Too old to become a nurse? Need opinions

  1. I am 44 yrs old. I will be homeschooling my daughter until I'm 48 yrs old. In order to start earning money at home, I'm considering doing medical transcription. But long term I want something more and have been interested in nursing for sometime. Do you think I'm too old to consider entering into a nursing career? I'd prolly start school so I could start job hunting the summer before I turn 49. Am I nuts?!

    If I weren't going into nursing later, I'd prolly try to continue my school in med. office admin. or healthcare mgt. I'd prolly be good at those, but I enjoy taking care of other people and I think I would enjoy being a ob/gyn or pediatric nurse.

    I don't want to sell myself or my potential short by giving up on the idea but yet I don't want to be thinking something that crazy to consider lol. I also have to carefully plan this because of past school loans I've got from about 3 yrs of undergrad in liberal arts, business, and Biblical studies.
  2. Visit Katharine profile page

    About Katharine

    Joined: Jan '08; Posts: 20; Likes: 1


  3. by   SuesquatchRN
    Well, I went back to school at 52 so no, you aren't too old.

    Frankly, though, I'd use those credits to bridge to a degree in health information management and stay at a desk job. I love taking care of people, too, but nursing is back-breaking at my age.
  4. by   dalgal
    Hi! No, you're not too old...I have just been accepted into a program here in Vermont and I am turning 43...go for it!
  5. by   llg
    Quote from SuesquatchRN
    Well, I went back to school at 52 so no, you aren't too old.

    Frankly, though, I'd use those credits to bridge to a degree in health information management and stay at a desk job. I love taking care of people, too, but nursing is back-breaking at my age.
    I totally agree with Suesquatch. Yes, you can become a nurse at your age. Yes, you can be successful. However, nursing can be very hard on the body -- particularly the types of staff nurse jobs that new grads are most likely to get at the beginning of their careers. I have known a lot of "older" new grads who under-estimate the difficulties of working night shifts, rotating shifts, being on their feet for 12 hours, etc. and have serious doubts about their choice to begin nursing once they are actually out of school and working as a nurse. Some also find that they are not as willing to work weekends and holidays as they had thought they would be.

    I would recommend "giving it a try" before making a huge investment of time and money in a nursing education. Become a nursing assistant as you complete any pre-req's or even sooner. A CNA (certified nursing assistant) course will not be a huge investment -- but it will give you the opportunity to get a job in a hospital or long term care facility caring for patients. Be sure that you work some night shifts, weekends, and holidays. Then, if you find that you like that sort of work and your body can tolerate working those hours, you will know that you can physically handle a staff nurse job. But don't wait until after you graduate as a nurse to find out that you can't stand to work that sort of a schedule or do that kind of work.

    Good luck to you -- with whatever you decide.
  6. by   FLmomof5
    You will find a ton of threads that ask this very same question.

    I am 46 and will be 48 when I graduate.

    You can do this.
  7. by   Katharine
    Thanks for all your thoughts and advice. Yes the physical part was part of my wondering. I will definitely keep all this in mind while making my decision for my future. :heartbeat
  8. by   HyperSaurus, RN
    My dad retired after 22 years in the Marines and promptly went to Nursing school. It's hard on him (several 12hour night shifts a week) but, he wouldn't trade it for the world. And a good friend of mine who is taking the same pre-reqs with me is in her mid 40s, has several young children, and her husband is in grad-school, but she seems to be keeping up pretty well. Your call
  9. by   Mossback
    I went back to school at 56, following 35 years in a non-health related career. My second stint in college has been demanding, but I think age brings with it a few assets. For instance, I have much better study skills, an improved work ethic, and a far stronger sense of self-discipline now than when I was in college the first time. I'm focussed on the classwork, rather than beer and women.

    Obviously, I don't think you're too old to go after a nursing degree.

    By the way, I recently heard about a 65-year-old woman who graduated number one in her nursing class. It makes even a fossil like me feel like a pup.
  10. by   FLmomof5
  11. by   Katharine
    Thank you for the replies. I will stop fussing over my age now! LOL I'm going to take the plunge and do the medical transcription. It will be an income at home for me while I'm homeschooling and starting my prerequisite classes. Plus it will help me break into healthcare.
  12. by   llg
    There are many threads on this topic on allnurses. If you do a search, you can read them.

    Note that many of the most enthusiastic supporters of the older students are still students who have never actually worked as nurses -- or those who have only recently graduated and for whom it is still a new and exciting adventure. Many of those who advise caution are the more experienced nurses. That right there should tell you something.

    Yes, it can be done. But those of us in the field advise caution. Another thing to think of ... which route will be the cheapest for you? Do you really want a large student loan to pay off into your 60's and 70's? Don't forget to take the finances into consideration.
  13. by   FLmomof5
    Yes, many of us who reply are enthusiastic students not nurses.....

    Now, if being our age is as "hard" on us physically as this one thread is cautioning....why aren't the older nuses retiring because it is too tough on their bodies? Just an honest question.

    Fact is: we are healthier today and live longer. Many of us didn't become idle in our middle years and still have the strength and the energy to pursue this dream.

    I would also agree with you on the 'watch your finances' statement. This is one reason why I am going to community college. Far cheaper than many of the programs I have seen posted on this site. Also, folks should consider other avenues for in FL, if you work for a certain set of hospitals, the state will pay back $4K of your student loans for 4 years or your student loan total, whichever is less. There are scholarship opportunities.
  14. by   Katharine
    Watching my school expenses is a hire priority. Once reason I want to go back to school is to make a better income to pay off our debts which includes past school loans. I figured the medical transcription, From research I've been doing, can potentially be a good way to begin doing that as a work at home job.

    I plan to look into scholarships and found one that might be good: they pay tuition, books, and a monthly stripend in exchange for working at understaffed facilities. I would consider that one if it looks like others aren't an option.

    Another option I might have is doing medical transcription for a local employer who refunds tuition costs.