Advice for an older RN going back for FNP

  1. I am an older nurse (48 year old) with a BSN who has been accepted into an MSN FNP program. I have almost 8 years of nursing experience (5 years med-surg/tele; 2.5 years ER). Once I graduate, I would like to either work in a rural small family practice setting or an urgent care setting.

    I have several questions, so here goes. Did anyone else go back to school at a more advanced age and how did it work out for you? Do you have any regrets about going back to school? Did you have any problems finding a job once you graduated? After you were hired as an FNP did your employer offer any assistance with loan repayment?

    Any advice, thoughts, or personal experience that anyone can share with me on this topic would be greatly appreciated!

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    About abva17

    Joined: Jan '18; Posts: 15; Likes: 5


  3. by   SopranoKris
    We're the same age and I don't consider myself an "advanced age"...LOL I think going back to school later in life, you know what you can/can't handle in terms of work/school/life balance. You're also mature enough to budget your time wisely and not sweat the small stuff. I'm still in an NP program, so I can't speak to the loan repayment portion. I work with quite a few nurses who went back to school for NP and none of them had trouble securing jobs after graduation. You just need to know your job market in your area and determine what's realistic.
  4. by   abva17
    Thank you so much for the reply. I don't really feel like I am an "advanced age" - still feel about 30 and I plan on working for a long time to come.

    If you don't mind me asking, are you into the clinical portion of your program yet? If you are, how is it going and are you still working full time during the program?
    Last edit by abva17 on Feb 16 : Reason: typo
  5. by   gettingbsn2msn
    I do not think of myself as "advanced age." I am 56.
  6. by   gettingbsn2msn
    BTW, I finished the program in 2012.
  7. by   Oldmahubbard
    By the time you graduate, you will still have at least 15 more work years ahead.

    No, you are very far from too old.

    It is hard to offer advice, because I have known people who were able to make their NP degree work for them financially, and some who have not.

    I know NPs in their 40s who are well on their way to having a 7 figure bank account.

    I know NPs in their 50s, who graduated 15 or 20 years ago and are getting phone calls from bill collectors, drive a 2003 model vehicle, and their student loans are in default.

    I almost hate to say this, but the NPs who end up poor seem to have very high and unrealistic ideals.
  8. by   AnnieNP
    I went back at 47 and graduated with my Adult NP at 49!!!! I have now been working for 10 years and absolutely love it. I only worked part time while I was in school.
  9. by   203bravo
    just turned 49 and I'm in the 2nd semester of my FNP program... it's tough but doable.
  10. by   FullGlass
    I started my ABSN at age 53. I graduated with an AGPC NP MSN at age 56. So yes, it is certainly doable. There were some things that were difficult for me:
    1. I changed careers and it was very difficult for me to suddenly know nothing, when I was used to being an expert.
    2. It was a little difficult to get back into the groove of being a full time student. I did it and was on the Dean's List and inducted into the International Honor Society. I also won the competitive Nurse Corps Scholarship for most of my MSN. That is a full ride scholarship that also pays a small living allowance.
    3. It really, really sucked to be on a student's budget!

    Within two months of starting my NP job search, I had nine job offers.

    For loan repayment, there are two types:
    1. Employer based - ask about this when interviewing. Most employers will also list benefits on their website.
    2. Government - there are federal and state loan repayment programs through the Nurse Corps and NHSC. Only certain sites are eligible and you must apply - it is not guaranteed. Go to the program websites and research their requirements.
    3. There is also loan forgiveness after 10 years of public service - again, research the requirements for this.

    There are plenty of NPs who practice into their 60s and 70s. On my last NP clinical rotation, my preceptor was a doctor. At the end, he said, "You have a good 30 years of practice in you - I expect you to work until you're 80." LOL BTW - I am overweight, but pretty fit - this doc used me as a model for his patients on how to stretch and do certain exercises and to demonstrate good posture, etc.

    Good luck!
  11. by   RNBSN1000
    I think it depends on your motivation for going back for your FNP (but that is true at any age). I've done some of my NP clinicals alongside a much older RN who is currently in an FNP program, and she is not doing well. It is obvious her motivation for going back to school is for a less-strenuous and (possibly) higher paying position, but I definitely didn't see her taking on any responsibility for her education during clinicals. She basically deferred everything to the Dr, saw as few patients as possible, and "copied" other patients to meet her quota. I have seen other NP students in clinicals like her, but her case was more cringe-worthy as she was taking on that debt nearing retirement age. But as long as you're motivated and realistic about the profession I'd say go for it!!!
  12. by   BrnEyedGirl
    I graduated from an FNP program 2 years ago, at the age of 49. I had 20 years of RN experience, most in the ED. I stayed with my current hospital system and split my shifts between ED and Urgent Care. I work for a rural critical access hospital that does qualify for loan repayment. I love my job and am happy that I went on for my FNP, wish I had done it sooner.
    I worked full time while attending the FNP program. I excelled in grad school, way more than in my ASN program! I believe my experience as an RN was a huge part of my success as an FNP.
    BTW, I don't consider myself "advanced age"
    Best of luck to you!
  13. by   abva17
    Thank you all for responding to my post. It's encouraging to hear your stories and advice.
  14. by   inthecosmos
    Congrats on the acceptance! If you are capable and prepared enough to apply and be accepted, you are capable of completing the program. I fully believe that. If you were seconds from retirement, the debt may not be worth it, but at 48 (which is not "advanced age,") you still have time to make it worth it.

    Best of luck!!!!!