decency and respect.
  4. by   RN35yr
    Part of ageism is associated with lack of the right letters behind your name. I have 35 years of experience, some as a manager, yet when new administration took over I was no longer qualified to "manage" due to "only" having a diploma in nursing. By requiring ALL nurses to become BSN we are slowiy but surely losing our good bedside critical thinking nurses, who are off to be mid-levels.
  5. by   nursemaryzzel
    Never in my entire career have I seen older nurses discriminated against in any way, shape, or, form. Seniority means a lot at least in a hospital setting. Sorry, I just don't see the problem from the older nurses' perspective. Even if there is an issue in some hospitals, it's nowhere near as widespread as the OLDER nurses "eating their young" and bullying the younger nurses simply because they are more green and inexperienced. I don't mean this to be a hasty generalization, but most of the older nurses I work with have a superiority complex and believe they deserve more respect from other nurses (or even NMs) who are younger than them just because they are older and have more experience. Ageism in nursing is definitely a top to bottom thing, at least in my neck of the woods.