If you can’t change your fate, change your attitude. – Amy Tan
Two years ago I wrote an article about how we, as older nurses, can compete for job opportunities with the younger generation. This article can be found here.
But with the growing challenges in healthcare, political concerns, and the current economy, there is again a great deal of discussion on this topic today. So let’s take another look.
Debunking the Myths
First: the FACTS about older nurses. According to an April 2013 Health Resources and Services Administration report, “about one-third of the nursing workforce is older than 50. The average age of nurses has increased over the past decade by almost two years for RNs and 1.75 years for LPNs.” (bhprhrsa.gov, 2013) I also found later in the report that these nurses, which number over 1 million, will retire over the next 10-15 years. What can we do in the meantime?
Next are the MYTHS about older nurses. Here are my top 3 myths about older nurses:
- Older nurses are less productive
- Older nurses have higher rates of absenteeism
- The physical capabilities of older nurses are not good
It’s these myths that we need to debunk so that older nurses can get hired!
I am a firm believer that we make our own luck. According to the philosopher Seneca, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” You are already WELL prepared, so follow these 5 tips to score your new opportunity!
5 Tips for Older Nurses:
- Keep your skills current.It is no longer acceptable to ignore technological advances or utter the words “this is not how we have always done it.” You must keep up with the times. This includes surfing the horizon to see what the up and coming trends are. If your nursing specialty is being phased out, recognize that and plan for your future. Keep abreast of the latest EMR systems, nursing tools, and job prospects.Go back to nursing school if you can! Do not leave blank time periods on your resume. If you find yourself temporarily out of a job, volunteer or work part-time. It is especially hazardous for an older nurse to have time gaps on the resume. Hiring managers assume the worker had an illness or could not physically do the work of the position he/she left.
- You are experienced—don’t forget it!Don’t get discouraged. You are experienced—both in the nursing profession and in life—so highlight this to the hiring manager. Remember too that you have been through more interviews than a younger nurse so you have that experience to build confidence as well! The younger nurses just can’t compete with your career and life experiences. You are not only perfect for THIS job but can remind the hiring manager that you are also a positive mentor and role model to the younger nurses.
- Network, network, network.The fact that you have decades of experience also means that you have met a lot of influential colleagues in your field. If you find yourself looking for a nursing job, use your network to help find one. Word of mouth, coupled with your experience, will get you the position! And, while referring to #1, don’t forget about the power of LinkedIn and similar sites.
READ MORE AT Nursetogether.com
To learn more about the INA please visit www.INAnurse.com