Do you remember what it was like when you first met a seasoned, older registered nurse? As a student, you were probably in awe of everything they did and everything they had to say. You probably remember seeing R.N on the name tags they were wearing and experiencing a feeling that can only be described as admiration. These people were the real deal. They were everything you aspired to be. Some day you’d be as skilled, as knowledgeable, and as wise as they were.
Throughout your years working as a nurse, you’ve no doubt seen the same look in new student nurses and health care assistants, and it’s pushed you to better yourself each and every day.
As you’ve grown older, however, you may have found a few stumbling blocks along the way that prevented you from being everything you wanted to be. One of those stumbling blocks may be trying to get hired after 50.
Being a Nurse after 50
Why is it so hard to find a job as a nurse once you’ve reached the still viable age of 50? The truth is, many employers discriminate against your age without even realizing they are breaking the law by doing so. Many believe that a nurse over the age of 50 can’t do the job a younger nurse can do. They don’t want to hire an individual who will be sick more often or who can’t lift patients as well as they used to.
This isn’t the only reason you might find it difficult to become a nurse after 50, either. The truth is, younger nurses don’t have the knowledge or experience you do. This is preferential to many employers because it means they don’t have to pay as much to hire on these younger nurses. Seasoned nurses simply cost too much to hire.
Become a Nurse: Overcome Those Snap Judgments
If you believe you have been discriminated against because of your age, you may be able to file a claim against the employer. If you want to avoid this altogether, however, there are ways you can convince employers to look past your graying hair and instead focus on your good qualities.
How do you do this? Remind them exactly what you’re bringing to the table.
- Let them know what your qualifications are and focus on the benefits those qualifications for patients and the facility. Give them examples of how your experience has helped you in situations in the past and how that experience can work for them.
- Get routine physicals. Don’t let a potential employer leave an interview thinking that you won’t be able to do any of the tasks related to the job. While they are not allowed to ask about your health, they are allowed to question your ability to do certain tasks related to the job, like lifting a certain amount of weight. Having up-to-date proof that you can do this without any ill effects to your body can show them that you are more than qualified for the job.
- Be willing to settle- but just a little bit. If the problem is how much they will have to pay you based on your experience, consider taking a little less of a salary and instead using that drop in pay to bargain for other things. The employer may be willing to offer you better health insurance or more paid vacation and sick days if you’re willing to accept a dollar less an hour.
Keep in mind that not every employer is going to work with you, and many will still discriminate against you because of your age. Remember that if this happens, you have the right to file a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.