Is healthcare subject to ageism?

Tell me if any of these ring a bell in your healthcare institution:

You’re old, older than most of your colleagues, and are being passed over for promotions and not being given the same opportunities as younger workers.

You’re young, and the older healthcare workers look at you with condescending eyes. Your ideas are dismissed, and your suggestions do not get the light of day.

Some co-workers of yours do not let you do the simplest of things. They believe you are too prone to mistakes because you aren’t that capable anymore, simply too old. They use the patient as an excuse, so you can’t complain.

Teammates are telling you that the open posts are not for you. You lack experience, knowledge, and even the social connections to pull off the promotion. “Maybe…,” they say, “Wait for a few more years.”

They say you’re slow and can’t find a vein anymore. That you misplace samples, don’t write reports correctly, and can’t stay awake long enough to safeguard patients. Even your knowledge is questioned.

Your team tells you your energy is unfocused. You run around too much, and your lack of experience means that everything that happens to a patient is your first. They think you’ll crumble under the pressure. They’ll tell you that what you learned outside this healthcare institution means nothing when the emergencies come in.

Do they sound familiar? Has something similar ever happened to you? That’s ageism.

We’ll all grow old, and we all had to start at some point. Those are irrefutable facts. But being called out and discriminated against because of age in a healthcare institution is simply wrong.

To break free from this stereotyping, the best action is to prove them wrong. If you are of the older generation, be a friend to all and create meaningful relationships with them. Keep yourself informed and prove that your skills are still current. Find training and workshops that you can get certified for. Learn a skill that only a few people in the healthcare institute know and be a subject-matter expert. If you have time, mentor someone.

If you’re too young, accept it. Learn the ropes, and always ask questions. Don’t stop learning to show others that your skills are top-tier. And like your older counterpart, find certifiable skills and learn ones that are very in demand yet scarce in your healthcare institution.

What happens when any effort on your part seems to fail? Don’t blame yourself. It just means that the issue of ageism has already been melded into the healthcare institution’s culture, and solving it is something you cannot do alone. That’s why DCC has made culture a priority in our Healthcare Now program. Only through culture can any change in your team be achieved. That is why Healthcare Now looks for the root cause of your issues, then customizes the procedures and coaching to approach the problem in the best way possible. Let me tell you more. Please email us at