Starting a Nursing Career at 45: Am I Ready for Nursing School?

Many people are drawn to nursing as a second career these days. Nursing is known for offering competitive pay, good benefits, a flexible work schedule, and rewarding work. But it’s also known for the rigorous preparation that nurses must go through to become RNs. Further, it can be physically demanding.

So if you’re on the high side of 40, what are your chances of becoming a nurse? Should you even try? In most cases, the answer is a resounding yes. Read on for why nursing may be a great second career for you.

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Can You Hack Nursing School?

You’ve probably heard that nursing school is no cake walk, and that’s a fact. You will be signing up for some rigorous preparation to attain your associate’s degree. Bachelor’s degrees take even longer. But once you have your degree, this will entitle you to take the NCLEX exam for registered nurses (RNs). Along the way, you’ll have to master material such as this:

  • Pharmaceuticals and their effects and interactions
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Nutrition
  • Biology
  • Chemistry

But the good news is that while the material is challenging, there are plenty of ways to succeed  – if you apply yourself to study and stay organized and focused. One advantage you may have over younger students is that older people often have better concentration, with fewer distractions in their lives. You’ve probably have most of your days of partying and text message drama behind you.

Another important aspect of nursing school is the clinicals, where you will learn how to work with actual patients. In clinicals you will be on your feet and working hard, so you get a taste of whether you are up to the physical challenges of nursing or not. Also, your instructors will be evaluating your people skills during clinicals.

Whether or not you succeed as a nurse can depend on how well you communicate with patients, understanding their health concerns and appropriately conveying this information to the doctor. Your ability to react appropriately in emergencies will also be under examination.

Will You Fit In?

Some older people are concerned that they won’t fit in with their younger classmates. More than likely, you’ll be amazed as a nursing student at how well you do fit in. Nursing students are typically supportive of each other, no matter their age, and bond closely – even thinking of each other as family -- particularly in educational settings where the cohort is smaller.

Typically, classrooms of nursing students span many years and experience levels. You will have younger classmates, but you might find you aren't the oldest one in the class, either. Remember that age isn't an indicator of success in nursing school. But dedication, determination, and hard work can be!

Challenges of Being a Nurse

These days, many nurses are getting their start in the profession at increasingly older ages. Some nurses enroll in nursing school after switching from a second career, while people already working as nurses may persist into their 60s or 70s. As long as your body and mind hold up to the challenges, there’s no reason why you can’t keep working if you want to.

So what about the mental challenges of mastering the material? You may be concerned that since you’ve been out of school for a while, your skills aren’t up to par. Most colleges will offer help with remedial classes or tutoring, to bring your skills up in English, math, or whatever is needed. Tutoring in different subjects is often available and nurses usually form study groups to help each other stay ahead of classwork.

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Earning Your Degree

Are you interested in becoming a nurse? If you want to earn an Associate Degree of Nursing (ADN), ECPI University can help. For more information about your year-round schedule and accelerated schedule, connect with a friendly admissions advisor today.

It could be the Best Decision You Ever Make!

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