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42 Years Old - Is it too late to become a nurse?

Nurse Beth   (18,924 Views 51 Comments)
by Nurse Beth Nurse Beth, MSN (Advice Column) Writer Innovator Expert

Nurse Beth has 30 years experience as a MSN and works as a Nursing Professional Development Specialist.

14 Followers; 88 Articles; 226,260 Visitors; 1,755 Posts

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Hello Nurse Beth,

I am a 42 year old wife and mother of 3 children 9, 4, and 3 still at home and considering a career change. I have had a life changing experience which has pricked my heart to attend nursing school. I am really nervous. Can you give me an honest answer, is too late to change careers?


Dear 42 Years Young,

It is not too late. Many, many have done this who are older than you. It may be a little harder

but you can overcome that with determination.

I believe it's good to role model education for your children and to realize your dreams.

Better than having regrets :)

Best wishes,

Nurse Beth

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3,714 Visitors; 482 Posts

For me, YES, it would be too late.

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akulahawkRN has 3 years experience as a ADN, RN, EMT-P and works as a Emergency Department RN.

27,065 Visitors; 3,430 Posts

Dead is too old. If you're not dead, then you have a choice as to whether or not it makes sense to go to nursing school, and therefore if you're too old.

I'll use myself as an example. I've been in healthcare a long time. I could decide that I want to be a physician. I'm not dead, and I'm not too old... however going to Med School doesn't make sense for me. Given my age, costs involved (including loan payoff), and wanting to retire at an age young enough to really enjoy it, going to Med School isn't going to work.

I went through the same process when weighing my options just a few years ago. In my case, for nursing school, I'm nowhere near close to being too old to go through it, if I had to start the process now.

However, once you're dead, you are clearly too old...

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Reyn04 has 7 years experience.

623 Visitors; 41 Posts

I started nursing school at 30& my mom said at the time that I'd be x years old when I finished... I replied I was going to turn that age either way, I might as well do what I want. I'm 42 now & have my ASN, BSN, & working on my MSN.

A few years ago, I encountered a 65yo new grad who went to school for nursing because she always wanted to be a nurse. It can be done.

that being said, it is HARD, I think its the hardest thing I have ever done to myself... you will need support. You'll want to do things with friends, kids, & family but will have to study & work. You can't do nursing school (even part time), half way.

Age has nothing to do with your success its dedication & desire. Think about what will drive you through the work & tough times... it helps!

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193 Visitors; 2 Posts

No! I became a nurse at age 50. Join me 😉

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193 Visitors; 2 Posts

No! I became a nurse at age 50. Join me 😉

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487 Visitors; 19 Posts

First of all, at 42 you are still young! If nursing is what you want to do, go for it! And please don't listen to someone who tells you that it's too late.

By the way, we had a lady in my nursing program who was 47 with 3 kids, two of them grown. I have a lot of respect for her and so did everyone else in my class. She ended up graduating successfully and was voted the most valued member in our class ( literally- she got an award for that lol). Age has nothing to do with it- she was a great person and always took care of everyone around her, gave rides to other students, cooked for other students, etc. She was also a dedicated and hardworking nursing student- she took a great care of our clients during clinical rotations.

What matters is not your age, but what you want our of life.

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Nurse Beth has 30 years experience as a MSN and works as a Nursing Professional Development Specialist.

14 Followers; 88 Articles; 226,260 Visitors; 1,755 Posts

I started nursing school at 30& my mom said at the time that I'd be x years old when I finished... I replied I was going to turn that age either way, I might as well do what I want. I'm 42 now & have my ASN, BSN, & working on my MSN.

A few years ago, I encountered a 65yo new grad who went to school for nursing because she always wanted to be a nurse. It can be done.

that being said, it is HARD, I think its the hardest thing I have ever done to myself... you will need support. You'll want to do things with friends, kids, & family but will have to study & work. You can't do nursing school (even part time), half way.

Age has nothing to do with your success its dedication & desire. Think about what will drive you through the work & tough times... it helps!

Amen!!

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CarolinaRN1111 works as a Progressive Care Nurse.

499 Visitors; 8 Posts

I almost let my age deter me from starting nursing school at 42. It was estimated that I would be 47 when I graduated because of having to take every prerequisite known to man. I was inspired to change careers after caring for my Dad when he was diagnosed with cancer. He told me that the time would pass no matter what I was doing with it and that following a dream was a much more useful way to pass it than staying in the dying field of graphic design in print media.

It wasn't easy, but it has been the most rewarding thing I have ever done. I will never regret following my dream. I would have definitely regretted letting my age stop me.

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641 Visitors; 23 Posts

I'm 46 and just got accepted into a nursing program!!! Go for it, your never too old! I attained a 4.0 gpa in my prerequisites...I never could have done that in my early twenties. I'm just so much more focused now and can not wait to fulfill my dream of becoming a nurse. Good luck to you, you CAN do this!

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4,430 Visitors; 66 Posts

A few years ago, I encountered a 65yo new grad who went to school for nursing because she always wanted to be a nurse. It can be done.

I was halfway through an LVN program when my husband fell and spent almost a month in the hospital with 4 cracked vertebrae...I had to take a breather. Now we are finally relocated in our forever home in the Houston area, and I would like to resume LVN, or perhaps even RN school? There are so many choices here. I'll be 60 this year with or without nursing school (have a BS and EMT-B) and hubby is disabled, so it's up to me to take care of us. Any advice, from Nurse Beth or anyone, would be appreciated! Thanks.

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futurepsychrn works as a Registered Nurse.

3,899 Visitors; 159 Posts

Just passed the NCLEX and I'm 54. Never too late!

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