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Too Old to Enter Critical Care Nursing?

Critical   (9,877 Views 42 Comments)
by Fiddlesticks27 Fiddlesticks27 (New Member) New Member

911 Visitors; 41 Posts

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Hi All,

I'm 35 and have been an RN for 10 years. I've done a few years of med-surg and some outpatient nursing/ care management. I've always had an interest in critical care, but admittedly, have felt slightly intimidated by it at times, thus have not yet entered this specialty. I know 35 is not old, but I wonder if it's a bit old to just be starting in critical care. I recall working with ICU nurses in their 40s and 50s, but I wonder whether they started younger than I would be. I'd appreciate any feedback about average age to start in ICU and whether there's a point at which you'd say 'find a different specialty.' Thanks so much!

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Pheebz777 has 18 years experience and works as a BSN-RN, CCRN-CMC-CSC, CEN.

4,095 Visitors; 216 Posts

35 is only a number. Only you can answer that question. Are you open minded? Are you willing to study hard? Are you willing to accept new failures and learning experiences?

You can be 20 years old and have none of the above and you will fail in the ICU. However the ICU gives you the opportunity to improve upon yourself.

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MYSTICOOKIEBEAR has 5 years experience.

3,531 Visitors; 144 Posts

35? Absolutely not! If you are interested and want to increase your knowledge, skill set, and your nursing abilities, go for it. It is a very fun world to get into, it is scary, exhilarating, and exciting all mixed into one.

If you were say 62 and were going to retire at 65, I might advise you just to finish out where you are. But since that is not the case, I would say absolutely do it! :yes:

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gonzo1 has 15 years experience.

20 Likes; 22,895 Visitors; 1,687 Posts

I didn't even start nursing school till I was 45. Went to ICU age 55.

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gonzo1 has 15 years experience.

20 Likes; 22,895 Visitors; 1,687 Posts

Now 60 and just started working on my BSN. I know a lady that's 64 and just got her BSN. Now she's working on her masters.

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911 Visitors; 41 Posts

And are you still in the ICU? Thanks for your encouraging reply!

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gonzo1 has 15 years experience.

20 Likes; 22,895 Visitors; 1,687 Posts

med surg x 1 year, ER x 8 years and now 4 years in ICU. At my last job we had 2 nurses that were 70 and working in ICU. They rocked it. I'm wondering if you think ICU is too much for "old" people or what?

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911 Visitors; 41 Posts

I certainly don't think ICU is too much for an older nurse! There are some stereotypes in nursing (in any field, really) which imply that certain fields or specialties are geared toward certain age groups. Or that if an older nurse is working in a more intense specialty, it's because they've been doing it for 20+ years. My hope is that these are just stereotypes and the replies thus far are encouraging. Thank you!

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bebbercorn has 10 years experience.

1 Like; 11,433 Visitors; 448 Posts

I think one of the benefits of someone going into critical care a little later is that you are better able to handle and process constructive criticism. When I entered trauma (after 30), some of the ways I was spoken to may have crushed me in my 20's... If only my back was the same...

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911 Visitors; 41 Posts

That's a good point. I do feel a sense of being more grounded and self-assured at this age. I think when I picture going into a more intense field such as ICU or ED/Trauma, I imagine I'll have to ask some questions which may seem naive to the more experienced folks there- and I picture naive questions being better tolerated coming from a younger nurse than from a nurse my age. Hopefully people keep in mind that specialty knowledge and skills can vary widely, but if I were to be spoken to very bluntly and made to feel 2 inches tall, I think my skin is thick enough now to handle it. I think :-) Thanks for the reply.

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calivianya works as a Registered Nurse.

35,140 Visitors; 2,418 Posts

I would be more concerned about the condition of your back than your age. I am going to be 28 next week and ICU is wearing my back down quite quickly - all these 400 pound floppy vented patients that are constantly stooling from the tube feeds is no joke.

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