Training to be a nurse at 45

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  • Training to be a nurse at 45
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    I seem to have a strange desire to do this. I’ve researched it and it can be done in theory.

    But how hard would it be in practice?

    Premier Icon Onzadog

    Easier than training to be a nurse at 18.

    For you at least, making some assumptions about your post and my understanding of the liniarity of time, you training to be a nurse at anything less than 45 is a physical impossibility.

    A roundabout way of saying, if it’s what you want to do, don’t let your own concerns about your age stop you.

    Premier Icon Nobeerinthefridge

    Are there jobs?


    Worked with a few mature retrained nurses, they where ok, and the older patients liked them, sadly some of the younger trained nurses would not/feared to listen to a lot of stuff they said from their work/life experiences.

    Premier Icon Rusty Spanner

    Also very interested in this.


    I don’t work as an RN, but speaking as somebody who did their staff nurse training at the age of 30… do it!

    If you haven’t done so already, enrol as a healthcare assistant at your nearest hospital, preferably in an acute setting: 1.) it will give you invaluable experience & 2.) it will clarify whether or not you really want to do the job… blood, sh1te, vomit, death n’ all.

    By way of encouragement, I work with many excellent staff nurses who were mid-career-switch/mature students. They bring much to the table.

    Good luck!

    Premier Icon everyone

    Not a nurse but my mum is. She was originally a receptionist then went to college and subsequently uni to study nursing. She volunteered in a local hospice whilst she was at college and managed to secure a job in ICU, she’s now working in a more palliative role and by all accounts is loving it!


    I finished my nurse training last year, there were quite a few people on the same course aged 40+. Age isn’t a barrier but it’s getting tougher every year to successfully enrol for nursing due to the numbers applying. If you’re not already working in healthcare you’ll do well to start volunteering in the sector to gain experience, also if you’ve been out of formal education for a while you may be required to do an access course at college before applying for uni. The course itself isn’t overly intellectually challenging but will take up a large part of your life.

    I’d advise to closely consider your reasons for wanting to enter nursing, qualified nursing is very focussed on an administrative role these days sadly. You don’t need any particular qualification to become a health care support worker and the job may be more satisfying depending on your motivation.

    Good luck if you decide to go for it.


    I did it, albeit at 30. Those on my course where a mixed bag of ages, from straight out of school, to old fuddy-duddies. I’ve never regretted it, been qualified 6 years now and like the job most of the time. I don’t think id do anything else now. There are many paths to take in nursing that there are careers within a career.

    It’s hard, satisfying work but worth it at the end of the day.

    Any questions just ask.


    I also looked seriously into this a few years ago (was 37 then), but decided against at the last moment.
    The reasons were I had a nightmarish premonition of being on the brink of retirement and looking back at what I had achieved in my working years. Near enough destroyed my soul (I’m an IT PM). I have a strong urge to do some good, rather than working for a faceless corporation for all of my life.

    The route for me then was access diploma (2 years part-time), together with volunteering, and then joining a normal Nursing degree course. At the time I wanted to do mental health nursing.

    I’m taking a different route now into hopefully a different but nevertheless equally worthwhile career. I do volunteer for Mind though, which has made me feel better about things generally.



    That was my UKCC reg number. Entered into training at 23, out again at 33, 12 years ago now. I look back on it fondly, but don’t think I could ever go back. It was a bit like National Service for me, made me the man I am.

    I think (with a few notable exceptions) that slightly older, more mature people made the better nurses I worked with in my time. Them and the ex- Enrolled Nurses (ENs) that upgraded to RGNs.

    Go for it. You’ll not regret it.


    My wife is a nurse of 19 years. Did her training when she was 19 and there were quite a few mature trainee nurses doing the course. They all had a great time socially.

    My wife still loves it, it can be quite emotionally demanding. Find the type of Ward that suits you and enjoy the ride.


    Are there jobs?

    Yes there is a real shortage of quality nursing staff to the extent we are having to recruit nurses from Ireland and in essence pay them to come and work over here.

    In some respects its not a bad time to be a nurse a the NHS has been so heavily criticised for under staffing on wards there has been a big drive to up the number of nurses, which should hopefully make work load easier.

    Are you used to doing shift work? If not that could be the hardest thing to deal with in mid 40’s


    Onzadog – Member

    For you at least, making some assumptions about your post and my understanding of the liniarity of time, you training to be a nurse at anything less than 45 is a physical temporal impossibility.


    Premier Icon takisawa2

    My Wifes just finishing her first placement, having started her nursing degree in September.
    She’s 44, but apparently that’s just down to a mistake on her birth certificate. 😉

    Anyway, She has seen a few of the girls she studies with drop out as soon as they get out on placement.
    It’s tough, bloody tough in fact. The 12 hour shifts took some getting used to. She’s been in an office since school. But, once she’s had a cuppa, & unwound a bit I can tell she is happy.
    She came home upset last weekend, after having to give CPR to an elderly lady who sadly didn’t make it. But, it’s all part of the job after all.

    Not sure if it’s on all regions but on ITV there is a program about Student Nurses on tonight, it’s on the Central region, & is filmed on the Ward that my Wife has been on. 🙂


    Just watched student nurses, the one girl didn’t like the sight of blood…

    I worked shifts most my life 12 hr nights as we’ll, so that’s the least of my problems.

    It’s the study I’m worried about.


    Been a RGN since April 2012. Its hardwork the training and be prepared for a measly bursary. I did the diploma but its all degree level now and the bursary is £300 a month at best. Be prepared to work as a bank Healthcare assistant to keep finances up.

