Older workers that are new grad nurses, please explain. - page 16

Hi, I am not going to be popular with this thread, but here goes...I have seen quite a few posts about the older workers that are new grads thinking they deserve a job more because they had a... Read More

  1. by   calivianya
    I can see both sides of this. Obviously, previous careers give a person experiences that someone without a previous job has never had... but honestly, all employers seem to care about is nursing experience. It's a tough market right now. I really have not seen previous degrees/careers helping people at all in the job search where I live. Heck, I have a previous bachelor's in psychology and have 8 years of customer service experience, and I was an assistant manager at one job and worked totally unsupervised at another, which should have counted for something because of the sheer amount of responsibility I had... but it didn't. I was passed up for my dream job for people a few years younger with less real life experience who had lucky clinical placements. My dream job only took new RNs who had extensive ICU experience in nursing school, the rest of their lives did not matter. I was very upset that I did not get the job and I was told it was because I did not have ICU experience at the time of the interview. I honestly don't think that previous work experience or degrees hold any sway at all with some hospitals. If anything, it means the applicant may have stronger opinions and ideas and may be less malleable and may want a higher salary, so more non-nursing experience makes an applicant a bit unattractive to employers. That's just what I've experienced and it may not be the same everywhere.
  2. by   imintrouble
    After 195 responses and counting, the original question has been answered. Repeatedly.

    It's just not the answer the OP wants to hear.
  3. by   mmc51264
    I do have to disagree with the comment that schools don't care about other degrees. I work at a teaching hospital and education is VERY important to them. And not just nursing. It is a magnet hospital and they consider a bachelor degree in another field with an ADN a "Bachelor educated nurse" They told me not to bother with a BSN and go straight to my MSN (which I am not going to do-too expensive and not going to get the return for the money.) I think every setting is different. I am glad of where I am.
  4. by   ♪♫ in my ♥
    Here are some things that I brought from my prior career:

    1) Being an expert user of technological products and computer software. Directly applicable to bedside nursing? Well... we've got some fairly complex equipment that took me almost no time to master while others have just scratched the surface.

    2) Experience making decisions with lives at stake. How? Designing components from which workers would be hanging 50 feet in the air and having to sign off on the fabrication process at each step.

    3) Having responsibility for multimillion dollar liabilities. Get it right and nobody says a word because you're expected to get it right. Get it wrong and cost the company 5 million dollars and you're fired and black listed.

    4) Industrial air handling systems aren't much different than mechanical ventilators (which are, after all, designed by engineers).

    5) Automation troubleshooting is very similar in approach to "human troubleshooting."


    Besides the skills and wisdom conferred from another career, what I brought is age and maturity which (a) made it very easy to connect with the staff while I was doing nursing school clinicals and (b) has made it easy to connect with most physicians.

    Wish_me_luck, you don't have to believe me but given that I've done it and you haven't, wisdom would suggest that you should consider that there may be some truth to what I assert.

    Do as you will, however.
  5. by   wish_me_luck
    Oh, gosh. Where do I begin...so many replies. I'll try and explain maybe more about me (and my situation) briefly and why I feel the way I do. I applied for every job in the beginning--before I graduated nursing school. Just like every other new grad in my class. I didn't get interviews at all, so it is not my personality that didn't get me a job. I just didn't get interviewed...never called. The 20 applications is my count after I got approval to work in January. I didn't have stipulations/HPMP before I graduated, so that's when I threw in the other applications (I do not count those). I have stipulations/HPMP now because I have a mental illness. I put it on my application for licensing because they asked. I was honest.

    I am unemployed in a "real job". I have to babysit to make my UDS and therapy appt payments (I wouldn't be able to afford otherwise. Hence why I live at home because I cannot afford an apartment or a house) and use money I saved in the past from "real jobs". I don't make much at all babysitting, but I have known/watched the kids for a long time. That is why I am willing to do it for so little...also, that's why I do not want kids. I care about these kids, but I am burnt out with kids. I feel like I have had my run with kiddos. If I ever had one, then there would be a very long hiatus from kids. I volunteered a lot in the past for Sunday School and other activities with kids. I am all done with kids for a long time after these kiddos that I watch. Between babysitting and volunteering, I probably put in 40 hours a week. Of course, not a "real job" and it's just volunteering, but it's doing something for 40 hours. In the past, I have had better luck getting as needed or temp work than full time. Maybe that is where my preference for part time and PRN work comes from. I am used to that. I think given my situation with the mental health issues, it works out better too.

