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Who wants to hire a graduate nurse at 55?

Nurses   (11,035 Views | 113 Replies)

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On 1/16/2020 at 5:24 PM, 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.ūüė° ¬†Nothing steams me more than age, or any other discrimination.

Hi Juniper - 

I have never been asked my age on an application, but obviously they can pretty much see for themselves when you show up for an interview. Even if you look great for your age, it's pretty obvious if you're over 40 rather than in your 20s, for example. 

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by snr New Nurse

snr specializes in ER.

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I became an RN at age 60.  Yes it was hard to find a job because of the lack of experience as a nurse.  I did land a job at a small hospital > one hour away from Katy, TX.  One year later I got another job in the Dept I wanted - ER at a major hospital.  Still working 10 years later with 2  wonderful jobs.   Try looking at small towns in your area.  

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MemphisRN is a ASN, BSN, MSN and specializes in Hospice.

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Hi! I just posted this to topic where a new graduate is having trouble getting a job in nursing. I think it is applicable to you as well. 

You asked for help so here it it, free. What you have is fear. What do you do to conquer fear? Immediate and consistent action. What you don't have is a plan. Here is one that works. Every time. 

First, go to www.kencoleman.com. Review the website. Listen to the Ken Coleman Show podcast, it is free. Ken is the country's leading authority on how to find a job. Go to the public library and order his book the Proximity Principle, it is free.

The way the Proximity Principle works is that you have to find the place where people are doing what you want to do and associate with them. Then you have to find people that can help you get into the position that you want. Just Saturday a total stranger called me and said that somebody gave her my name and number and told her that she should call me and ask if we had any positions open. I was not offended, I was impressed this person would call me and ask. She must be a go getter! But even better is finding someone that can walk your resume into a hiring manager and recommend you. You are no longer on the bottom of a stack of resumes at that point, you are in the hands of the hiring manager or recruiter. Getting seen is the goal. Who do you know that works where you want to work? Who do you know that knows someone that works where you want to work? Most people want to help other people. You just want information. You are not asking for a job. I just helped a friend get her daughter's resume into the hands of a recruiter. I have not even started work at my new job but I was comfortable enough to send her resume to the recruiter. Recruiters and hiring managers want to hire people for the positions they have open. You are not a burden to them, you are what they seek. Join church or other job hunting groups. I did this even when I knew I could easily get a job. Talking about what you are doing to find a job is a great encourager. You also may make some great contacts. You may also get an accountability partner out of it. Okay, there is your plan. Ready, Set, Go!

When my wife and I graduated from nursing school I immediately got a job working at the one and only hospital in town. My soon to be wife wanted L&D but did not get hired. She missed the hiring deadline for graduate nurses. She took a job at a local nursing home and hated every minute of it. We thought we were captured by where we lived. Then one day I decided that I wanted to live on the coast and work for a big hospital in a big town. I sent out about a 100 letters (no internet back then!) and I got back 52 offers of employment! Even more interesting my wife got her dream job! Just because where you are doesn't work doesn't mean you are doomed (double negative intended.)  You got to get to where you can do what you want to do. Come to Memphis, TN, we have 100s of RN jobs that need to be filled!  

Nothing in your original post led me to believe that you are in financial distress. But if money is a concern then go back to the library and get a copy of Dave Ramsey's "Total Money Makeover." Get your financial house in order. Find Financial Peace. 

So what is the biggest killer of the plan? Procrastination! Go back to the library and get a copy of "No Excuses!" by Brian Tracey.

You have a new job! Your job is to find the position you want and go after it. Eat! Sleep! Exercise! Pray! Meditate! And Work like no other so you can get that position you want!

 Ready, Set, Go!

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Nurse Beth has 30 years experience as a MSN and specializes in Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho.

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On 1/16/2020 at 2:23 PM, RNat55 said:

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.

Nice to meet you, RNat55, I think we are sisters! I'm a nurse educator in the hospital setting, and a nurse writer :). 

