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Who wants to hire a graduate nurse at 55?

Nurses   (11,097 Views | 113 Replies)

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I am in my final semester for my BSN. I qualified as an RN in September 2019 and I have been job searching. Due to my recent job interview experiences, I am beginning to wonder if I can secure a graduate nurse position at the age of 55. 

My very last interview with an HCA hospital took about two months and included over 140 character assessment questions, on-demand video interviews, face to face interviews with the nurse manager, then the nursing director and finally, the management. I got a phone offer from the recruiter who stated she would email the formal offer. Three days after, she called and informed me they made a mistake as they thought they had more openings. I should feel free to reapply or apply for a different position and could contact her for help. I was shocked and dumbfounded!

I keep feeling my age is the issue. Please, does anyone have any suggestions as to where I could consider applying for a graduate nurse position at this age? My ultimate aim is to become a nurse educator. For now, I have an interest in also becoming a nurse writer.

Thank you for your assistance.

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"nursy" has 40 years experience as a RN and specializes in ICU, ER, Home Health, Corrections, School Nurse.

240 Posts; 967 Profile Views

I personally have had no issues getting positions at my age.  Age 55 ICU, age 57 corrections,  age 62 school nurse.  Having said that, if you read enough postings on this forum, you will find plenty of way younger nurses complaining of back aches, exhaustion, and just complete physical decompensation due to 12 hour shifts, dealing with heavier and heavier patients, etc.  I am in very good shape, and can usually run circles around a lot of my younger coworkers.  

I have no idea what shape you are in, and how you would be able to handle the physical stress of hospital nursing.  I would think a lot of employers would love to have a more mature nurse coming on board, however, if they perceive any physical issues, they may think twice (even though we all know that's illegal). It is more likely that being a new grad is more of an impediment, as many new grads have trouble getting that first job.  I would just keep looking and if that recruiter said to contact her for help, then call her and see what she can come up with.  Good luck!

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1 Follower; 3 Articles; 54 Posts; 1,137 Profile Views

Nursy, did you get the ICU position as a graduate nurse because I see you have 40 years of experience as an RN. I am starting my nursing career at 55. I am fit. I don't have any disability, nor medical condition, neither am I on prescription drugs. I take 4 mile walks at least three times a week.

In one other hospital walk-in interview, the young interviewer asked me twice if I meant I had just graduated from nursing school or that I had some previous nursing experience. To me, the look on her face was "Is she serious?" 🙂 She managed to ask me about 3 questions. In the end, I was told I wasn't being considered and I could go to their other hospital locations to interview. And since they had my resume at this location, it would be passed on to the graduate nurse hiring team. But this was a graduate nurse hiring event and I was the first person to interview!

I am still applying but I wrote this post to find out if there are other areas that age might not be too much of an issue. Of course, I know it's illegal and no recruiter is going to tell me that is the reason. If they have younger graduate nurses applying for hospital RN graduate nurse positions, why would they really want to choose me? They might be concerned about how I would fit in with other graduate nurses that could be my children? 🙂

Edited by RNat55
Remove the word "over" in the first sentence.

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scribblz has 13 years experience as a BSN, CNA, LPN and specializes in Med Surg, Tele, Geriatrics, home infusion.

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Hi RNat55,

I suspect the combination of age plus being a new grad is working against you. However, you mentioned an interest in education and that is in your favor. Nursing programs for BSN RN students need BSNs to run their clinicals. As someone who has recently graduated from a program you can utilize the insights you gained as a student on what makes a good clinical instructor. You can leverage life experience, knowledge of how the nursing program runs and knowing the faculty already.

Other places you are more likely to have your life experiences valued would be as a CNA instructor. Age = experience in most people's eyes. Just play it up IE. I've developed caregiver skills in the following roles or teaching skills by doing XYZ. 

Home care, corporate nursing and often times hospice also value these transferable life skills.

Hospitals are the very hardest places to be hired, and often give you the run around if you don't know people on the inside. Don't let them get you down, if they can't see what you bring to the table; it may just be a warning sign they'd be lousy to work for any way!

Best of luck to you 🙂

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"nursy" has 40 years experience as a RN and specializes in ICU, ER, Home Health, Corrections, School Nurse.

240 Posts; 967 Profile Views

I did have experience when I got my ICU job.  I have worked with a fair amount of new grads who were NOT  20-somethings, so the issue of how you get along with other graduates, shouldn't be an issue. Like I  said previously, I think a lot of new grads have a hard time getting that first job (you see this issue on these posts all the time).  I think you just have to hang in there.

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juniper222 specializes in Pre Nursing.

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They should make it a federal law that no employer can ask for your age.  They can put a "check this" box to indicate you claim not to be a minor.😡  Nothing steams me more than age, or any other discrimination.

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mmc51264 has 8 years experience as a ADN, BSN, MSN, RN and specializes in orthopedic; Informatics, diabetes.

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I started my first nursing job at 48. There is value in life experience. 😉

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On 1/16/2020 at 7:52 PM, mmc51264 said:

I started my first nursing job at 48. There is value in life experience. 😉

Great! But I am 7 years older. 🙂  I agree there is value in life experiences. As Scribbly advised, I am not going to let it weigh me down.

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5 hours ago, scribblz said:

Hi RNat55,

I suspect the combination of age plus being a new grad is working against you. However, you mentioned an interest in education and that is in your favor. Nursing programs for BSN RN students need BSNs to run their clinicals. As someone who has recently graduated from a program you can utilize the insights you gained as a student on what makes a good clinical instructor. You can leverage life experience, knowledge of how the nursing program runs and knowing the faculty already.

Other places you are more likely to have your life experiences valued would be as a CNA instructor. Age = experience in most people's eyes. Just play it up IE. I've developed caregiver skills in the following roles or teaching skills by doing XYZ. 

Home care, corporate nursing and often times hospice also value these transferable life skills.

Hospitals are the very hardest places to be hired, and often give you the run around if you don't know people on the inside. Don't let them get you down, if they can't see what you bring to the table; it may just be a warning sign they'd be lousy to work for any way!

Best of luck to you 🙂

Thank you so much for your kind and encouraging words. I have decided to turn my back on hospitals and start searching home-health and others you have now suggested.

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2 hours ago, juniper222 said:

They should make it a federal law that no employer can ask for your age.  They can put a "check this" box to indicate you claim not to be a minor.😡  Nothing steams me more than age, or any other discrimination.

Most don't ask for age but my resume will definitely give an idea (I have a master's degree in law, plus I started going grey in high school, so...? 🙂 Thanks for your thoughts.

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Sour Lemon has 9 years experience.

3 Followers; 4,313 Posts; 31,900 Profile Views

I think the best thing for older new graduates to do is present themselves as nearly blank slates. For entry level positions, managers seem to want individuals who are pliable.

"Life experience" can come across as "doesn't take direction well". More so if the individual has been successful in their past life experience.

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1 Follower; 3 Articles; 54 Posts; 1,137 Profile Views

On 1/16/2020 at 10:02 PM, Sour Lemon said:

I think the best thing for older new graduates to do is present themselves as nearly blank slates. For entry level positions, managers seem to want individuals who are pliable.

"Life experience" can come across as "doesn't take direction well". More so if the individual has been successful in their past life experience.

Hmmm? I can see how this can happen. Any suggestions on how one can present oneself as a nearly blank slate? Interesting... Thanks for your thoughts.

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