Old nurse in pediatrics

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I would like to know how younger nurses would feel about a much older nurse working in pediatrics. For example, if your child were hospitalized would you be ok with a much older nurse caring for your child? Would you trust an older nurse? Do you think pediatrics is appropriate for someone of age? I'm asking because pediatrics has always been my dream job. I have been to a few interviews at different Children's hospitals but never hired and I feel like it is my age that is turning people off. I can remember one interview in particular where I was asked, "So Ms. PPediRN, if we hired you, how long do you think you would stay with us? A couple of years? Until you retire?" It felt like a slap in the face and I had never considered my age as something that would hold me back from my dream job. Thanks in advance for your response. I value what you guys think. -PPediRN

KelRN215, BSN, RN

1 Article; 7,349 Posts

Specializes in Pedi. Has 16 years experience.

Define "much older nurse"?

When I worked inpatient peds, we had nurses ranging in age from 22-60s. I worked with nurses old enough to be my mother. Those nurses, however, had both been on the same floor for 25+ years and were excellent resources. One definitely saved the life of a teenager with an epidural bleed in the middle of the night when she quickly caught that the bleed was expanding and got the child to the OR emergently.

NICU Guy, BSN, RN

4,083 Posts

Specializes in NICU. Has 8 years experience.
I can remember one interview in particular where I was asked, "So Ms. PPediRN, if we hired you, how long do you think you would stay with us? A couple of years? Until you retire?"

That is not a Pediatric issue, but a manager issue. That statement could easily be reversed for a young new grad. "So Ms. YoungGradRN, if we hired you, how long do you think you would stay with us? A couple of years? Until you start travelling or go to FNP school?"

ruby_jane, BSN, RN

3,142 Posts

Specializes in ICU/community health/school nursing. Has 14 years experience.
Children's hospitals but never hired and I feel like it is my age that is turning people off. I can remember one interview in particular where I was asked, "So Ms. PPediRN, if we hired you, how long do you think you would stay with us? A couple of years? Until you retire?" It felt like a slap in the face and I had never considered my age as something that would hold me back from my dream job. Thanks in advance for your response. I value what you guys think. -PPediRN

Whelp - they got dangerously close to violating the EEOC, didn't they?

I started nursing school at 40. There was a definite bent in the local children's hospital to hire the younger nurses (this in in North Texas where we don't have a nursing shortage but we do have a shortage of well-trained nurses who want to work in hospitals).

I lost out on an ED residency to one of my classmates. I remember smiling at the phone when the manager called and told me that they were going with the youngun' because I said to myself -hope you're happy. She's getting married in a year and I bet she's pregnant and quits within two years. I was so right.

Hang in there. Is there anything that you can do to make yourself more marketable - like a PEARS or PALS class?

PPediRN

29 Posts

Has 10 years experience.
Define "much older nurse"?

When I worked inpatient peds, we had nurses ranging in age from 22-60s. I worked with nurses old enough to be my mother. Those nurses, however, had both been on the same floor for 25+ years and were excellent resources. One definitely saved the life of a teenager with an epidural bleed in the middle of the night when she quickly caught that the bleed was expanding and got the child to the OR emergently.

KelRN215 I'm not 60 yet but getting close. Thanks for your response.

PPediRN

29 Posts

Has 10 years experience.
"So Ms. YoungGradRN, if we hired you, how long do you think you would stay with us? A couple of years? Until you start travelling or go to FNP school?"

NICU guy True, but I can't picture an interviewer in their 20's asking another nurse in their 20's the above question. Thanks for your response.

PPediRN

29 Posts

Has 10 years experience.
Whelp - they got dangerously close to violating the EEOC, didn't they?

I started nursing school at 40. There was a definite bent in the local children's hospital to hire the younger nurses (this in in North Texas where we don't have a nursing shortage but we do have a shortage of well-trained nurses who want to work in hospitals).

I lost out on an ED residency to one of my classmates. I remember smiling at the phone when the manager called and told me that they were going with the youngun' because I said to myself -hope you're happy. She's getting married in a year and I bet she's pregnant and quits within two years. I was so right.

Hang in there. Is there anything that you can do to make yourself more marketable - like a PEARS or PALS class?

Ruby jane They did indeed. It was obvious that she was alluding to my age. Hate to hear you lost out on the ED residency. Frustrating I know. I do have PALS. Maybe I should consider a facelift?? Just playing. Thanks for your response.

OldDude

1 Article; 4,787 Posts

Specializes in Pediatrics Retired.