First of all, don't take rejection personally as a new grad. Are you giving up on hospitals too soon? To be a nurse educator, you need acute care experience. New grads typically make several applications over several months before landing a job. Sometimes not being accepted means there's something better down the line. Maybe you even dodged a bullet with the HCA application.

  • De-emphasize your age on your resumes. No need to mention your law degree.¬†
  • Be open to re-locating, if possible. It can make all the difference as the market changes, especially as you get away from large cities.
  • Present your self as tech savvy, such as "I have experience with Epic" (or whichever platform they use) and get a LinkedIn profile.
  • Never make disparaging remarks about yourself, esp your age. As I say in my article here on line¬† Ageism in Nursing, applicants who perpetuate stereotypes such as "You youngsters will have to help me on the computer!" are neither funny not helping themselves. Not that you would do that, you sound very professional- but those who do are unwittingly buying in to age discrimination.
  • Project a high energy. Cultivate a light step, sit straight, mention your yoga classes or other fitness routine if able in your interview to reinforce your health and physical aptitude.
  • Read Age Discrimination in Nursing for hiring tips

I have so many more tips for you in my book "Your Last Nursing Class:  How to Land Your First Nursing Job...and Your Next!" 

You should do everything you can to land this first job, my friend, your window of opportunity is now.

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Silver_Rik has 1 years experience as a ASN and specializes in Perioperative intern.

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On 1/16/2020 at 9:50 PM, RNat55 said:

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...? ūüôā¬†Thanks for your thoughts.

One thing that would help is an accepted way to verify education credentials without dates.  Something an employer can look at and confirm that you have a BSN but don’t need to know you got it in 2019 or 1979.  Obviously there will still be other cues like age, appearance, experience.

Also more employers could do blind interviews.  My wife was hired literally sight unseen (3 phone interviews) at her current job.

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25 minutes ago, Silver_Rik said:

One thing that would help is an accepted way to verify education credentials without dates.  Something an employer can look at and confirm that you have a BSN but don’t need to know you got it in 2019 or 1979.  Obviously there will still be other cues like age, appearance, experience.

Also more employers could do blind interviews.  My wife was hired literally sight unseen (3 phone interviews) at her current job.

Thanks for your response. Your wife's employers show they were out to be fair in the complete sense of the word. Really a blind¬†interview which more employers should do. Once, I get a call for a face to face interview, I say, okay now they will see I am not in my twenties. ūüôā

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On 1/20/2020 at 9:58 AM, Nurse Beth said:

Nice to meet you, RNat55, I think we are sisters! I'm a nurse educator in the hospital setting, and a nurse writer :). 

First of all, don't take rejection personally as a new grad. Are you giving up on hospitals too soon? To be a nurse educator, you need acute care experience. New grads typically make several applications over several months before landing a job. Sometimes not being accepted means there's something better down the line. Maybe you even dodged a bullet with the HCA application.

  • De-emphasize your age on your resumes. No need to mention your law degree.¬†
  • Be open to re-locating, if possible. It can make all the difference as the market changes, especially as you get away from large cities.
  • Present your self as tech savvy, such as "I have experience with Epic" (or whichever platform they use) and get a LinkedIn profile.
  • Never make disparaging remarks about yourself, esp your age. As I say in my article here on line Age Discrimination¬†in Nursing, applicants who perpetuate stereotypes such as "You youngsters will have to help me on the computer!" are neither funny not helping themselves. Not that you would do that, you sound very professional- but those who do are unwittingly buying in to age discrimination.
  • Project a high energy. Cultivate a light step, sit straight, mention your yoga classes or other fitness routine if able in your interview to reinforce your health and physical aptitude.

I have so many more tips for you in my book "Your Last Nursing Class...how to land your first job...and your next!" 

You should do everything you can to land this first job, my friend, your window of opportunity is now.

Thanks, Nurse Beth! I will look into what you have written and try to make adjustments. I agree I may have dodged a bullet with the HCA job. I just saw they readvertised the same position last week.

I agree, the time is now and I am doing all I can to get this first job. I am attending a Vitas hospice hiring event tomorrow and also applied to Davita Dialysis clinic yesterday. I will keep looking. Thank you.

