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How can an older nurse compete with younger cohorts?

Dear Donna,

I’m in my early 60s. I completed an accelerated LPN-to-RN program at a respected university. I have experience and knowledge that my younger cohorts do not have. We are interviewing for some of the same jobs. They are being hired and I’m not. Can you make any suggestions that would help me? I do not want to think that I have made a mistake in seeking more education.

60ish new RN

Dear 60ish new RN,

There are many possible reasons for you challenges in the job market, and I will address them here. I am confident that your education was not a mistake and that you can overcome any obstacles you face.

For starters, read “New nurse, new job strategies” for tips on becoming more marketable in an evolving and competitive job market. The article stresses the need to network by getting active in social media channels including LinkedIn.

It’s also important to join and get involved in nursing professional associations. If not already a member, you should join the American Nurses Association ( Most state chapters of ANA have reduced dues for new nurses so you should take advantage of those reduced rates. At least attend local meetings as guest for now. When there’s something you want to do, it makes sense to rub elbows with those already doing it.

If you are not working, volunteer as a nurse while you continue to look for paid employment. Volunteering is a great way to expand your professional network, learn new skills while honing old ones and gain recent relevant experience to put on your resume. Consider volunteer work at your local public health department, a blood bank, the American Red Cross or hospice center. Volunteering also is a way to get a foot in the door somewhere and can lead to paid employment.

Make sure your resume and self-marketing skills are up to current standards. Styles and trends change over the years, even with resumes. If you need to update these, check out The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses, which has tips you can use to your advantage.

When what you’re doing isn’t working, it’s time to try a new approach. Persistence and determination will always win out in the end.

Best wishes,

By | 2021-05-07T16:34:18-04:00 June 30th, 2015|Categories: Nursing Careers and Jobs|0 Comments

About the Author:

Donna Cardillo
Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, CSP, is president of Known as The Inspiration Nurse, she is a keynote speaker, retreat and seminar leader, and author of "Your First Year as a Nurse: Making the Transition from Total Novice to Successful Professional" and "The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses: Practical Advice for Thriving at Every Stage of Your Career." She brings more than 25 years of clinical, management and business experience to her role as career guru.

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