reverse ageism?!?

  1. I guess my little avatar gives away the fact that I'm a relatively young nurse. And I know that I look younger than my age anyway, get carded in bars and whatever but a few times now I've had patients and families question my credentials and my training....
    at first I thought okay am I acting like a blundering idiot so that they wonder if I'm "a real nurse" or not.....
    so the last time I had a family member ask me how old I was and when I graduated and where I've worked I asked her just out of curiousity why she was wondering those things and she responded that I just look so young to be an RN.......
    one of the senior RN's I work with doesnt really help matters either , shes the type that kind of not interferes,but yes intereferes with everyone elses patient care and stuff , and while I appreciate her help I wish she would direct my patients and their families to ask me questions about their care instead of taking it upon herself to answer all the time, this has led to confusion on more than one account in that they thought this nurse was the RN and I was a student.
    nothing wrong with being a student , but why does younger or looking younger somehow mean less experienced or naive?
    I have never heard of anyone asking a nurse her age before, but I'm not the only younger nurse that has been asked her age before..
    I dont mind talking to my patients and their families about my experience, my education and well even my age for that matter
    it just gets tiring sometimes to not be taken as seriously as you wish you were because someone thinks youre "such a cute young thing"
    well this job is ageing me faster than I would like so maybe the third degree about how old I am will stop sooner than later hehe
    some days I just want to put a sign on me that says "hello, I'm 25, completed nursing school in 1999, going back for a bachelor of science this september, I am an RN, thank you drive thru"
    okay maybe not that last part but still......
    new grads come in all shapes sizes ages , everyone has experiences that they can bring to each job etc
    sure its sweet when youre told youre cute and whatever but when it comes down to it, I have the potential to save a life just as much as that 90000 year old nurse in the corner, you know, the one that has become your IV pole cuz rigor mortis has set in and such....
    sorry previous thread rearing its ugly head again haha
    I love you all even if I am a young'un
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  2. 16 Comments

  3. by   clorinda_clores
    Helooo... dats a topic my mother would love!!! She says d secret is be young in ur mind...Hey i have a supervisor who is 90000 yr old looking and serves as IV pole at the dialysis unit. I blieve she has supernatural powers bec allthough rigor mortis has set in a long time ago, like wen i was student, she can move normally like one in late childhood, reversing rigor mortis, in events when lavish food r there. Other nurses blieve her secret in reversing d aging process is by her habitual scratching of palms en fingers... i hope someone will comment, suggest or add anything 2 my learning about d aging process and its reversal....anyway Mabuhay frm Metro Manila where classes have been suspended due 2 heavy rains and floods....
  4. by   cmggriff
    hapeewendy,
    Well, you are cute. Fortunately you are also about the same age as my daughter. I don't think I'm ready for IV pole status yet, but I was 34 when I graduated and got my license. Now I get all those "old guy" remarks. "It's always sumthin'. If it's not one thing it's another. If it's not this it's that." So, when people start getting on your nerves with thier idiotic questions, do what I do. Smile your most enigmatic smile and try to imagine them with an axe buried deep in their head. :kiss Gary
  5. by   MollyMo
    It happens to us all in one sense or another. I have patients and families ask what part of the country I'm from;about my training,etc. I'd like to think that they just want to make sure that their loved one is in good hands. It's annoying as all get out, but sometimes answering their questions makes for an easy shift with that patient and less problems with the family. As for the nurse you talked about, I had a similar issue with a nurse that has LESS experience than me. With her, it's a control issue. She feels that no one can do it as well as she can or knows as much as she knows. I had a meeting with her and the nurse manager to discuss the issue. Try it if you think it will help. If not the manager then another nurse. Don't do it by yourself, but let this other nurse know how you feel about her behavior. It will get worse if it's not addressed. Best Wishes.
  6. by   MollyMo
    Also, happeewendy, with me it can become a race issue. Some patients and families assume that I'm the aid because I'm African-American. And this isn't an assumption on my part. It's what I've been told.
  7. by   suzannasue
    Was a young thing...umm...not that long ago (ahem..haha) ,although these creaking and aching joints belie that fact !!!! Agree with MollyMO...sometimes you have to get their attention by bringing in a voice of management to bring it to their attention that YOU will responsible for discussions with family members/pts unless she is consulted. Perhaps the pt who was inquiring about your age was only using his/her prior (mis)conceptions that all nurses are "older"...look at the depiction of nurses in the media of the past and you will see that we were all depicted as the starched cap,hair pulled back in a bun severely,
    Nurses Ratchit types (or depicted in porno)...perhaps there is a search engine where you can find those pictures...I personally cannot explain nor can I understand the attitudes of folks...I do not care for anyone with preconcieved notions regarding others and will assist them in becoming "informed" to the FACTS. Have heard gross misconceptions verbalized about myself and co-workers...age,race,sex (mysoginism reigns supreme),sexual preference,etc...and have had to straighten out several ppl due to their IGNORANCE...
    Have grown from a young nurse to a "senior" nurse and I truly understand your concerns...I have learned quite a bit from each and every nurse with whom I have worked...some lessons quite enlightening,others quite frightening...but all a part of the big picture. We are all students of life and in this profession we are
    being educated every day.
    Assert yourself and inform the other nurse that her behavior is unacceptable.
    Take care Wendy,hope you feeling better!!!!
  8. by   lindalee
    Happeewendy enjoy being the youngest while you can! LOL I would pay someone to card me. I graduated in 1965 and have done bedside care all these years. (I am not in rigor and IV status yet and sure hope to be able to retire before I get there.) I can well remember what you are talking about. I do think nursing is easier as you age. You have not only lived through some situations that help you with understanding things, I also find that often when people ask how long I have been nursing, they immediately relax and the trust is immediate. This is a definite benefit of experience and you will certainly one day get there. I love to teach younger nurses and try to help them adjust to a very difficult field. Nursing has so many joys, in spite of the low pay and awful hours. I cannot imagine that I would do anything else but like all nurses these days would like to see our situation improve. I really miss having the time to do the things that made nursing such a special profession. Taking the time to teach patients and staff is difficult when you are being pulled a million different directions. I would hope the older RN you are working with would redirect your patient's families' questions to you. You may need to talk with her and ask her to do just that. I would try to encourage her support, perhaps by asking if she would be available should you find yourself in a position where you really don't know how to help a family. I would try to get her support and let her know that your wings need to be allowed to fly. Good luck in you nursing profession. All too soon you will be the older RN and have to be the one who redirects the questions to a very young co-worker. Enjoy your youthful status; you will be the senior nurse faster than you might think.
  9. by   NurseDennie
    Wendy -

