Old and Ready to Give Up

  1. Dear Nurse Beth,

    I am in my fifties. I have been a nurse for 30+ years. For 15 years, I had a job I loved with co-workers, I loved. I left six years ago. My original manager left and was replaced by a person who did not like me and whom I did not like. Frankly, she was very dishonest person. Eventually, after I left, she was replaced.

    Recently I had a very difficult family situation. I left an administrative job and worked at a small hospital with a very toxic culture for a short time. The unit and hospital where I worked has had many nurses who last just a few months. Though I thought I could go back to my old admin job, it was eliminated.

    In the meantime, I have been caring for my relative. For the Fall semester, I worked as adjunct faculty which went well. The course I taught is only offered in Fall. I have applied to several other jobs, but have not secured another position. I was asked by the school to return next year.

    I had one interview and it was difficult for me to answer some of the questions they asked me to their satisfaction. I had been part of a friendly, but dysfunctional team in my last admin. position. When asked about my accomplishments and what projects I had led/completed, I stumbled. Honestly, we did not get a lot done in over 3 years. There was a takeover by a larger organization and three different nurse managers with whom I worked. The longest serving manager was a lovely person. However, she delegated significant tasks to staff who did not follow through. Projects I should have been involved with (and offered to participate in) were delegated to people who did nothing to move them ahead.

    I then had another interview. It was with the sister hospital to my place of brief employment, There was an open position which fit my qualifications. As a lark (almost...I thought they would not call),I applied. They actually interviewed me. It went well. Two weeks later, I got an email. They are pursuing other candidates. No other information available. I am not sure what happened. It may have been that I had quit the position at their other facility after just a few months. I was honest about this before I was ever interviewed and during the interview (I did not call it toxic). Three staff people from my former employer work at this facility. Perhaps they complained about me?

    So...coming up, I have another interview. Again, it is work which I have done before. I have MSN and multiple certifications. I am well qualified...but I am old. I don't ooze confidence. I used to love being a nurse. Between my family situation and lack of confidence, I am ready to give up. If I did not need to work, due to being so discouraged, I really would just give up. Maybe I should. I had even been accepted into a DNP program, but now cannot attend due to finances. What can I do? Should I go back to staff nursing and do adjunct on the side? It seems I have wasted so much of what I once had going for me. What can I do to boost my confidence and find that job I can retire from in 12-15 years?

    Dear I am Old and Ready to Give Up,

    Let me recap to make sure I have followed correctly:
    Your worked 15 years at a job you loved.
    You worked at an admin job for a short time and left.
    Life happened and a relative needed care.
    You worked at a small hospital for a short time and left.
    You worked at a seasonal adjunct faculty position.
    You've had 2 interviews which did not pan out and have a 3rd interview scheduled.

    Your resume is landing you interviews, which is not surprising with your experience and qualifications. But you are losing out in the interviews. You need to prepare carefully for your interviews to "seal the deal". You cannot afford to stumble in interviews when asked about accomplishments- you must be prepared, articulate, and positive.

    Don't refer to yourself as old (read Ageism in Nursing ) and don't offer excuses for projects that didn't move forward. Try not to focus on who did or didn't like you, as there is nothing you can do about that, and it's undermining your confidence.

    Instead project confidence and be ready to talk about the positive changes that occurred during your leadership. Did patient satisfaction scores improve? Did staff turnover decrease? Was anything implemented, such as RRTs or bedside report?

    You can get your mojo back It's not too late.

    My book below gives every interview tip and example you need to stand out and succeed. You will also learn what you may be doing wrong in interviews- all from an inside hiring manager's point of view.

    Best wishes,

    Nurse Beth

    Author, "Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job"...and your next!
    Last edit by Nurse Beth on Feb 8
  2. Visit Nurse Beth profile page

    About Nurse Beth, MSN, RN

    Joined: Mar '07; Posts: 1,566; Likes: 4,700
    Nursing Professional Development Specialist; from CA , US
    Specialty: Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho

    10 Comments

  3. by   llg
    I strongly agree with Nurse Beth on this. The OP sounds "old and ready to give up" in her post. I can imagine that she sounds that way in an interview, too -- and that is just not attractive to an employer. Employers want to hire people with positive attitudes and if you don't have a positive attitude, you need to learn to fake it. There must be some things about nursing that the OP can present in an interview and put a positive spin on it.

    I am in my early 60's, and a couple of years ago, went through a period when I just didn't feel like I wanted to "give" any more. Some days, I still feel that way. I fantasize about retirement a lot. But I know I can't show those feelings at work. So at work, I remind myself (and others) that even though I am nearing retirement, there are still things I want to accomplish ... I am still looking for ways to contribute to my profession and to my community for a few years more ... etc. Sometimes, it's difficult to put a smile on my face and tolerate some things at work that I don't feel I should have to tolerate. But I do it -- because I like the paycheck -- and because deep down inside, I'm not quite ready to quit. The OP needs to fake it for a while to get a job that will give her the opportunity to feel good about her career again. I wish her well.
  4. by   Knotanoonurse
    So I pulled it together and got myself a full time teaching job in an ADN program. It is actually kind of exciting to be doing something different! Of course, it is a learning curve but that is a good thing. I hope to hang on to this job for the long haul. Salary is ok, but nice benefits and time off. It is great to have a job again.

