Am I Too Old to Go to Nursing School?

Am I Too Old to Go to Nursing School?

Seeing your age as a hiring asset

by Janice Watts
Nursing Department Chair and Associate Professor
Goodwin College


For individuals looking to add a true sense of purpose and a deeper meaning than ever before to their lives, nursing is a viable career path to consider — at any age.

As the Nursing Department Chair at Goodwin College, I often meet with older students who are hesitant about attempting to start our nursing program. Frequently, I hear:

“Nursing is something I have always wanted to do, ever since was little, but life got away from me. I started raising a family, and it never seemed to be the right time.”

“There are so many young nurses graduating, why would anyone want to hire someone my age?”

“My kids are all grown; now it is time for me, but I would never get hired at my age.”

In fact, it is rare that students considering a career in nursing are “too old.” And here is why that is true:

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “The purpose of life is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” Wisdom and experience, earned over time, are two significant gifts that older students can bring to the field of nursing.

Older students are usually adept at handling life. They possess life skills that cannot necessarily be taught, but are learned through a series of successes and failures throughout one’s life. They are driven by a deep-seated passion to become a nurse, and it is often a dream that has, openly or secretly, been a personal goal for a very long time. These factors make them a perfect fit for the associate degree in nursing program at Goodwin College.

At Goodwin, we celebrate the potpourri of life experiences that our students bring to the classroom. We recognize the strengths of each student and inherently know when to provide support to facilitate success, no matter the need.

I assure my students that, as a prior nurse executive in charge of hiring new nurses, my focus was always to hire for attitude and train for skill. It is not your age that is the important consideration but rather how you present yourself, how you interact with others, as well as your desire to be a lifelong learner.

Follow your dreams, and don’t let age prevent you from making the climb to a meaningful career — the view is terrific at the top!

To learn more about the Nursing programs at Goodwin College, visit

Janice Watts is a seasoned registered nurse with decades of experience. She received her RN from Hartford Hospital School of Nursing and both her BSN and MSN from the University of Hartford. Jan began her career in Nursing in the field of geriatrics where her responsibilities spanned from staff nurse to Vice President of Patient Care in a large geriatric continuum. In 2004, she transitioned into the higher education arena when she joined Goodwin College as the fundamentals instructor. She went on to become Department Chair of the Nursing program and has had the honor of graduating thousands of nursing students. She can be reached at or by phone at 860-727-6919.