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I’m 40 and would like to become a nurse. Am I too old?

Tuesday May 12, 2009
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Dear Donna,

I am the 40-year-old wife of a soon-to-be-retiring soldier. I would like to become a nurse. Am I silly to start this so late in life? Where do I begin? I have been out of school for 25 years, and I don’t have college experience. I’m more than a bit rusty. Am I trying for too much? Intellectually, do I need to aim lower at my age?


Dear Donna replies:

Dear Dory,

Late in life? You are quite young at age 40 with the life expectancy being close to 100. There are a large number of individuals entering nursing in their 30s, 40s, 50s, and even 60s, so you’ll fit right in! Besides that, age is a state of mind. If you start to aim “lower,” you will shorten your life span and your enjoyment of life, not to mention giving less than you are capable of contributing.

It is normal to feel rusty when returning to school after an extended absence. But you will quickly become acclimated to school life and find that you have a lot in common with other students. The truth is that education keeps you young and makes you feel alive. Challenging yourself helps you to more fully realize your own potential and become more engaged in life. You have several options for getting your nursing education. Learn more about this at www.discovernursing.com. I look forward to welcoming you into the nursing profession!

Best wishes,

Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, well-known career guru, is Nursing Spectrum/NurseWeek’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.