    You're gorgeous. I think I was still carded when I was your age, too.

    But the thing about being young: it goes away.

    Love

    Dennie
  10. by   hapeewendy
    youre all right, it always is something isnt it?
    youre age, your sex, your colour, your background
    I dont feel so bad anymore
    I will answer all their questions with pleasure
    I think I was just more annoye with the butter inner nurse than anything else but thats okay, I have learned so much from the ppl I work with that I really do feel like a student in the school of life, we all have lots to learn in lifes lessons
    the getting carded thing at the bar isnt so bad for me unless I forget my ID at home, which has happened on occasion
    we are all wonderful, however old or young at heart we are
  11. by   fergus51
    Wendy, I am only a couple of years older and have always gotten the same reaction from families, especially when I have to help a woman breastfeed. They never fail to ask me how old I am like they're thinking "What does she know about breastfeeding? She probably just went through puberty and grew breasts last year!". What can you do...
  12. by   live4today
    Mollymo...I went through that so many times on my jobs as a nurse. I would just laugh and keep on pushing. :chuckle

    happeewendy...you do look young. People use to think I looked young too until I gained weight, now they don't comment as much about me not looking my age...perhaps now I'm really starting to look my age...and no one wants to tell me... My daughters are ages 31, 28, and 25...so you could be my daughter.

    Enjoy the youth while you've got it to complain about...it goes quick! Heck...I use to be carded at clubs until I was 40...yes 40! So......I guess when I turned 40, I started to really look like an adult who was old enough not to get carded anymore.


    My husband is 12 years younger than me, but everyone thinks he is older than me. I still get women 25 and older saying to me 'Dang, woman...you've got good genes. You look younger than me...or You don't look your age...I ask them what is "my age" suppose to look like, and they can't answer me, so go figure.
    Last edit by live4today on Jul 6, '02
  13. by   cbs3143
    Hi Wendy,

    Bless you for the enthusiasm and youthful exhuberance that you and the other "younger" nurses bring to the profession. :kiss

    Ages ago I was asked similar questions as well as "Are you going back to school to become a doctor?" Male nurses weren't real common way back then and people didn't know how to take us. I must be on my way to being a doctor because boys don't become nurses. After a while those questions stopped. The question of whether or not I was "any good at starting IVs" never did seem to go away though. Then eventually the comments became, "You've been working here for a long time haven't you?" I knew that it felt like a long time and I must have looked like I'd been there a long time too.

    My daughter is 23 years old (I made it to the alter in my late 20's) and as Cheerfuldoer said, you could be my daughter. I enjoy hearing about your successes and appreciate the opportunities to share your frustrations, even though I don't always respond with a post. Know that most of us on this board, regardless of age, sex, race, or whatever other marker society places on us, appreciate you for the special person you are.

    Keep being yourself Wendy, It sounds like you are a well grounded person and a terrific nurse. Your "Ben Affleck" is out there somewhere too

    Chuck
  14. by   hapeewendy
    once again all of you have come thru to make me feel better, no wonder youre all nurses, you have a knack for improving the lives of others, in this case mine!
    I appreciate all of you and the support you give to me , during my "freshman" stage of my nursing career.
    your insights are always valued
    your opinions are always respected
    your advice is always cherised

    and Chuck your extremely kind post has really helped me put things into perspective
    and if you have any pointers on how to hook ben affleck ,feel free to share
    I apprecite you sharing the story of your transition into male nurse vs MD to "wow youve been here a long time"
    stories like yours make me happy that I will be in this profession for a long time to come.....

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