Starting over at 50

Nurses General Nursing


First I would like to congradulate all you new grads and encourage you to hang in there, the jobs will come! My situation is a little different. I am 50 yrs of age and considering a nursing career. I am starting basically from scratch as I don't have any college credits which means 2 yrs of gen ed 1st, nursing pre req's then applying to the adn program, another 2 yrs. My question to some of the seniors is this, is this really a realistic goal at my age (will be 55 by graduation). A lot of industries won't even consider hiring you after 47.

Long Term Care Columnist / Guide

VivaLasViejas, ASN, RN

22 Articles; 9,986 Posts

Specializes in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych.

Guess what? You and I both will be 55 in five years anyway...........would you rather be 55 with that R.N., or without it? :D

If you're in reasonably good health, I see NO reason not to go for it! You're probably going to be working at least another 20 years or more, might as well be doing something you want to do. And BTW, I've never had trouble finding a job........


141 Posts

It will be hard on your body but it is doable. I'm still doing it. Good Luck.


31 Posts

I am 57 and just completed my first semester of clinical nursing (3 to go). I work full time and go to school at night/Saturdays. I love it! It is very demanding at times, but I see the younger students suffering just as much as I do, so its not a matter of age! As was said above, if you are in good health, have good study habits and a good support system, nothing should stop you.


5 Posts

Thanks everyone for the words of encouragement. I believe I'm on the right track, there's no turning back now. I feel fortunate to have found this site and I am sure that over the next 4yrs I will receive invaluable info from some of you.


99 Posts

Specializes in Telemetry.

Do not give up if you believe you can make it then you will. Learn to focus on one task at a time and dont let anyone discourage you instead surround yourself with positive people.


72 Posts

Specializes in Telemetry.

I earned by RN (Associates) when I was 54 and there isn't a day that goes by that I don't regret going into this profession. It is not my age for I'm in excellent physical is simply that I'm mature enough to recognize that this is not a career that lives up to it's reputation.

Nurses are overworked, underpaid and labor under the concept that they should be selfless angels willing to sacrifice for their worthy profession. If they complain they are simply "not fit", "unworthy", or told "then get out, if you don't like it."

And God help the ones that refuse to be treated poorly and recognize the insanity of finding happiness in sacrificing peace of mind and honor . . .God help the nurses who actually speak up and say, "I didn't go to school to clean up feces, give baths and change sheets . . . (especially when the nurse's aides actually demand their breaks, can't be found, don't respond to pages and the nurse has to do the unskilled chores when he/she hasn't had the time to eat for the last 8 hours...and is expected to clock out on time with EVERYTHING done right). For if you open your mouth and rebel, then you'll hear the BS: You're a nurse and must be willing to take care of the whole patient and this unfortunately is part of it...for shame on you for complaining!

And count on a lack of supplies, a inept or overworked pharmacy that can't get your meds to you on time, too many patients with too many needs, onerous documentation, machines that don't work, doctors who won't take the time to write legibly, and yell at you, computer systems that defy logic, associated departments that don't do their job . . .so make your job harder, etc. etc. etc.

The bottom line...There is no amount of patient appreciation, that actually does come along once in a while, that could possibly, for me at least, make up for the absolute insanity of this "vocation".

Oh, and just to top it off....don't plan on a pat on the back for your hard work...NO! Head's up. You are under constant scrutiny and threat of censure should you dare to be less than perfect. There is no promotion, so to speak and the raises are laughable...To get more money, you have to change hospitals so you'd better work in a city with lots of Medical Centers.

I could go on and on...but I'm really tired...and still looking for a way out.. Don't simply tell someone to leave a job they dislike, it's rude and stupid. It's never that easy and there are bills to pay. I'm simply warning the next guy to get out while they can . . . don't do this to yourself . . . leave skid marks.


1 Post

Unfortunately, you have hit the nail on the head of the cold, hard truths of many nursing jobs. I am 35 and have been looking for an RN - BSN program, but am actually considering a bachelor's degree in a non-nursing major, like Health and Wellness, Human Services or Health Science. I have become so disillutioned with nursing, and it does seem the negatives you mentioned outweigh the positives most of the time. I love helping people, but think I should look towards another way of doing that, myself!


161 Posts

Specializes in med/surg, ER.

I'm sorry to hear that some are so disgruntled with their career choice. I have been working as an extern for 2 years and will graduate next week with my BSN. Age doesn't necessarily prohibit you from going into the nursing profession. In my case, it is attitude and willingness to see the glass is half full. Also, I work with people who know what team work is and do it.


243 Posts

What a downer! I empathize with those that are miserable as nurses - and you owe it to yourself/families/patients/staff to get out of it and find your true vocation - but I don't think it's fair to say the entire profession sucks when what you really mean is it's just a terrible fit for YOU. No offense intended -

To the OP - I graduated when I was 55 also, and all through school and my job search I expected to encounter "ageism." Didn't happen.

Specializes in Cardiac Care.

I graduated last week at the age of 51 with a job waiting for me on the telemetry floor of the facility at which I completed my clinicals. Many of my classmates graduated with jobs waiting for them. I was the oldest to graduate, but many, many of my classmates were over 45.

If you want to be a nurse, do it! As VivaLasViejas said, you're going to be 55 anyway... might as well be a 55 year old RN...

Much luck and success to you!


1,016 Posts

I'd say to do it if you feel you really have the passion for it. I advise ANYBODY to be a tech for a while, even for 3 months if you can, to see what it's really like.

I started at 44 and am 46 now. It really, really tires me out. I'm not in the best shape, so that' makes it harder. In your 50's, you'd really need to be in top shape to be able to do it, but there are a lot of really FIT 50 year olds out there with tons of energy.

You WILL always have a job, somewhere as a nurse. That is a huge positive. Age discrimination happens, but it's very low key and really doesn't prevent you from getting jobs -- as long as you cut the mustard, they'll hire you and will keep you.

It's cutting the mustard that is the hard part. Unfortunately, cenote's comments hit it on the head. That IS the reality. If you can overcome it like i have, by LOVING your co-workers, enjoying time off, enjoying the pay, etc. it could be worth it, but, honestly, I am also looking for the WAY out, through grad school at this point. Bedside nursing is just tough, gritty, filthy grueling work. They expect perfection and pay you nothing, IMO. I could never hang with it beyond 4 years or so.

But, it IS a challenge, sharpens your mind, teaches you a lot of lessons. I have enjoyed my co-workers immensely and have also had a lot of fun on the floor. I can't say it's ALL negative.

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