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At 64 years young, would it make sense for me to increase my education and become a PA or a nurse practitioner — or pursue an MSN?

Friday March 1, 2013
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Dear Donna,

I am 64 years young and have been a nurse for 30 years. I have practiced in many settings. I do not want to retire because I still feel I have much to give to the profession, my patients and their families. I would like to work for another 10 years. I am blessed with good health at this point. Would it make sense for me to increase my education and become a PA or a nurse practitioner — or pursue an MSN?

64 Years Young

Dear Donna replies:

Dear 64 Years Young,

Retirement is being redefined in our society. Everyone is living and working longer. While some may do it for financial need, others just want to stay engaged in life, continue to contribute and have the same sense of passion and purpose they have always had. It's interesting to note that there are many men and women just coming into nursing in their 50s, 60s and beyond.

Many nurses are retiring from one employer or specialty and moving into another area of nursing. One of the great things about the profession is how many opportunities it offers for the continuum of a nurse’s life and career.

It definitely would make sense for you to continue your education, not only from a professional standpoint, but also for your own personal growth and development. I always say go back to school for yourself first and your career second. Read “Go back to school and change your life” (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Back-to-School).

Rather then switching careers by becoming a physician's assistant, I recommend you focus on the MSN route, or any major that interests you. If you want to teach nursing, the MSN or nurse practitioner degree would be needed. Read “How to get back to school” (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Get-Back-to-School) and “Master the scholarship game” (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Scholarship-Game).

When you cease to learn, you cease to live. Go for it.

Best wishes,

Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, well-known career guru, is Nurse.com’s “Dear Donna” and author of “Your First Year as a Nurse: Making the Transition from Total Novice to Successful Professional” and “The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses: Practical Advice for Thriving at Every Stage of Your Career.” Information about the books is available at www.Nurse.com/CE/7010 and www.Nurse.com/CE/7250, respectively. To ask Donna your question, go to www.Nurse.com/Asktheexperts/Deardonna. Find a “Dear Donna” seminar near you: Call 800-866-0919 or visit http://Events.nursingspectrum.com/Seminar.