What’s the ideal age to be a nursing student?

iStockphoto | ThinkStock
iStockphoto | ThinkStock

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?

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