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6 hours ago, snr said:

I became an RN at age 60.  Yes it was hard to find a job because of the lack of experience as a nurse.  I did land a job at a small hospital > one hour away from Katy, TX.  One year later I got another job in the Dept I wanted - ER at a major hospital.  Still working 10 years later with 2  wonderful jobs.   Try looking at small towns in your area.  

Congratulations! Thanks for sharing. Good suggestion.

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juniper222 specializes in Pre Nursing.

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17 hours ago, Apple-Core said:

Hi Juniper - 

I have never been asked my age on an application, but obviously they can pretty much see for themselves when you show up for an interview. Even if you look great for your age, it's pretty obvious if you're over 40 rather than in your 20s, for example. 

You make very good points.  What about someone who looks older than they are though.  I look young for my age (my avatar pic is last year), but my neighbor is in his 40s and looks like he is 80!

Discrimination can be very difficult to prove, but we know it still exists. I think most cases it will be the HR¬†and their personal views. ¬†If the only people they have are all young, and there are many old people applying for the position, you got to ask the question.ūüôĄ

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Hello RN at 55,  There is definitely age bias present in the world of nursing.   I was older when I graduated and it took me a while to get the first job and then I was hired based ona friends recommendation into a LTC facility that was desperate for nurses.  When I started nursing school, I was told that older nurses were valued as we were more stable in our personal life.  However, this might be true, most places are looking for younger people,  Nursing is a profession that requires time to be good at.  YOunger people have more time to "mature" in the profession.  EMployers just don't want to invest in old people because we  don't have lots of time left in the profession.  I was told we are just not worth the time and money required for us to grow in the job.  I also went the Nurse Educator route and have completed  my MSN.  I am finding that the more experience you have the more likely you are to get a educator position.  IT is like the mpre time you have on the floor, the better educator you are.  I say bull to that.  I can learn anything to be able to teach it.   Nursing is a weird profession, they don't value age, they value experience.  If you don't have experience when you are old, you have no value to the profession.

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1 hour ago, historylady said:

Hello RN at 55,  There is definitely age bias present in the world of nursing.   I was older when I graduated and it took me a while to get the first job and then I was hired based ona friends recommendation into a LTC facility that was desperate for nurses.  When I started nursing school, I was told that older nurses were valued as we were more stable in our personal life.  However, this might be true, most places are looking for younger people,  Nursing is a profession that requires time to be good at.  YOunger people have more time to "mature" in the profession.  EMployers just don't want to invest in old people because we  don't have lots of time left in the profession.  I was told we are just not worth the time and money required for us to grow in the job.  I also went the Nurse Educator route and have completed  my MSN.  I am finding that the more experience you have the more likely you are to get a educator position.  IT is like the mpre time you have on the floor, the better educator you are.  I say bull to that.  I can learn anything to be able to teach it.   Nursing is a weird profession, they don't value age, they value experience.  If you don't have experience when you are old, you have no value to the profession.

You are right. It appears more employers prefer younger nurses. I am trying not to give up that I will eventually find something. So you have not been able to get an opportunity to use your MSN to teach?

Anyways, thanks for sharing. Wishing us the very best.

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Silver_Rik has 1 years experience as a ASN and specializes in Perioperative intern.

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16 hours ago, juniper222 said:

You make very good points.  What about someone who looks older than they are though.  I look young for my age (my avatar pic is last year), but my neighbor is in his 40s and looks like he is 80!

Discrimination can be very difficult to prove, but we know it still exists. I think most cases it will be the HR¬†and their personal views. ¬†If the only people they have are all young, and there are many old people applying for the position, you got to ask the question.ūüôĄ

A place I worked for a long time (before I got into healthcare) opened up 4 new entry level management positions in our office.  Plenty of hard working, experienced, and talented older employees applied.  Not a single spot went to anyone over 25.  I doubt that's a big enough sample to make a case for age discrimination; but it doesn't look good on the surface, and people noticed.  It was one of the reasons I left (and I was not an applicant, had no interest in the position, but saw that the overall culture was not friendly to older workers advancing.)

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