In 1981, I graduated with my BSN with the vague intention that I would eventually return to school for my MSN.
Over the next 15 years, I was juggling my career with the demands of home and family. Eventually, I started graduate school when I was in my late 30s. While some in my cohort were my age, many were much younger. I felt relatively old and ill-equipped in comparison; I had minimal experience with computers and periodical indexes were rapidly being relegated to the dinosaur category (some of you have likely never seen or used a periodical index) and I hadn’t taken a test or written a paper in years.
Despite my reservations, I earned my MSN at the age of 42 and assumed that my formal education was complete. Fast forward a few years and I could hear the rumblings about the Doctor of Nurse Practice as eventually becoming the entry level degree for advanced practice nurses.
My initial reaction was that I would be grandfathered in and I certainly was too old to be a student again. However, a Dear Abby column that I had read many years ago was nagging at me. A woman wrote to Dear Abby that she wanted to be a lawyer, but she would be ‘such and such’ age before she finished law school (I cannot recall the specific age). Dear Abby responded, How old will you be if you don’t go to law school? Ultimately, I took Dear Abby’s advice and did not factor age into my decision about pursuing another degree. At nearly 55 years old, I started the DNP program at OU four months ago. In three years, I will be 58 whether or not I get my DNP and I plan to have no regrets.