53 yrs old, no BSN and feels helpless

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by Nurse Beth Nurse Beth, MSN (Columnist) Educator Columnist Innovator Expert Nurse

Specializes in Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho. Has 30 years experience.

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Dear Nurse Beth,

I became a RN at the age of 53 but now I'm realizing I have to go back to school for my BSN to be able to have the job I want. Are older nurses respected in nursing. I feel helpless at times.

Dear Age 53,

Congrats at getting your RN at age 53! You obviously have a lot of determination.

Most jobs away from the bedside require a BSN, so it's good you realized that now while you still have time to earn your degree and settle into a job that can take you to the end of your career.  It's a rude awakening to not be prepared for the inevitable day when you realize bedside nursing is not indefinitely sustainable.

You don't say why you feel helpless, but you have a lot going for you. Life experience, maturity, a good career, and now you're planning for your future.

Earning your BSN is empowering. When you believe in and respect yourself, others respect you accordingly.

Age discrimination is a thing, yes. Women are painfully aware of the fact that our society worships youth. But what you do have control over is yourself. How you present yourself, your feelings of self-worth, making healthy choices, and so on.

Think about the things that are causing you to feel helpless, and then think about those things and actions that make you feel stronger and in charge of your life.

Best wishes,

Nurse Beth

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londonflo

Specializes in oncology. Has 45 years experience. 1,687 Posts

56 minutes ago, Nurse Beth said:

 now I'm realizing I have to go back to school for my BSN to be able to have the job

What is the job you want?

56 minutes ago, Nurse Beth said:

are older nurses respected in nursing. I feel helpless at times.

While age is respected, the expertise with experience-gained skills and decision/critical thinking performing the role  of the nurse is more respected. Plain age does not grant these (even though you have acquired the best critical thinking skills from raising children and managing a home). If you are reasonably new to nursing  you can gain experience (besides your FT job) with volunteering at homeless shelters; working as a nurse at a Boy and Girls Club evenings or the like. What about looking at PRN home health care jobs for a weekend limited job? Making connections is what it is all about. 

I don't think you are thinking you will get a 'pass thru' for a job because of your age. Rather you are looking at a 'catch-up' plan to make a meaningful pathway to the job you crave/ 

margaret15

3 Posts

Hi, I trained in Ireland, have lots of hospital experience, passed NCLEX, have PALS, ACLS and as registered RN in NY. However, Im finding it impossible to get into a hospital in NYC, Recruiters are telling me that I need to do homecare as I won't get into a hospital without experience as in a US hospital. Any advise. I really want to keep my skills and work as RN in acute setting. I'm in my 50's, over 30 years acute experience

 

Hannahbanana, BSN, MSN

Specializes in Physiology, CM, consulting, nsg edu, LNC, COB. Has 52 years experience. 1,177 Posts

I've been telling anybody who would listen to that for donkey's years: Most of the jobs people think of as interesting or different require a BSN. Public health, NP (any kind) school, cardiac rehab, transport, cath lab, case management, interventional radiology, staff development, military nursing, many overseas volunteer positions, leadership, school nursing, management, med device or pharmaceutical sales, ... just do it and get it out of the way.

You're going to get older anyway, might as well have a chance at what you want when that comes around. I started an entirely new career at 53, and I ain't 53 no more by a long shot, but still able to earn decent money outside bedside and completely on my own terms.  🙂

Peachez1, ADN, BSN

Specializes in NICU RN. Has 3 years experience. 182 Posts

I graduated with my ADN at 47. I went RIGHT back into school for my BSN the Aug after graduation because I knew what I wanted for my path and I knew that it required a BSN. I did my two years in Med-Surge and am now in NICU contemplating my MSN. I figured I was still in school mode so may as well get it done! My age has neither hindered or helped me. I'm a new grad like any other new grad. 

MissPiggy8

Specializes in Psychiatric. 4 Posts

I already had a BA when I went to nsg school - of course, it mattered nothing.  When this BSN issue came along, they refused to accept any of my undegrad courses, so I decided to use the BA they didn't respect, I earned an MA in Clinical Psych and haven't looked back.  So, nursing field, you did it to yourselves.  Wish I had done it much sooner!

 

londonflo

Specializes in oncology. Has 45 years experience. 1,687 Posts

1 hour ago, MissPiggy8 said:

MA in Clinical Psych and haven't looked back. 

I respect your education, am asking how your achievement of  your MA in Clinical Psych impacted your future?. We have a lot of MAs in Clinical Psych coming into nursing for reasons such as low pay, poor job prospects, etc. Please do tell your secrets!

londonflo

Specializes in oncology. Has 45 years experience. 1,687 Posts

1 hour ago, MissPiggy8 said:

I already had a BA when I went to nsg school - of course, it mattered nothing

Surely your Bachelor's of Arts had some courses that would be general education courses. If you had hardcore sciences such as Anatomy and Physiology, Microbiology..those would have counted as well. Psych courses such as, intro to psych,  growth and development (lifespan)  would have added to your pre-requisites. 

 Spanish is becoming a common pre-req. Anthropology or Sociology are currently required in the nursing curriculums.  English (2 courses) are also required. 

To really understand your 'bone' of contention' I would need to understand your BA major and the courses you took...

 

MissPiggy8

Specializes in Psychiatric. 4 Posts

My BA was in French with a Psych minor - the upper tier school was new so they wouldn't accept ANY of my psych courses.....go figure!  Doesn't make a bit of sense.  Aw well, their loss.  

MissPiggy8

Specializes in Psychiatric. 4 Posts

Not sure I understood your question, but it gave me autonomy - after licensure I can open my own practice, name my own hours, etc. - pay-wise, if I were to do counseling full-time, I could make about the equivalent but at my age I am semi-retired.  I don't have to retire at any certain age, I don't have to deal with the physical labor and the disrespect., especially now, online counseling is the norm so I don't have to even leave home.  Whats not to love?

londonflo

Specializes in oncology. Has 45 years experience. 1,687 Posts

1 hour ago, MissPiggy8 said:

the upper tier school was new so they wouldn't accept ANY of my psych courses.....go figure!

That is so odd that the upper tier school wouldn't accept your intro courses...So glad you found your way around it. 

I ended up with a psych minor because when I went to college there were few evening courses (1970s) so for all my electives, psych was the only evening choice (days were nursing clinical) . I never worked psych but I have to admit I did use some of the information in my MSN program. 

 Great to hear that after licensure  you are able to do counseling......you know the inpatient and outpatient health care setting which patients may have experience and questions about! 

MissPiggy8

Specializes in Psychiatric. 4 Posts

True, plus I have the background pharmacology knowledge, which is always helpful too.  Actually, the combination is a great one; another RN, LPC told me one time that one could write their own ticket with those 2 liceneses alone.  There are drawbacks, though; the lack of physical labor results in weight gain, ;-).  

Basically, when you have lemons, you know the rest.