    I have a lot of skills from my previous work--paid, non "real job", and volunteer work. Adminstrative/clerical, I have PCT exp (everything from vitals to bed baths to charting, etc.), working with different age groups (infants to elderly), crisis/deescalation skills, I did work with a nutrition, community outreach agencies, etc.

    To the person who made a comment about how do I know what public health is or how do I know what my view of public health is (the physical health x sexual health x mental health thing), I had a PHENOMENAL public health nursing instructor and the BEST public health clinical rotation any nursing student could ever ask for. Health depts (multiple days in them and different ones, not always the same health dept), school nurse day, parish nurse day, community outreach days, free clinic days, home health days, our pediatric clinical was integrated into community and public health. So, we did BMI/BP screenings in schools. I fell so in love with public health, as a whole, I was asking for extra days in it (I did get one extra day in it). We had to test at the end of our semesters to pass the class (standardized) and I scored one of the highest, if not the highest, scores on the Community and Public Health one. I do Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) now. I also LOVE traveling throughout the community (and to different cities). I apply for Public Health Nurse (PHN) jobs. I also like M/S and psych. I absolutely believe in holistic care of a person.

    Some people had wonderful rotations in school and others might not have.

    This was not supposed to be a thread to get everyone up in arms. Sorry, if you took my comments as such. I just wanted to know what the older (I did not say old...I said older...40 something is older than 20 something) had to offer over a younger new grad.

    In some ways, I do feel cheated. I live at home because I cannot afford to move out. I was always, always told not to have children until I had a stable career and income and get a good education to "do something with my life". I did all of that. I do not think I will have kids, if I do, it will be a while. It sucks coming out of school having a BSN, somewhat relevant experience to what type of nursing I want to do, doing the volunteering thing (being the good, well rounded citizen giving back to the community), and have nothing to show for it. The reason I only apply for jobs I want is longevity and also, if I don't get anything by next year, I am going to try a different career path. I mentally have time lines. If "x" doesn't happen by this date, do this. If "y" doesn't happen by this date, do this. And so on. I did the cutesy/fluff stuff (thank yous), too. Nothing. I don't do it anymore. I had better luck not doing it than doing it.

    I think it is sad longevity doesn't mean anything anymore. I did not apply for the "not wanted" areas because I also did not want to take a spot of a new grad that may really want a certain area (i.e. ER or ICU). I won't apply for their ER or ICU position and I don't want them applying for my public health, med surg (ok, that one is fair game), or psych positions.

    Thanks for the responses.

    Oh, and the people who said I have nothing better to do with my life than sit on AN...it was a Sunday. I do stuff throughout the week. Just saying.
    Last edit by wish_me_luck on Jul 13, '13
  6. by   Streamline2010
    Quote from wish_me_luck
    year)... Who do you give the job to and why?

    No, it is not a school assignment (I am a nurse already and not in school.) I just made it up for discussion purposes.

    For me-- Sue: Pros are that she has extensive work history; Cons are that she did not work healthcare and that she made a salary that was much more than what a new grad makes (assuming you are not in a city). Plus, she may retire in roughly 15 years.

    Jill: Pros are that she had healthcare experience and she may feel like she is getting a huge pay raise from what she makes now (she would be okay with $38,000). Cons: she only has a max 7 years working, but only 2 years "real job" experience.

    I would give the job to Jill, personally, because she has relevant work experience, I could possibly get 40 years out of her, and her salary expectations may be what I have to offer.

    Now, what's your opinion?
    In the business world, a long-range plan is 5 years nowadays. Presuming that any one person will reside 40 years in the same region, let alone work 40 years for a single employer, is sheer foolishness. People move, they quit to raise families, they get injured on the job or off the job and sometimes are on temporary or permanent disability, they leave to follow a relocating spouse, they voluntarily leave to pursue more education or a better career opportunity. Or they get fed up with nursing altogether and leave it.
  7. by   Streamline2010
    Quote from wish_me_luck
    I don't know, Esme. I personally only apply to jobs I really want, not any job (maybe that is why I am still unemployed). I don't think I deserve the job just because I do not have one. If there's another candidate more qualified, please hire them. It's not being picky; I am thinking of the employer and possible longevity.

    I do not think age equals maturity. I have seen in both ways.

    So, what skills do people in non healthcare fields bring to the table? I mean, what is transferable? Also, just because someone had a former career as say an engineer doesn't mean they were not a job hopper. Maybe they job hopped from Company X as an engineer to Company Y as an engineer to Company Z as an engineer. Their former career? An engineer. Did they have longevity with it? Depends. Yes, they were always an engineer. No, in that they worked for 3 different companies. How do you know they will stay with one company as a nurse?

