I recently went back to school to become an LPN at age 56. I did the 13-month LPN program through our local hospital. I graduated in February of this year at the top of my class.
Since graduating, the hospital has discontinued the LPN program, as most of the hospitals in our town are no longer hiring LPNs. It took some time, but I was finally hired for weekend 12-hour shifts at a teen rehabilitation center. It was very chaotic and unorganized. I found a full-time LPN position at a nursing home on the night shift. The nursing home is not quite what I had in mind when I decided to become a nurse. Also, it’s a struggle for my family, as I try to get used to sleeping during the day.
I’m feeling discouraged that my age is disqualifying me from being considered for LPN jobs that I am applying for but hearing nothing back. I would like to ask you for any advice or suggestions that you would have to help me find an LPN job. Is it normal for new nurses to change jobs several times before they find the area of nursing they want to be in?
Dear Donna replies:
Your story is a very common one these days. Some nurses do change jobs a few times before they find something that works for them. The good news for you is that you actually are working and gaining some experience, compared with all the nurses who have not been able to find any job. That will work in your favor.
The job market is very tight for all nurses, so don’t take any of it personally or assume your age has anything to do with it. Nurses need to look in new directions for employment and need to use new strategies to find those jobs. Read New nurse, new job strategies (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Strategies).
By all means continue to seek jobs that are better suited for you. Be sure to use networking to explore options and find better opportunities. This is well known to be a very effective way to find a job. A great way to network is through local chapter meetings of nursing professional associations, even as a guest (although you should join something). Look into associations such as the National Federation of LPNs (www.nflpn.org), the American Nurses Association (www.ana.org) and the National Association of Directors of Nursing – Long Term Care (www.nadona.org), which is open to all nurses working in the long-term care setting.
When asked why you have changed jobs a few times, you can simply say that while you are happy to be working in a tight job market, as a new nurse you are looking for an opportunity in a professional environment where you will be exposed to new experiences and challenges so you can continue to grow.
To maximize your self-marketing and networking skills, read The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses (www.nurse.com/ce/7250).
Persistence and determination always will win out.