    I also have an interview after a phone call with the nurse manager for a prn summer position on a postpartum unit. Hopefully, I have learned from my mistakes and can keep moving forward in the right direction!
    Last edit by Knotanoonurse on Feb 13
  5. by   Nurse Beth
    Congrats!! That must feel so great to have benefits and job security Have a wonderful time with your nursing students, they are so positive and energetic. Hope you rock your interview.
  6. by   llg
    Congratulations! It sounds like you have landed a good job where your experience will be invaluable. I hope it helps you get a "second wind" that will carry you through the next several years.

    Good luck!
  7. by   inthecosmos
    YAY! I'm glad things worked out!
  8. by   FullGlass
    Congratulations! Best wishes in your new role.

    BTW - 50s is not "old." 50 is the new 40! A lot of the top Hollywood stars are in their 50s and 60s. Energy, attitude, clothing, grooming, and body language can take 10 to 15 years off. I'm 57 and don't feel "old" and others don't treat me like I'm old, either.
  9. by   CoCook
    Dear Old and Ready to Give Up: I can understand your frustration, but I also complement you on the skills you have. I'm an RN in Canada and this will be my 44th year as a nurse. Over the years I've done mental health, long term care, geriatric psychiatry and have been everything from front-line to middle management to administrative. Also worked for 10 years in a Telehealth setting, but the shift work was getting me down. At the age of 62 I went back to school and took a course to be a Certified Foot Care Nurse, set up my own business and now revel in setting my own schedule. Mostly home visits with an elderly clientele, plus run a clinic one day per week. Happiest I've ever been and I'm now 64 years old. Just one problem. "I can't complain about the boss!!!" I truly wish you well in future endeavors.
  10. by   Kristiernbsn
    I'm 58, and in my second year as RN BSN- five years ago I passed the NCLEX PN. I interviewed a LOT before finally landing a job I love in a rehabilitation hospital working with TBI patients. I encountered a lot of ageism although I was #1 in my graduating class in both programs. I have been told that although I interviewed well, and had impeccable qualifications, "I just wasn't a good fit with the culture of the unit". Or other ridiculous nonsensical, meaningless phrases. I took the "no's" as a positive- that I would not want to work where I wasn't valued for what I could bring to the unit or facility. I have had three jobs in two years, trying to find my niche, and I feel I have found it. You're not old. Not even close. Nursing is wide open with many different places a RN with a MSN can fit, not all in patient care. I know you will find your mojo again. Can't wait to hear where you end up!
  11. by   chitchatkat
    I hate ageism. I hope this changes w time. I am so afraid to apply for positions bcs I have not been in hospital nursing in for10 yrs per my resume.There are no refresher courses near me. I couldn't afford one & I am a unique person. I have difficulty expressing self and projecting confidence at all times. 3 yrs ago took a position at a LTAC hospital. Was let go bcs I was late for 4th time in 6 or 7 wk period. 3 times were during 1st wk of orientation and my difficulty with traffic, parking, and myself. 4th time was not late. Was early(scheduled to started at 8 instead of 7). But it was obvious I was on my way out. I did good work and pts liked me. I felt so hurt and angry at myself. I had been open to having a newer nurse precept me along w a few others. This was how I showed flexibility and also offered to help whenever I could. I didn't take breaks. But was cast out. I tried to be professional at all times. During down times, I,would review pt charts to become familiar w charting and where info was located or practiced w IT software. Kept quiet and only spoke when I was asked a question or had a question. The nurses said I was too nervous or seemed too tired. I believe this was true and agreed when they stated this. I was adjusting to full time 12 hour shifts after being a stay at home momma for a few yrs w/ an on call if RN position. I was staying late and was flexible w my schedule. So, how does one make a consistent good impression when nurses just don't want to like you?
    I could go I to more detail but it is embarrassing. I just want to be a nurse w active skills! I have precepted nursez before and always encouraged them. I feel to precept is an incredible role and stated my gratitude to each RN who helped me.Has the culture btwn RN s changed terribly in last decade? I feel like applying to another hospital similar bcs I want an in and need the money. I am,so God now so I don't have support income and drive an old car. My current role is good but need to make more money and want to gain,additional exp. Maybe this should have been a separate topic. Any replies would be appreciated.
    Last edit by chitchatkat on Mar 15 : Reason: errors
  12. by   rachelak1234
    You sound like you have really low self-esteem and let people walk all over you. Almost like you want to be invisible. What's up with that??

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