Issues to Consider for Older Nursing Students

Are you a seasoned nurse interested in returning to school, but feeling unsure about your ability to handle the demands of work, life and studies? 

Going to nursing school as an older student requires commitment and planning. If you’re on the fence, start with being honest about your feelings. Is your reluctance to earn a B.S.N. or master’s degree rooted in fear? 

Dealing with long study hours and difficult courses as a middle-aged student juggling a hectic schedule can be scary. But consider this: as an experienced nurse you bring advantages to the classroom. Older students possess maturity and relevant life and work skills, which help you relate to the course material better. 

Consider your learning style. Explore whether the best fit for you is to take classes online, enroll in a traditional bricks- and -mortar university or an accelerated BSN or master’s degree program.

Think about your career goals. Even if you have a well-established career, pursuing a degree can boost your confidence, change your outlook, provide job security and make you more marketable for other opportunities down the road. Advanced education can also improve your nursing skills. Research links better-educated nurses to better patient care.

Another major perk mature nursing students cite is the positive message earning a degree sends to their children.

Other critical factors that will play a role in your decision include family support, flexible job scheduling, finances and stress management.

As you weigh your options, make a list of the advantages and disadvantages of going back to school. Whatever your decide, learning is a lifelong process. And people are living and working longer than ever.

Five years from now, you will be five years older, that much is a given. But will you have that first, second or third degree you wanted, too? Only you can decide.