Thursday, September 13, 2007

Pros and Cons of Nursing School in Midlife

Pros
1. We take school more seriously, so we turn in our assigments on time, arrive to class prepared, and have no excuses for not getting things done.
2. We're closer to death so we're more focused on the goal of finishing and don't want to waste time changing majors.
3. Many of us have already been to college or have degrees. We know the drill.
4. We've had several relationships in the past. If someone delivers the ultimatum that comes in the form of "it's me or nursing school", the choice is easy.
5. We're closer to our professors' ages and so we get their jokes.
6. We've seen lots of people naked so we're not as freaked out at seeing our patients naked.
7. We can pass a drug test. If we're still alive it means we gave up drugs years ago.
8. If we have children, they are probably grown and out of the house. If they aren't out of the house we're not responsible for their daily care and feeding. They can pour their milk over their own cereal just fine.
9. This is probably not our first career, so we have an idea about adapting to a new culture. We don't expect that nursing will be our dream job. We recognize that it won't be perfect and are less likely to have our hearts broken once we get our first nursing job.
10. We have a thicker skin. Mean nurses don't bother us. We can ignore snarky comments and rolling eyeballs and focus on why we're here - to learn.
11. We don't care how Britney Spears bombed at the VMA awards. Well, maybe a litte.
12. We don't get out much and there isn't anything to watch on TV anyway, so studying isn't a problem.
13. We're better at handling money. There might be a bank account or retirement fund that we use for school. If we have to get student loans we won't squander it on beer and pot. Advil, maybe. Preparation H, maybe. But not street drugs.
14. We do well on the psych portion of our class because the longer you're in the world, the better your chances of meeting people who have issues. Who knew that the manipulative, deadbeat, clingy lover from your past would serve as a test case for your group project?

Cons
1. It is difficult to be a beginner at this age. We're used to being experts or at the very least adequate at what we do. It's difficult and sometimes devastating when we try something new and mess up. Hopefully we get over it.
2. We may be older than our professors and don't cotton well to autocratic leadership from people who are the same age as our children.
3. We don't have as much energy and so have to plan our activities carefully to avoid getting overly tired. If we over do it, we have to allow ourselves time to recover.
4. We have to work harder to learn new information so have to devote more to time to studying. This is not a problem because there's nothing on TV and we are way over trying to keep on the latest music group or fashion trend.
5. It's a bitch being on your feet for several hours at a time during clinicals. Fortunately this prepares us for being on our feet when we're nurses.
6. Reading glasses and bifocals are a must for reading teeny tiny drug labels. We just have to make sure we remember to have them with us when we leave the house.
7. We're set in our ways. We have a hard time adapting to new ways of thinking and doing. Sometimes we are presented with information that contradicts what we learned 20 or so years ago. The challenge is keeping an open mind and realize that the world is always changing, and remember to answer the test question with the new information and not the old.
8. We have to sit in front because we can't hear the lecture.
9. Many of us have spent our lives trying to avoid learning computers. Now that everything is computerized we have to figure things out at the busiest time in our lives. Our younger classmates grew up with computers and it's not a big deal for them. For older students, learning new technology is one other task to add to our already overloaded schedule.
10. It's easier to forget things - assignments, watches, keys, stethoscope, eyeglasses.
11. There is no way we can skimp on sleep. No pulling all-night study sessions.

2 comments:

Salamander said...

Hi,
I am a 43 year old woman who is waiting to get into nursing school. Prereqs are done and I've been taking some related classes just to keep from forgetting everything I've already learned. I've been waiting for a year and a half and was wondering what you would recommend I study now so that I am a little more prepared for nursing school when I actually get into the program. More anatomy? Diseases? Meds? Any advice would be helpful. Many thanks.

Nurseknowpp said...

The best advice I can give while waiting to get into nursing school is to just relax and enjoy your family and down time. Nursing school is so all-consuming of your time and brain that you will eat, sleep and drink school for two, or however many, years that you're there. So spend time with your family. You'll be glad you did.