Starting a new career at age 57! Hot Conversation

i am not able to continue the pace and physically demanding schedule of my current profession (nursing) and really want very much to get completely out of the nursing field and try something new – but am not sure where to start or what to do.  Any ideas or suggestions.  I’ve been doing this so long I don’t know where to go from here.  Thanks!

Posted in work & money.

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13 Responses

  1. Generic Image CDenver says

    It seems there would be a lot of jobs in the medical arena that an experienced nurse could seque into: teaching nurses aides and med tech personnel, case planning and management, different health care settings (hospitals, doc’s offices, school clinics, nursing homes, end-of-life care, pediatric settings), insurance networks or call-a-nurse phone lines, contracting to perform physical exams for life insurance or union employers, traveling as a nurse with a cruise line, etc. But if you want to get entirely out of the medical field you might want to examine what skills you most enjoy and want to exercise vs. which you least enjoy and want to avoid (eg., like helping others, interacting with others, being the go-to resource; dislike the hours, high responsibility for life/death, individual patient care, etc.).  It is hard to guess without knowing the context in which you’ve worked as a nurse, but it would seem that any setting would probably have built a ton of transferable skills and interests.

    One thing you might consider is asking a few treasured friends to sit with you and a glass of wine and be intentional about helping you identify what they see as your most remarkable or marketable strengths and skills.  Sometimes when we feel burned out with the present context it is particularly hard to see that we have much to offer in an alternate reality.

    I’m asking the same question, BTW.  At age 57, I’ve already retired from one career and spent the last 8 years as a free-lance grant writer and consultant.  Now I’m asking myself again what I might want to spend time working on.  My shortcomings: I’m terminally impatient with sitting in meetings and taking part in group think, with stroking the egos of nursing the insecurities of organizational superiors, and I physically can’t spend the long hours and days in overdrive that used to fuel my work style.  My strengths: I love producing things, working on really important issues, working through challenges.spotting and nurturing talent and mentoring younger or less experienced people.  I’m much more interested and capable at designing or repairing  broken systems than I am at running day-to-day operations.  Wonder what my own next steps will be???

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    • OldBlonde OldBlonde says

      Sounds to me like you need to be teaching.  You would be producing productive, educated people.  My husband recently took a Grant Writing class in Nashville.  The gal who was the educator/facilitator was an excellent speaker and was able to help some experienced Grant Writers with their own personal problems.

      In this economy, Not For Profit Companies are really hurting.  Perhaps you might start a consulting company that allows you to go into these companies and audit their fundraising procedures, and/or help them to recrute the right people for the job.

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  2. OldBlonde OldBlonde says

    I’ll be 57 next month.  I am just now changing professions as well.  Except I’m going in the opposite direction you are.  I’ve recently become a CNA.  I work strictly with Hospice patients.  It’s my passion.  I am also a Grief Specialist and do Support Groups out of my home in the evenings.

    You may already know that Home Health Care companies are in constant need of RNs who are wanting to get into the administration side of things.

    If that doesn’t interest you, then think about what you would spend your time doing if you had all the money you could ever possibly need or want.  That’s a great starting place.

    For so many years I didn’t know what my passion was.  I knew I liked people and I knew I wanted to help but I didn’t know exactly how.  Once I became involved in Grief after some personal losses, I just knew in my heart that I’d finally found it.  I was beginning to worry about myself.  So many people I know have a passion.  Mine took forever to surface.


    Before my recent move from CA to TN, I worked for a family owned mortuary who has been in business 111 years.  They are obviously doing something very right.  It was a pleasure to work there and I learned so much.  You are a very caring person or else you wouldn’t have chosen nursing.  More and more funeral homes are hiring female Funeral Directors.  There are lots of people who feel that women are more compassionate and less of a sales person.

    By the way, DO NOT go to work for a mortuary owned by a large corporation.  Everything you would do there becomes all about the almighty dollar.  Not many people think they can handle working in a mortuary but trust me, if you work for the right people, it is extremely rewarding.  You don’t ever have to go into the Prep Room if you don’t want to so it’s not weird or scary.  The right personality can make such a difference in the experience a family has during one of the most difficult times of their lives.

    It will be interesting to see all the suggestions you get.  I don’t need to tell you that Healthcare and Funerals and Cremations are here to stay.  But then again, so is eating and dieting.

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  3. Generic Image JudyP says

    There are usually job/career search programs at Community Colleges.  I would start looking to see which programs might interest you there.  I think its really important to do a skills and interests profile.  I believe ther are some tools for college students on the internet that asses you and also you can check to see how much employment is available in that field.www.careercruising.com

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  4. Ms.Ruby,"BAMA CHICK" Ms.Ruby,"BAMA CHICK" says

    If you have a desire & love to continue helping others and desire to help others more than yourself”Income wise”than do what I do. Substitute Teach at your Local Schools.I have a responability caring for my older brother a Vetnam Vet with special needs and I am unable to work full time.I have been Sub-Teaching and love it,not a good Income,I am low income level,but I enjoy life and the truth for me is I am learning more and getting more back than I could ever possibably give. It is said, “Teachers are highly diciplined problem solvers with unwavering resolve to help others,excellent communication and decesion making skills and can think quickly on their feet”.I am not sure about all that but I feel good about what I do.I am a believer of prayer… I prayed and this is where God lead me …Maybe later I will have other choices,I use to be a Professional Photographer,now unable to travel,I only have sessions for family & friends and lots of fun making memories with photography.I also use to work in a local Bakery,and self taugh Cake decorator,I have ability to multi Task but Teaching works for me at this time.Be blessed. :)

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  5. Seawriter Seawriter says

    Have you considered returning to school in the area of counseling? It seems to me that your vast nursing experience would be a wealth of wisdom for anyone you might encounter as a therapist. And you’d get to sit down!

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