57+ and starting a nursing career

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Is 57+ too late to begin a nursing career?

  1. 1. Is 57+ too late to begin a nursing career?

78 members have participated

Hi Applewhitern, it's a relief to know that we're not in the geriatric group yet, whoa. However, my interest in geriatrics has to do with my grandmother. She was in her 80s and had thyroid cancer. Before the illness consumed the person I loved, she made it clear that she wanted to die at home and so she did. I saw what being ill did to her as she slowly became a stranger to me. She no longer spoke. She sat around, spat on people and bit them. She was once very funny, always had food and coffee ready for visitors, and she always had guests. But, that became my memory of her. Now, I was scared of her and stopped visiting. As I said she died in her bed. When I arrived, apparently something was abnormal about the sound that escaped my mouth because everyone got frightened and tried to calm me down. But they didn't know why I was heart broken. We all knew she was going to die. No one was surprised. I was ashamed. I wondered if she realized that I stopped coming. Did she want to see me (I once visited several times a week, every week, for years). My grandmother was fortunate to have soooo many people who loved her and cared for her until her death. I abandoned her like many others must abandoned their elderly. I believe everyone should have someone who cares about them present during the times when they need someone most even if the only someone is a nurse. Maybe I don't know what I'm talking about. I guess I might be trying to right a wrong that's only in my head.

Hi Fiona59. That makes me extremely anger. Animals, children, and especially the elderly are always abused physically and emotionally because they are the most vulnerable among us. I don't know if we (society) can ever rights this wrong but the sad truth is I don't think we ever will.

Thanks Esme12. I'll visit those sites.

Ruas61, BSN, RN

Specializes in MDS/ UR. Has 39 years experience.

Not everyone abandons their elders. Compassion and empathy are a wonderful thing but it needs to extend to everyone. I would gently remind you that someone not present might have reasons or circumstances that are unknown.

pmabraham, BSN, RN

Specializes in Hospice, Palliative Care. Has 3 years experience.

Good day, kelleytison:

When I looked into starting nursing at age 50 last year, my vocational counselor gave me the name and number of a gentlemen who was a mechanic for decades who started LPN nursing school at age 65. He's retired now, and shared two main things: 1) it was the best decision he made in his life, and 2) he would have went for an RN had he known better.

Thank you.

Hi Ruas61,

I know that everyone doesn't abandon their elderly family members. I stopped visiting my grandmother but as I mentioned, she passed away in her own bed. My aunt stopped working to take care of her mom and my grandmother's other children, grandchildren, siblings, pastor, and friends were always present. I also agree that there are those who will be absent for reasons/circumstances unknown. I had a reason for not being there that nobody knew. I only wish to extend the compassion and empathy I didn't give my grandmother to individuals who have love ones who can't be for reasons or circumstances unknown. And for those who do have someone (many do), a little more compassion might only make them feel better.

I love it, pmabraham. Thank you very much for your post.:)

I'm inspired by your desire to start a second career. I too am starting a second career (just turned 40) and have similar fears! We only live this life ONE time. Goooooo for it!! I was wondering though, if you resign from your job will you be losing retirement benefits? And while I'm excited about my career change, the reality I keep hearing about there not being a nursing shortage is quite discouraging but I know that I will find someplace to work. I'm proud of you! And I'm sure your grandmother would be too.

pmabraham, BSN, RN

Specializes in Hospice, Palliative Care. Has 3 years experience.

Good day, kelleytison:

One of my strongest inspirations to become a nurse (started last year at age 50; now waiting for an acceptance letter into a RN program) was my mother. She came to this country as a teenager prior to graduating high school to marry my father whom she met in the Army while he was stationed in Europe. I remember her stories about how proud she was to learn English and to take her citizenship test to become a legal citizen. When I was in my 20's she called me asking my thoughts about her going for her G.E.D. (she was in her 50's at the time) I encouraged her to do it, and became a cheerleader of sorts for her.

She went onto get her G.E.D. and started volunteering to run with the local ambulance company. She went back to school and became and EMT to continue to run the with local ambulance company. A few years went by, and she called me asking my thoughts about her becoming an LPN; I reminded her of her past victories and told her to go for it. She went on to become an LPN, and started working at a hospital local to where they live in their emergency room. Several years of being an LPN (my mother's old fashion; she never revealed her exact age even to her children... but you can get an idea now she's pushing late 50's early 60's by now), she was encouraged by a doctor in the ER to go for her RN. So she went back to school to become an RN. She didn't retire as an E.R. RN until I was in my late 40's.

In my own journey (after almost 30 years in information technology), I can share that while it is hard, it is very rewarding. I'm often the oldest or among the oldest in each class; in my case as a guy, there have been times I was the only man in the class, and other times where I'm among the very few (even in the pure general education classes that cross various degrees -- I actually find that part surprising). I find I can hold my weight among those far younger than I; and that in itself is a reward. During the regular semester classes (vs. 6 week summer) where you can sometimes get to know your fellow classmates, I often find a number looking up to me... maybe its my age, maybe its because I love to share and help others (I don't know which or what); but it feels encouraging.

kelleytison, don't let age be a barrier to your dreams.

Thank you.

I am also a recently resigned teacher and pre-nursing student. I am also middle aged. I taught for 12 years. It was my second career and now on to my third. I don't think there is anything wrong with trying to do everything in this life that we want to do. If you have the finances to go back, and the support, why not?? Education in my state has become horrible. We have no unions, and the pay is horrible!

Regarding benefits, they suck too...frankly. People think we "get so much time off." We never clock out. I was always overwhelmed with work AT HOME (grading, lesson planning, remaking lessons, completing the mounds of paperwork, etc.) I will just be glad to punch out and go home and to enjoy my time at home.

Here's what I have figured out. No career choice is perfect. You have to judge what is most important to you amongst the things there are to consider (salary, time off, working conditions, persona fulfillment, benefits, opportunities for change/growth, etc.) For me, teaching had what I needed while my kids were in school. Now, my needs have changed.

Best of luck! I'm doing great in school this time around and my younger classmates are really struggling. My muscles ache, and my back hurts, but my heart is full. :)

I graduated from nursing school in January, passed my boards in January and began working as an RN on a cardiac specialty floor in February. Prior to that I spent the last year and a half as a full time student and part time aide on the same floor. Being an aide is miserable and I know my grades suffered because of it. I still graduated with a 3.9 and a job. Find work now in whatever hospital you want to work in and be the best at whatever you are asked to do. Oh, and I will be 59 next month. Good for you, life is full of surprises and second chances.

I started back to school at 50 and just finished my ADN program at 53. I'm working in the health center on campus for the next year and then will be looking for a job in California. II take my NCLEX July 22nd. I encourage you to pursue nursing. Who knows what type of opportunities will open up in the future for those who have a nursing degree! I am optimistic about the prospects and I am also so glad I decided to go this route and finish college. I may go with an online BSN program within the next year but that will depend on how necessary it is as I look for work once we get ready to move.