There is no official age limit to becoming a nurse.
Now we’ve got that out of the way, let’s look at why this question pops up so often.
While some age limits apply for people coming to Australia to practice or study nursing, if you live in Australia, you can start learning to become a nurse at any time.
We know of several 70-year-old students who’ve successfully completed nursing school.
Perhaps it is an outdated stereotype or legacy stigma assigned to mature-aged nurses, but generally speaking this attitude has moved on, and does not represent the landscape of nursing in Australia. Any form of age-based discrimination is unacceptable.
According to the AIHW (2016), 39% of the Australian nursing workforce is aged 50 or older.
The Age Breakdown Of Nurses In Australia
As you can see from the table below, the ages of nurses in Australia are very evenly spread among different age groups.
Source: Nurse and Midwife – Registration Data Table – June 2021 (452 KB,PDF), Word version (331 KB,DOCX)
3 Key Challenges For Older Nurses
There are many reasons why people turn to nursing later in life.
Perhaps your children have grown and now you have more time available for studying? Maybe you need further income to help pay for a mortgage, renovations or a holiday? You may have always wanted to be a nurse, but things got in the way before now. Or, you may be looking for a career change that offers a steady job with good benefits. It may even be that you suddenly like the idea of helping others and making a difference in people’s lives.
Whatever your reason, doubts will surface. It’s important to work through these early, so you can crack on and become the best nurse you can be. Here are some initial concerns.
- Will I be able to handle nursing school?
Of course you can. As with any course, it will be challenging, but study centres such as uni and TAFE have excellent support services to help you along the way.
The health industry is always changing and evolving, so you will be – like the younger nurses – learning new information all the time.
If you already have some nursing qualifications and training, Nurses Now offers further education to help develop your healthcare career.
- Will I fit in?
Nursing school is very open.
People of all ages are applying to nursing school and being accepted, too. You will be welcomed just as anyone else, because nursing is a team profession.
Everyone helps each other. And when you do land your first placement, you will fit in there too, because healthcare professionals are so important – moreso in these pandemic times.
- Will I be able to handle the challenges of the job?
This is for you to judge and consider.
Many frontline hospital nursing jobs require a degree of physical strength, mental steeliness and preparedness. You need to ask yourself, am I ready to be a nurse?
Bear in mind, there are so many roles available in nursing. We explore some of these next.
10 Best Jobs For Older Nurses
The nursing profession offers numerous career opportunities, including flexibility in work settings and specialisations. Nurses Now lets you choose a schedule and shifts to suit you, with positions and flexibility that allow you to balance your work and personal goals.
Plus, you don’t have to be a frontline nurse in a hospital doing rotation 12-hour night shifts, should that not suit you. Here are 10 alternative positions for nurses:
|Occupational Health Nursing||Nurse Educator/Clinical Instructor||Medical Transcriptionist||Telephone Triage Nurse||Private Duty Nursing|
|Clinic Nurse||Psychiatric Nurse||School Nurse||Medical Records||Administrative Position|
The Bonuses Of Coming To Nursing Later In Life
As an older nursing student, there are advantages you may hold over younger nursing students. These include:
- Life experience – You know how to read and deal with people and you know how the world works, so you have developed invaluable life skills over time.
- Motivation – You know why you are where you are, and where you want to be.
- More structured – You know how to prioritise your days, and your life in general.
- More focus – You are more likely to pay attention, take notes, not become distracted and really get your head down on the study.
- You can deal with challenges – You’re a living example of overcoming hurdles.
Becoming A Nurse As A Mature Age Student
There are a few pathways to becoming a nurse as a mature age student.
One is direct entry to university via a Bachelor of Nursing degree, which then leads to becoming a registered nurse. As a registered nurse, you are responsible for supervising other nurses and managing the care of patients.
Another pathway is via technical and further education (TAFE). TAFE offers two courses:
The first is the Certificate III in Health Services Assistance, which takes approximately 6 months to complete and results in an Assistant in Nursing qualification (AIN).
The other is a Diploma of Nursing, which takes about 18 months and results in an endorsed enrolled nurse qualification.
Although an AIN doesn’t qualify a person as a registered clinician, an enrolled nurse can administer medication and must maintain registration, just as a registered nurse would.
If you’re a highly-skilled Nurse or Support Worker – of any age, we’d love to discuss working with you. We can find you ideal roles that match your requirements and help you make a difference right when you’re needed most. Contact Nurses Now today.