    It is worth it though, but its very draining both physically and mentally. Plenty of jobs also, I started off in a Nursing home first though then progressed to a ward.

    When I was at uni I was one of the youngest at 23. The older you are the better I think. My Mum qualified when she was 29 and worked up to Matron level, then worked as a practice Nurse and now teaches Nurse drug prescribing and has a masters in Medical law.

    I also work on the ward with a Nurse who is 68, retired and then came back part time.

    Premier Icon jimmy

    My mum did it and she was a legend in her own ward.

    Premier Icon ChrisL

    My mum did this in the 80s but the shift patterns were all different back then so she didn’t have to do 12 hour shifts. A mate in his 30s has recently qualified as a nurse and I think he said that about half of the people in his course were mature students.

    Rob Hilton

    Are there jobs?

    Hell yeah! Especially in community. Easyish employment from EU member states has helped fill the gaps, but recruitment is a battle.

    Funk knows how people can do it as a job – I’d be in bits.


    Rob, it can be incredibly satisfying, rewarding, upsetting, stressful, dangerous and infuriating. That can all be in one shift.

    And also dont believe the media who says the Nhs is on its arse, that is certain trusts. The trust I work for isnt perfect, but its a very good hospital. Bolton featured on the student nurse program, is also a very good hospital, just the manager in charge of the finances is not fit to be in the job. Salford Royal is fantastic.

    Royal Blackburn needs to vastly improve, but has excellent facilities and really does have the potential to be a good hospital.

    we have alot of spanish nurses recruited, and they are very well trained, but we need more uk nurses in British hospitals. But the pull from Australia for uk nurses is very tempting.

    My missus qualified as a psyche nurse last year at 30, she had 10 years of working as a nursing assistant and it took her that long to be 100% comfortable going to uni (despite her supervisor/line manager constantly nagging her to do it sooner). She hadn’t done any formal education since her GCSE and then she hadn’t got great results.
    Had to do adult numeracy and literacy before she could start. The first couple of assignments she found quite hard, but the uni was great and had alot of support and classes on writing assignments which helped. But she soon got into the swing of things and walked out of uni 3 years later with a degree.
    Financially we scraped through, I obviously worked full time and she would work between 1 to 2 banks shifts a week when in uni, no extras when on placement and as much as possible out of term time. We were lucky that she got into uni in the last cohort before it went degree only, so she got slightly more bursary each month for the first 2 year. Now it is degree only the financial help isn’t as good, but if it is what you want then go for it.
    Now she is working again I have applied for uni to do paramedic training and wont get a bursary, but with student loans we will again scrape through and if this is what we both want to do then there is never a better time than right now.

    As for mature nurses, I work on a ward with both newly qualified nurses straight out of college and others with years of experience first. The mature nurses are generally better to work with but not always. I don’t think it matters what age you are as long as you have the right skills and attitude. Plenty of patience, tip top communication, willing to help out with any job (we have nurses that refuse to do jobs because that what nursing assistants are for) and a dollop of empathy.

    Good luck


    First year student radiographer aged 39 here – with a 2 and a half year old son. It’s definitely do-able, but hard work. It takes a bit of time to get your brain back into study-mode, but there is loads of help and support out there – our university library does lots of sessions on writing essays, taking notes, revising, researching etc. And it’s a lot easier than it used to be now everything is available online (lecture notes, journal articles etc.) Do you have children? It’s perfectly do-able, but you just need to be very organised with your time and have a good support network around you.

    As has been said above, you’ll need to have evidence of recent study to get on the course, for me (in radiography) it was within the last 5 years, but it depends on the uni what they’ll accept. But you won’t necessarily need an access course – some will accept Open University modules – you need to contact the Unis you’re interested in and find out what they require. For me they were happy to accept my RHS certificate in horticulture I’d got through an evening course a few years ago.

    You’ll also need all the work experience you can get your hands on – to know it’s the right job for you, and to get onto the course in the first place. Entry to all healthcare courses is now very competitive – not least because you don’t have to pay tuition fees. But if you do your homework, do a good personal statement that shows you understand the role and can reflect on your work experience(lots of help available on places like are really keen, I’m sure you’ll get a place. Good luck!


    I know a girl who’s a nurse. It’s pretty well paid if you’re in the north, but I wouldn’t put up with the hours and lack of notice of shifts for any money. I guess the notice will depend on how organised your team is.

    Re: returning to study, I did a master’s a couple of years after graduation. I was happy enough writing essays and could get decent marks (I’d been writing reports etc. as part of my day job), but I’d lost the ability to do exams without serious prep time.

    Premier Icon paulosoxo

    I don’t know how nurses do it. I was in intensive care for five weeks, and don’t know how those people could do what they do on a daily basis.

    Hats off to them all!


    As for salary I take home about £1600/1800 a month after tax, national insurance and car parking permit. The higher figure is if I do three weekends out four. And I also request to do late shifts 1330 – 2130. Band 5 point 3 increment.

    Rob Hilton

    bwfc4eva868 – Member
    Rob, it can be incredibly satisfying, rewarding, upsetting, stressful, dangerous and infuriating. That can all be in one shift.

    I hear you. I’m an info analyst in the NHS and have met some frankly amazing clinicians who wonder how I do my job – it happens to suit me, hence why I do it 🙂 Many of their jobs – DNs, EOL nurses etc. would have me in a sobbing mess within a few hours.

    But the pull from Australia for uk nurses is very tempting.

    I met loads of ex-pat nurses in Perth! Mostly scousers for some reason?

    Band 5 point 3 increment.

    One word: under paid. I’ve met too many back-office staff who are **** useless who are on more than this for contributing nothing towards the advancement of patient care – it really pisses me off!

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