    How does having a former career bring maturity??
    How does it bring maturity: Come back and answer that after you've worked 10 years or more and have paid off loans, and have changed and upgraded your skills to stay current in your field, and/or have lost an entire career field to outsourcing or offshoring and now have to retrain and remarket yourself. To suggest that older employees have learned NOTHING about how to be a productive employee is insulting. The fact that a person has a 10 0r 20 or 30 year work history gives a potential employer a good insight into the work habits as well as the character of that person.

    You are fixated on this idea that people only work for a single employer all of their career. That hasn't been true for at least 30 years now! "Job hopper" is a relative thing. If an engineer, to use your example, wants to bid their salary up, they typically work about 5 years for the first employer, and then they change companies and locations, for a higher salary. Sometimes they left because they stayed 10 years with the first employer, and the pay raises and promotions there just lagged so far behind the market that all of the 10-year employees of a given company might quit en masse and go find themselves better jobs because the market rate for 10 yrs exp was 1.5x what their current employer paid. Another fact that you might not be aware of is that contract employers often pay engineers higher wages than fulltime positions do, so many engineers work contract work and thus "job hop" because that's the nature of contract work, kind of analogous to travel nurse jobs. Do you consider travel nurse jobs as job hopping, a negative thing?

    Manufacturing has also been a boom/bust, boom a little, go bust again kind of thing, particularly in the old Rust Belt region. This recession that began in 2008-2009 caused many manufacturing facilities to close, of to shift their production overseas or to Mexico. It's only recently that healthcare and hospital workers are getting a taste of that, what the engineers and CAD designers and maintenance people and assembly line workers have been seeing since the late '70s or early '80s. In my rural area, hospitals are all closing their OB and labor/delivery units. They are consolidating services at one location. UPMC is buying up hospitals and has even closed some completely! Nursing is not going to be the secure lala land of happy ladies anymore. You have the beancounters running you, and the hospitals losing money. "Affordable Healthcare" isn't going to be a money-maker. It will mean bigger losses.

    One thing that employers have to face is that they no longer offer lifetime job security and a paternalistic boost and hefty pay raises to their loyal longterm employees, so they have to get used to the fact that today's employees are mercenaries and free agents who can and will leave for better opportunities, sometimes giving not notice other than "Notice that I am not showing up for work here anymore, Boss." ;-D And they brought it upon themselves, too. 100%

    What an engineer brings to nursing: High skill level in calculations. Pharma calcs are a breeze, as are English/SI units conversions. IV pumps and tubing choices and settings won't be any challenge, either. Neither will an manual IV drip setup. Might fully understand how to build, adjust, calibrate, and set that IV pump, LOL. Permits, rules, laws, regulations, roles and responsibilities and the why of those: No problem.

    Contrary to what you may think, an engineer will have a far easier time learning and understanding and applying the principles of nursing and A&P and microbiology than a nurse would have trying to go back to school and get an engineering degree. One of the largest problems I had with nursing is that the longer I was in nursing school, the more it just seemed like motherhood or a servile job. When one works in engineering, one does not work with stupid and indigent people all day. One works with very brainy people almost exclusively. During an entire year of nursing school, I never once had even one patient who was the intellectual level of engineers. That was a real drawback to nursing as a career change, to me: Just not meeting any interesting and intellectually stimulating patients in this line of work. I felt cut off from my world, and I didn't like yours except for the OR. So, I quit. One less older career changer to compete with you, hahahahaha!
    Last edit by Streamline2010 on Jul 30, '13
  8. by   Wrench Party
    Why would a previous career in anything else not count? Many general job skills also apply to nursing- showing up on time,
    interpersonal skills, professionalism, time management, fiscal management, flexibility, positive attitude, attention to detail, career plans, working in a team, following directions, etc.

    Older workers are like any other age group. You'll run across some that are entitled, some with an amazing work ethic, etc. Due to the breadth of the nursing field, I wouldn't discount older workers due to a few.
  9. by   rocktrim
    i graduated from nursing school at age 45.
    previous to that, i worked in various positions of customer service, even owned a motel.
    if an employer were faced with choosing between
    1) a 22yo with no work experience, no travel, no other education
    2) a 45 yo with decades of customer service, plus the general education requirements of an unrelated bachelor's degree, travel, life experience of death and illness, fiscal responsibility, and the articulation of an older adult
    seems like a no-brainer to me.
    i spent 2 years as a student nurse worker, then 2 years as an RN on a telemetry floor., then transferred to hospice, and get offers from recruiters weekly.