Did you know that Benjamin Franklin signed the Declaration of Independence when he was 70 years old? Or that Mahatma Gandhi walked 200 miles in protest at the age of 61? If age didn’t stop them, why should it stop you? Put simply, there is no such thing as being too old to become a nurse.
Nursing can be a physically and emotionally demanding job. But that doesn’t mean it’s only for the young. Great nurses have passion for what they do. Age doesn’t matter.
Marian University’s Accelerated BSN program has seen all ages come through the nursing program, many of them career changers who are looking to start a second, more fulfilling career. Roughly 38 percent of all of ABSN students are over 35.
Marian ABSN Students Who Were Not Too Old to Become a Nurse
Former Radiation Therapist, Cristina Fontana
At 44, Cristina Fontana enrolled in Marian’s ABSN program. But for 14 years prior to the accelerated nursing program, she was a radiation therapist.
Fontana says that she has always felt the call to help others, but it was her life experiences that truly made her decision to go back to school and become a nurse. With a husband and three children supporting her, she graduated with her BSN in August 2013 and is now the manager of a cancer center helping patients every day overcome their illness.
Former Firefighter, Teresa Lewis
Teresa Lewis was a firefighter for 24 years for the Indianapolis Fire Department and ended her career as division chief of administration with the Pike Township Fire Department. With a distinguished career coming to a close, she planned originally on retiring and becoming a consultant on fire safety.
Looking through her Sunday morning paper, Lewis read about Marian’s 16-month accelerated program and saw an opportunity to continue her service to the public. Even though she already had both a bachelor’s degree in psychology and an MBA focusing on human resources, she didn’t see the program as another bachelor’s degree; She saw it as a way to begin a new chapter in her life.
Former Salesman, Jeff Wendling
In 1985, Jeff Wendling graduated with an MBA. For 20 years, he sold medical equipment in and around hospitals. So for 20 years, he had a front row seat to watch nurses and medical professionals positively impact patients’ lives. Wending started wishing he had chosen a different career path and felt stuck, as if he was too old to become a nurse.
Finally realizing that life was too short to be stuck in a career that doesn’t make you happy, he enrolled in Marian University’s online Accelerated BSN program. He graduated in May 2013. When asked how he decided to change careers, he said, “…when it came down to it, I was stuck in a job I didn’t like. I have peace of mind now. I feel reborn, excited about my future.”
Easier Said Than Done
These students are inspirational. They didn’t let age hold them back from what they wanted. Unfortunately, like many things in life, it is much easier said than done to change careers. If you are stuck on how to change careers, we have some advice for you.
- Plan Ahead. If you have a spouse or children depending on you financially, it can be especially difficult to figure out a budget that could include nursing school. We recommend doing research on student loans, FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), and scholarships. Fortunately, Marian’s ABSN program is only 16 months, so you won’t be out of work for very long. Our advisors can help you figure out the financials. They know what scholarships are out there and can help you complete your FAFSA online.
- Find a Support System. Accelerated nursing school is not easy. You will find yourself in new situations, learning new things at a relatively fast pace, and be kept busy throughout the 16-month program. This is why we recommend finding a support system in your advisor, family members, friends, and other nursing students. You’ll want their encouragement if/when you doubt yourself and their understanding when you need to study.
- Set Goals. Change doesn’t happen overnight. It can become somewhat daunting when you first start the ABSN program. If you look at your curriculum in one large sum, it can be overwhelming. Instead, look at each semester and set goals for yourself. By meeting your goals, you’ll keep yourself motivated. There is a reason you feel the call to become a nurse—so don’t forget it.
Nursing is a noble profession. If you feel called to become a nurse, don’t let age or anything stand in your way. You’ll only regret it.
Marian University Accelerated BSN program advisors are here to help you start your journey. If you’re ready to become a nurse, contact us today.