Changing your career path as a 50-year-old can be a scary thing to do. But rest assured that it’s possible. Maybe you’re thinking about entering the nursing field because it seems like a stable career choice, or because it’s something you’ve always wanted to do. You’re probably wondering if it’s too late to start.
Can I train to be a nurse at 50? Absolutely. Nursing school is training nurses of various ages. If you’re capable of getting the school work done and can perform all the duties of a nurse, you can train even as late as your sixties. Adult nursing students are often valued for their maturity and determination.
It’s not too late to take the plunge and go to nursing school. Continue reading to learn why adult nursing students are a valuable asset to employers and what steps you need to take to get into nursing school.
Am I Too Old?
“Am I too old?” is a common question for adults who are thinking about going back to school, especially when they’re thinking about going to nursing school. It’s often assumed that nurses are typically 20-somethings who just graduated from nursing school, but in reality, the average age of nursing school graduates is rising.
As of 2004, the average age of a nursing school graduate was 31, which was higher than the average of those who graduated in 1985. That average was 24. This same study revealed that the average age of nurses is 50.
Of course, this is probably because the nurses in America are aging. The 24-year-old nurses who graduated in the 1980s are entering their sixties now, and will probably be looking to retire soon.
This means that you have a greater chance of being hired. Adult nurses are valued for their maturity. The baby boomer generation tends to respect and trust older nurses more than they do younger nurses because of their life experience. They might assume that the young, freshly graduated nurse won’t know as much as an older nurse, even if that older nurse is also a new graduate.
Advantages of Beginning at 50
Beginning nursing school at a later age has its advantages that shouldn’t be underestimated. Your age shows that you have some experience, even if you’re brand new to nursing.
Ability to Focus
Adult students tend to be more focused on their education than younger students. Choosing to go back to school later in life means you have a goal you’re determined to achieve. You’ll be more inclined to finish your homework quickly and study diligently so you’ll remember the material better.
By remaining focused in school, you’ll be more likely to receive higher grades and get the most out of your education.
Your life experiences have most likely given you maturity and professionalism that several young students might lack. At 50, you might have a family, a career, or other situations that have taught you valuable lessons that you can’t learn in a classroom. The degree you may have earned in your 20s can also be a source of the wisdom you’ve acquired.
Nursing is more than what’s in the textbook; it involves caring for others. As an adult, you have had more opportunities to care for others, whether it be family, friends, or co-workers. You have more experience handling your emotions in difficult situations, which is necessary as a nurse and will be something you continually practice.
As previously mentioned, patients are more likely to trust you because of your age. Many people assume that older nurses are more experienced in both nursing and life, while the younger nurses have a lot to learn.
Your classmates might also assume that you’re a person to be trusted since you’re older, which could benefit you when it comes to study groups or social networking.
If you’re asking if you’re too old to become a nurse, you probably have a few of these concerns. While they might be valid concerns, they shouldn’t stop you from pursuing nursing.
Physically Demanding Positions
Nursing can sometimes be a physically demanding job. You might have to stand for several hours with the additional worry of working overnight, on weekends, or on holidays. You might also find yourself lifting patients or aiding them during emergency situations.
As long as you’re in good health, this aspect shouldn’t be too big of a worry for you. But of course, not every position will require constant physical activity. You should research the position you’d like to have to see what it typically demands if you are concerned.
The United States has a shortage of nurses, and many nursing school applicants are turned away because there aren’t enough resources and funds to train them. This may raise concerns, but rest assured that nurses are always needed.
Whether you have difficulty getting into nursing school or finding an employer, don’t give up. Eventually, schools will accept new students, and hospitals will hire nurses because the healthcare system depends on them. The nursing field is not one that will go away.
You have the experience and the willpower, but will you fit in with your fellow classmates? You might feel silly for worrying about it, but it’s a valid concern. And you have to get along with the people you’ll see every day, and maybe that’s why you want to leave your current career to become a nurse.
Fortunately, nursing schools are filled with students of all ages who share the same goal of becoming a nurse. Getting along should be easier since you share a common goal and passion.
How to Become a Registered Nurse
These are the basic steps of becoming a registered nurse. The process may change slightly from state to state, and the requirements often vary between schools. Be sure to thoroughly research what your desired school requires.
- Complete the prerequisites. The prerequisites will be determined by the nursing program you want to enter. If you already have a degree in another field, some of your required credits might transfer. Common requirements include the minimum ACT or SAT scores, a GPA of at least 2.0, and three or four years of math, English, and science subjects.
- Earn a degree. A nursing diploma will get you entry-level jobs. If you want a wider range of employment options, you might want to earn a Bachelor’s degree in nursing. Research your options, because there are many paths you can take to get into the career.
- Pass the NCLEX-RN exam. This is a standardized test that will determine if you’re eligible to become a nurse. The exam covers four areas: safe care environment, including hygiene; health promotion and maintenance; psychosocial integrity; and physiological integrity, which is the largest part of the exam.
- Become a licensed nurse and get hired. Each state in the United States has its own license regulations, so be sure you know which state you want to work in before you obtain the license.
- Continue your education. Continue learning as you work. Not only will you earn promotions and raises this way, but you will be able to find a specialization that suits you, which will allow for better job prospects.
You can begin studying to be a nurse at 50, whether you have a degree already or not. You just need to have determination and patience. Work hard and study diligently so you can obtain the license.