I see where you've signed on with AN over 5 years ago...are you currently working as a nurse or have you recently graduated, or did I miss this information in your post?

nursel56

7,046 Posts

Specializes in Peds/outpatient FP,derm,allergy/private duty. Has 47 years experience.
I would like to know how younger nurses would feel about a much older nurse working in pediatrics. For example, if your child were hospitalized would you be ok with a much older nurse caring for your child? Would you trust an older nurse? Do you think pediatrics is appropriate for someone of age? I'm asking because pediatrics has always been my dream job. I have been to a few interviews at different Children's hospitals but never hired and I feel like it is my age that is turning people off. I can remember one interview in particular where I was asked, "So Ms. PPediRN, if we hired you, how long do you think you would stay with us? A couple of years? Until you retire?" It felt like a slap in the face and I had never considered my age as something that would hold me back from my dream job. Thanks in advance for your response. I value what you guys think. -PPediRN

Well, I'm not presently a younger nurse, but I really don't think the dots line up quite as you have them, although separately they contain truth.

I don't think younger nurses in pediatrics have an inherent bias against older nurses any more than any other specialty. I think parents value many other qualities in nurses before they consider the nurse's age.

I think age-ism is a real issue, but it isn't confined to pediatrics.

Nursing jobs aren't as plentiful as they once were. From what I gather from reading posts here, pediatrics and NICU are very frequently mentioned as dream jobs. So there are a lot of younger new grads who aren't hired into those specialties right away.

I wouldn't necessarily assume the question about how long you intend to work there is age discrimination, either. To me, it's not that much different than "where do you see yourself (or your career) in 5 years?

Older new grads and older "seasoned" nurses have a unique hurdle, no doubt about it, but we aren't the only group who do.

I hope you are able to land your dream job. I think if you read through some of the topics in Pediatric Nursing you'll get some job-hunting ideas and realize you're not alone in your experiences so far.

PeakRN

547 Posts

Specializes in Adult and pediatric emergency and critical care.

We have plenty of older nurses in NICU and peds, though I think that there is some gravitation for our older nurses to move towards administrative and clinic jobs. Generally speaking I don't think that our families have any concerns or issues with older nurses taking care of their kids; on occasion we have younger nurses taking care of some of the teens if we are trying to get them to build up trust a bit (seeing their nurse as more of a peer, not that they don't trust older nurses), but by no means is this common or would effect our staffing or hiring decisions.

That is not a Pediatric issue, but a manager issue. That statement could easily be reversed for a young new grad. "So Ms. YoungGradRN, if we hired you, how long do you think you would stay with us? A couple of years? Until you start travelling or go to FNP school?"

NICU guy True, but I can't picture an interviewer in their 20's asking another nurse in their 20's the above question. Thanks for your response.

We certainly wouldn't word it that way, but a lot of the younger new grads seem to all want to go advanced practice or travel. We also know that there isn't any obligation for someone to spend their career with us regardless of what they tell us in an interview so it's a bit of a moot point.

As others have said pediatric units are a goal unit for a lot of nurses and can be quite difficult to get hired onto.

llg, PhD, RN

13,469 Posts

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development. Has 46 years experience.

While the Manager did not ask the question in a politically correct way ... I am not so sure she is biased against older nurses. It's a significant and expensive problem in nursing, especially in areas popular with new grads like peds. The new grad comes, consumes 6 months of orientation resources, stays a year or two -- and then leaves. They either transfer to the department they really wanted from the start or they go to grad school or they become a traveling nurse, have a baby and become a stay-at-home mom, etc. So the "How long are you planning to stay?" question is a reasonable one for any job interview. The fact that she added the "until retirement" option was not wise as it could be interpreted multiple ways, but it doesn't mean she wouldn't hire someone who handled the question well.

I moved around a lot when I was in my 20's and 30's ... but I interviewed for my current hospital (different position) when I was in my 40's. Realizing that the hiring manager knew I had no family in the area and that I would be moving here just for the job, I consciously did my best to show that I was interested in "finding a home" and settling down in a long-term commitment. I asked about long-term hospital growth plans, emphasized that it was within a reasonable drive's distance from my family, etc. and all the reasons why I thought the city was a great fit for me. Obviously, I got the job.

When faced with a question that could be related to age, don't shy away from it or assume the worst. Make it work for you rather than against you. Emphasize that you are looking for a job to commit to for several years ... that you are stable in the community and have no reason or desire to move. You have no desire to jump from job to job ... etc. Present yourself as a mature, stable presence who will be there and still working on that unit for more than just a year or two and you may find that your age might work in your favor.

Good luck.

llg, PhD, RN

13,469 Posts

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development. Has 46 years experience.
NICU guy True, but I can't picture an interviewer in their 20's asking another nurse in their 20's the above question. Thanks for your response.

Oh, I can. Interviewers ask similar questions to that all the time (though with more politically correct wording). What do you think all those "Where do you see yourself in 5 years?" questions are really all about? They are really asking what your mid-range career plans are. When applicants start talking about their big plans for careers not directly related to the job they are applying for now, that tells me that they are not planning to stay. They are looking for a short-term, stepping-stone only.