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Why are things so tough on older nurses to get jobs


Specializes in ER, L&D, ICU, LTC, HH. Has 25 years experience.

Just want some feed back here. I will be 50 years old tomorrow and I keep getting rejects from every where I turn. It is so depressing. I had to be out for a few years because of a non work related injury. Lots of time to read and study, catch up on things and such but it seems I am no longer wanted in the profession I chose. I am getting so depressed. What can a RN do to get her foot back in the door. I had 10 years of Trauma Level one and two, ICU, L&D experience.



PostOpPrincess, BSN, RN

Specializes in M/S, MICU, CVICU, SICU, ER, Trauma, NICU. Has 19 years experience.

I'm sorry.

I do not think it has much to do with age as much as you've been out of the scene for awhile.

Time for you to get your networking machine in tune and call the friends you know who know someone...who knows someone else.

Go volunteer.

...good luck!

Rabid Response

Specializes in ICU/CCU. Has 5 years experience.

I don't think that anyone, regardless of age or experience, is having an easy time finding work right now. Hang in there and don't give up. The economy has got to turn around some time, and then hospitals will be begging for nurses with your level of experience.

mamamerlee, LPN

Specializes in home health, dialysis, others. Has 35 years experience.

I firmly believe it is mainly a money issue. Pay for a new grad may be as much as $12 / hr less than for those of us with 20+ years of experience. Hospitals can hire 3 of them for two of the more experienced ones. And the hospitals are thinking about the possible amount of more sicktime for some of the older ones, greater possibility of injury on the job, etc.

Please do not flame me, I am also a victim of ageism.

The reason older nurses can't get jobs is because other older nurses won't quit theirs.

Willow Moonsidhe

Specializes in ER, L&D, ICU, LTC, HH. Has 25 years experience.

Sorry I need to work not volunteer lol. No money = no food. Nursing still needs it's older people to. I keep being told we had so many interns from school. I have 10 years of experience on an intern. I just don't get it.



Lots of facilities have a hiring freeze on at the moment. They aren't hiring at all, or they are only hiring from within their own system/network. No one (of any age) is having an easy time of it just now.

You might want to look into taking a refresher course, not so much because you've been out of the loop for such a long time (you haven't), but for the networking possibilities. Doing a clinical could give you a foot in the door. At least you will have the chance to get out there and do something active.

Community colleges are a good place to start looking. Their refresher courses are usually very reasonable in price, and every connection you make is one more chance to find work.

I wish you the best.

Edited by rn/writer

VivaLasViejas, ASN, RN

Specializes in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych. Has 20 years experience.

I'm with rn/writer on this one. NOBODY is having an easy time finding work, and those of us who do have jobs are hanging onto them for dear life. I'm 51 (today) and have a wealth of experience in several different areas of nursing, not to mention the fact that I'm actively practicing. But if I had to start over again, I wouldn't hesitate to take a refresher course from my local community college and get my knowledge base up to date; this allows you to 'hit the ground running' and reduces the amount of time you need to become oriented to a new position, which saves potential employers money.

You can do this. Be willing to be the "new kid on the block" for a little while; you may have to take a little less money to start with and to work a little harder until you can re-establish yourself, but you can do it. Good luck to you, and let us know how it's going.:up:


Specializes in SICU.

Part of it is that everyone is having a difficult time finding jobs, regardless of age. The other part is after looking at your past posts, that it seems that you have had 3 jobs within the last several months. The frequent job changes may be more of a deterrent to getting employed than your age. Good luck in getting a new job.

Willow Moonsidhe

Specializes in ER, L&D, ICU, LTC, HH. Has 25 years experience.

Thanks all for all the advice. I am thinking of trying for a nursing home or home health position; then maybe they will take me serious.


Keepstanding, ASN, RN

Specializes in School Nursing. Has 10 years experience.

willow.....do not consider yourself "old" or "older" please. 50 is not old. hang in there and i pray something opens up for you soon. you are still a "spring chicken" to me :lol2: !!

praiser :heartbeat

classicdame, MSN, EdD

Specializes in Hospital Education Coordinator.

I recommend you try outside trauma, etc and maybe outside a hospital till you get some work time under your belt. It is expensive to train people only for them to leave in a year or so and your work history does not shout "I WILL WORK!". Good luck in your search


Specializes in Hospice.


Network,network, network. Call your former coworkers, nurse manager, old classmates. Tell everyone you know you are looking for a job. I would also try long term care. They are always looking for nurses and you do have 10 valuable years of experience. Hang in there and affirm that you will get a job. I wish you the best!