Is 54 too old to get a doctorate degree? - page 2

Dear Nurse Beth, I am 54 years old and wondering if I'm too old to get either a DNP orPhD in nursing. I graduated with my ADN at the age of 40, my BSN at age 50 and my MSN in Nursing Education at... Read More

  1. by   traumaRUs
    Quote from Jules A
    Thank you NurseBeth for a thoughtful and practical approach to a question that seems to get weighed down in rose colored glasses and or countertransference. Of course age should be a consideration, not the only one, but a consideration. I'm not sure if it is our current politically correct culture that espouses everyone can be a super model or flat out delusions when people disregard the fact that age is more than a number. There are quantitative studies indicating the effects on brain mass, processing abilities, strength etc. so to cheer people on to make emotional not practical decisions, especially later in life, doesn't make sense to me. I have to wonder if decisions based on flawed logic such as age being of no concern isn't a contributor to so many Americans being unable to retire due to financial reasons?
    Agree Jules. You have to factor in age, health, ability to recoup the tuition as well as job market. Like NurseBeth I had considered it at 55 but for various reasons decided against it. Now at 59 am glad I decided against it
  2. by   Oldmahubbard
    I considered the DNP and at my age, 57, I decided against it. It won't be necessary within the next 5 years, and I would not enjoy doing it. The cost is relatively small, but for the time invested, if I were working, I could instead make big bucks. So for me, no, not worth it.

    If I were 10 years younger, then probably yes.

    The deciding factor is that I would not enjoy it. I have arrived at the blessed age of not doing anything I don't have to do, that I do not enjoy.
  3. by   Nurseways
    You are truly an example to us all. Your post reminded me of an article I read the other day,
    [URL=""]How To Tell If Someone Is Truly Smart Or Just Average by Michael Simmons. The article talked about the mindset of innovators, how they view the world differetnly, and how you can apply their techniques.

    One idea that resonated with me was that it is not enough to have above-average intelligence. It is the thoughtful and purposeful way we use our brains. I truly believe that we should all strive to be life-long learners. I just finished my MSN at 54, and already getting the itch. I'm thinking of perhaps an MBA this time around.

    First, I'd like to thank you for your service to our country. And second, congratulations on your prolific career(s)!
  4. by   HalfBoiled
    If you love it, DO IT.
    If you care about the money potential and awesome reputation, ask yourself "When should I retire?"
  5. by   Gratefulgirl818
    I know 2 woman who are just starting prereqs for nursing and they are almost 50. It's never to late to continue education. Good luck!
  6. by   melliemel22936
    Thanks for the reply!
  7. by   melliemel22936
    Do you mind if I ask why you got your DNP? I think I would choose a DNP over a PhD. Although I love teaching, I'm missing patient care.
  8. by   melliemel22936
    Quote from AcuteMaleRN
    Dear "Too Old"...

    Is 54 too old to get a Doctor Degree? Lets examine what I am have in my life and then you decide. AT 17 I joined the US Army to get the GI Bill to go back to school. I served from Vietnam to 4 tours in Afghanistan, in 32 years I rose from Private and retired as a Major. Within my 32 years while being in the military at night I earned my BA in Political Science and my Masters in Business. After leaving active duty, but staying in the Army Reserves, I was hired as Federal Law Enforcement Officer (Civil Service) I was sent back to school and was trained to be a Special Agent, Interrogator, then was trained to give Polygraphs and served 20 years a a Special Agent. Two years before my second retirement as a Special Agent I used my Vacation Time to go back to school to learn to be a RN. After four years I graduated with Honors from University of Southern Maine as a RN (BSN). Then I returned back to graduate school and in three and a half years graduated with honors as a Family Nurse Practitioner. Then I returned back to school at 65 for my Doctor of Nursing Practice.... So in retrospect looking at my back ground compared to your background....I think you should pick up the pace quit being lazy and get that doctor degree.... =)
    BEST COMMENT EVER!!! Thank you so much for this. I think I will at least get a CNS or NP. And then if it turns out a DNP is required I'll just continue on. Thanks for the motivation!
  9. by   PatriciaCifuentes
    "You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream" C.S. LEWIS
    That's my motto I live by, at 50 I decided to start on a new career, so I pursued my BSN. I'll be graduating from my nurse practitioner at 61, afterwards I am planning to start on my doctorate.
    In my opinion you are too young to not do it.
  10. by   Ageisanumber
    Age is a number. Unless it's yours of course. I am a firm believer that if you want to advance your degree, it is your decision. Only you know what you can and cannot do. You set your own limits. I spent 15 years as a Paramedic then 20 as a journalist. Retirement was killing me so in my 60's I went to nursing school. I graduated and now I am working on my DNP. I know I can practice well into my 80's. It's your decision. What have you to lose? Time?
  11. by   Babyboomer123
    I love your attitude.
  12. by   GreenMtnRN
    I completely agree with Southpawdown: there's no such thing as "too old." After 20 years as a nurse, I went back to school for the MFA I'd always wanted and earned it at age 52. If a doctorate is what you really want, then don't let anyone try to scare you or stop you. Go for it--and good luck!
  13. by   llg
    I think Nurse Beth gave a great answer to this OP. It's not "too old" if this is something she really wants to do.

    However, in this case, the OP says she "doesn't know what she wants to do when she grows up." If that's the case, then a doctorate is not a good choice at this time. Doctoral education is expensive and time consuming. It also requires that students spend years focused on a particular topic of inquiry. It's not something to be taken lightly -- even by young people. It's best undertaken by students who have a good idea as to what they want to do with a doctoral education.

    If the OP really wants a doctorate and knows why she wants it ... then she is not too old to do. But it is probably foolish to invest so much effort, time and money on a doctorate if she doesn't really want it or know what she wants if for.