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What You Need To Know About Older Nurses: Myths and Realities

Nurses Article   (29,951 Views 40 Comments 1,029 Words)
by J.Adderton J.Adderton (Member) Writer Verified

J.Adderton has 20 years experience .

78 Likes; 6 Followers; 27 Articles; 24,104 Visitors; 181 Posts

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Today’s nursing force is aging with an average age of 44 and average retirement age at 61 Current strategies to address the continued nursing shortage includes retaining older nurses and delaying retirement for those leaving the workforce prematurely. However, stereotypes of older nurses is common in healthcare and can lead to early retirement-further complicating the nursing shortage You are reading page 2 of What You Need To Know About Older Nurses: Myths and Realities. If you want to start from the beginning Go to First Page.

J.Adderton has 20 years experience.

78 Likes; 6 Followers; 27 Articles; 24,104 Visitors; 181 Posts

Have you ever considered hospice?

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Davey Do has 35 years experience and works as a Behavioral Health RN.

1,811 Likes; 13 Followers; 71,708 Visitors; 5,765 Posts

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Daisy4RN has 20 years experience.

452 Likes; 1 Follower; 5,578 Visitors; 752 Posts

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If that is you at different ages looking at each other with those comments then yea I get it, LOL

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Daisy4RN has 20 years experience.

452 Likes; 1 Follower; 5,578 Visitors; 752 Posts

As an older nurse myself (60ish) I don't have problems with technology (most of the time). I have problems with physical/stamina issues so because of medical issues now only work part time (even though I wasn't ready yet). But when I am at work I give it my all and have no problems keeping up with the younger crowd. We all work together nicely realizing we each have something to offer each other and the work environment.

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I am 46 years old and will graduate nursing school this April. I have a bachelors degree in IT so I sure do know my technology. The only problems I've had in nursing school at my age is RN's on the floor assuming I'm the nursing INSTRUCTOR and not the student, and my own perception of my limitations.

Last week, my back was killing me because we were on a labor and delivery floor and my one patient wasn't progressing. I really had nothing much to do but complete the writing assignments my instructor gave me. There was literally no place to sit so I was standing balancing my clipboard trying to work on these things. I can walk for miles and miles and miles, but standing all day....my back will hurt. As I was thinking about how old and crazy I am for being in nursing school at my age, one of the 20 somethings walked up to me and said "my back hurts SO bad from all of this standing all day!" . I assumed it was just because I was a bit older but really, everyone was feeling it.

I know I'm not "old" but I'm way older than most of the nursing students, but I will say that everyone - the nurses, instructors and other students - have welcomed me. I think my life experience has also helped me to be successful. I have a 3.95 GPA so far.....No one better tell me I "can't" do anything! lol

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J.Adderton has 20 years experience.

78 Likes; 6 Followers; 27 Articles; 24,104 Visitors; 181 Posts

That is so true, diversity just brings more to the table.

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I am a 57 years old. I had to leave my job that I loved 9yrs ago b/c I was diagnosed with stage 2 ovarian cancer. I also had a mitral valve replacement and a stroke. I was in a nursing facillty for a year, learning to walk again. Today, I'm feeling GREAT!! I'm healthy, I walk a lot, exercise. I would love to go back to work, but nobody seems interested. They only look a my absensce.I just renewed my license and ACLS & BCLS, so I'm up-to -date. I really feel discriminated against b/c of my previous disablilty and age. Any ideas? Thank you.

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563 Likes; 3 Followers; 25,917 Visitors; 5,221 Posts

I would just like to thank you for writing an article that actually reads like a professional paper rather than what we often see here. Many of the "articles" posted here sound like the opening chapter of a dime store novel.

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Daisy4RN has 20 years experience.

452 Likes; 1 Follower; 5,578 Visitors; 752 Posts

I am a 57 years old. I had to leave my job that I loved 9yrs ago b/c I was diagnosed with stage 2 ovarian cancer. I also had a mitral valve replacement and a stroke. I was in a nursing facillty for a year, learning to walk again. Today, I'm feeling GREAT!! I'm healthy, I walk a lot, exercise. I would love to go back to work, but nobody seems interested. They only look a my absensce.I just renewed my license and ACLS & BCLS, so I'm up-to -date. I really feel discriminated against b/c of my previous disablilty and age. Any ideas? Thank you.

I was also off work for a year and had a difficult time finding a job. It was a real eye opener because I had never had a hard time getting hired before. After many failed interviews (or failure to even get an interview) I did some research, re-vamped my resume, brushed up on interview skills and interview attire, and just kept going until I eventually got hired. I know how hard and disappointing this can be but just keep trying. Maybe also try places you might not have thought about, HH/Hospice, clinic, SNF, occupational, telephone triage etc. Sorry you are having a hard time! Good luck!!

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Why is that picture used? I am 69, been an RN 44 years and don't ever look that bad, even when I wake up in the morning. Talk about stereotyping. Get a life people....

Edited by dodah677
thought of something else

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nfahren05 has 18 years experience and works as a Case Manager.

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There are a lot of older (55+) nurses dropping out of clinical positions because the hospitals won't step away from the 12 hours shift requirement. We are losing a whole generation of experience because many nurses are feeling too tired at the end of the longer shifts to give safe care, especially since 12 hour shifts often end up being 16 hour shifts when there are staff shortages. National quality organizations have already backed up relative safety of 8 hour shifts over 12 hours, and have urged facilities to consider a change, but 12 hour shifts are simpler to schedule so patient and staff safety has fallen by the wayside. Many older nurses cope by moving into education, quality, risk, utilization/case management positions, but it is leaving a knowledge gap at the bedside as the nurses who are physically able to run non-stop for 12-16 hours in the ICU or ERs are less clinically experienced than their older peers. Please, if you are in a nursing leadership role, find a way to schedule those experienced and technologically capable RNs in a reasonable manner, whether it's dropping back to 8 hour shifts, prohibiting 16 hour shifts, or monitoring the number of back to back shifts that nurses work. Your patients and staff will thank you.

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Why is that picture used? I am 69, been an RN 44 years and don't ever look that bad, even when I wake up in the morning. Talk about stereotyping. Get a life people....

Thank you so much, doda677, for mentioning that picture. I looked at it and thought the same thing. That person looks like an old, haggard, shrew and definitely not a person I would want to work with or take care of me if I was a patient. I'm definitely an "older" nurse and while I no longer work in the clinical setting, I have many friends who do and frankly, they are some of the happiest, smiling, secure and confident nurses I know. They've lived through the years of uncertainty with themselves and their profession. They've spent time in management and decided having "a life" is more beneficial to their personal goals at this stage of their lives. They've gained the respect of their peers and the doctors they work with. They are the bedside leaders in their clinical environments.

When the day arrives that I'm the patient lying in that bed, I hope it is an older, experienced, organized nurse assigned to me...someone who can truly assess and pick up on subtle signs that only experience can provide...not a nurse running around helter-skelter, feeling overwhelmed by what is only the days events. How many of us remember those "really old" hospital nurse grads who could handle just about anything thrown at them from day one?

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