What’s The Ideal Age To Be A Nursing Student?

This article was republished with permission from SCRUBS Magazine.

The career of nursing is changing these days. Everything from the new healthcare bill and the rolling tide of a “nursing shortage” versus an over-saturated workforce can make entering our profession a difficult choice.

To make matters worse, many tie their decision to their age. Somewhere along the way, the naysayers started influencing our profession in such negative ways:

“You’re too young to be a nurse”

“You’re too old to be a nurse”

(Side note: I have no IDEA who these naysayers are. I’ve learned over the years that these people come from all walks of life, and they contribute nothing positive to the profession.)

Hogwash. Poppycock. Nonsense. Ballyhoo. Rubbish. Gibberish. (I wanted to use stronger words, but I’m trying to keep it professional.)

Here are a couple of things I’ve noticed in my short time in this profession:

The younger nursing student

  • Can be naïve and have less life experience
  • May find time management skills challenging
  • Will not have many habits that need to be “unlearned”
  • Is great with technology

The older nursing student

  • Can be an asset with additional life experiences
  • Is great with time management
  • Will have some habits that need to be “unlearned”
  • Can find technology challenging

Nothing more. Nothing less. Both have SO much to contribute to our profession and have unlimited potential; they need only to do the work.

The next time someone discounts a student’s age, I’d like to find out what the “ideal” age really is. The last time I checked, age is simply a number. It only determines where you start…it has no bearing on where you finish.

Do you agree? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

This article was republished with permission from SCRUBS Magazine.

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5 years ago

I got my LPN at age 18. I definitely feel the disadvantage of not having a lot of general life experience, but I still love nursing and can’t wait to learn more and continue to get better. I feel that nursing involves a learning curve no matter what age you start. Age and experience are invaluable and I think it’s nice that there’s such a variety so that both young and mature can work together to give care. There’s a lot to learn from each other. Also, nursing is such a diverse field, so it’s good to have diverse nurses… Read more »

4 years ago

I had a bad experience with nursing school, 20-something years ago, because (A) I am male, and at the time, nursing was still apparently strongly prejudiced against men, (B) I was a paramedic, which gave me far more practical experience than the people “training” me had, and they were greatly threatened by that, (C) some of the people in the “teaching” position were clearly damaged goods. I was inspired to realize the adage, “those that can, do. Those that can’t, teach”. At that point I had never heard the saying; I generated it spontaneously from sheer inspiration. To this day… Read more »

Elisabeth Stork
4 years ago

I became a LPN at 54. I was old as the youngest and next oldest combined. I graduated highest in my class and went on for my RN while working full time at one of the most prestigious employers in our area. My former classmates are trailing behind with their continuing education. It’s just when you start later in life you don’t have the option of taking time to accomplish your goals. Memorization gets harder when you get older, but life experiences can bridge that. And yes, age is just a number. My best study partner is a whopping 19… Read more »

Frank Lomprez
4 years ago

I became an RN when I was 40 and now am 68. Still work as a RN. Being a Nurse is not a job. It is who you are and becomes part of you.

4 years ago

I’ve been a nurse for almost 40 years with many years of nursing education, management and leadership, and here is what I’ve experienced. The younger nursing student •Can be naïve and have less life experience YES, BUT I DIDN’T FIND THIS A MAJOR PROBLEM, TIME USUALLY FIXED THIS ISSUES. •May find time management skills challenging YES, AGAIN BUT I FOUND THAT TIME ALSO USUALLY FIXED THIS ISSUE. •Will not have many habits that need to be “unlearned” YES, IN NURSING, BUT SOME SOCIAL ISSUES HAD TO BE ADDRESSED AT TIMES. OVERALL GOOD THOUGH. THEY ARE A SPONGE. •Is great with… Read more »

4 years ago

i am a woman of 40 years, am interesred in nursing profession jeane laporta, sharon and frank lomprez, please shed more light.

Frank Lomprez
5 years ago

Became an RN at 44 and am 68 now. Nursing is who you are. Not just a job.

5 years ago

Jean – I love your story. Education and life experiences are life-long. Are you working for the foreseeable future? Happy to hear about all your accomplishments and aspirations. This made my day:)

Jeane LaPorta
5 years ago

I was not able to attend nursing school as a young woman because I married and had a child. Nursing school then was only open to “unmarried” women “no children”. That’s how old I am! Through the years, I completed all requisite course work, received an AS and BS in health, health education, and community health and enjoyed a career as an assistant and administrator for a private practice for more than 20 years. My employers retirement caused me to revisit the idea of nursing school. I graduated with honors at age 56! Passed the boards with 100%. For the… Read more »

5 years ago

I started my LPN classes, as a woman knowing I would be widowed. My then husband encouraged me to get some schooling, as I had loved being a home health can. At the ripe age of 55 I started and finished my one year course with honors. I would recommend it to anyone that loves helping others.