Can I work during nursing school?
With a jam-packed schedule, hours of clinical work, and studying for exams―pursuing a career may seem like an impossible feat.
However, many nursing students manage to find a way around the situation.
Want to know how?
We’re covering all of that in this post.
So, can I work during nursing school? Yes, you can work during nursing school. It will require you to be organized to make sure you’re able to get everything you need to be done. Plus you will need to pick the right job that will give you the flexibility you’re going to need for nursing school.
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Can I Work During Nursing School?
Yes, you can but taking a professional route isn’t that easy.
There are lots of factors you should consider before you find a side-hustle.
Most nursing students would and probably should hesitate about getting a job while they’re in school.
It’s partly because of the lack of knowledge when it comes to working in the healthcare industry and mainly because of time management issues.
So, your first task is to figure out whether you can manage your daily schoolwork along with a job because you shouldn’t apply for a job if you think you can’t handle the pressure.
Here are a few questions you should ask yourself:
1. Can I Afford to Pay for Nursing School?
The hefty tuition, fees and other financial constraints might be the number one reason for taking up a job.
Many students don’t want to lead a life that’s burdened by debt after they graduate. Thus, they prefer to pay for school by themselves instead of applying for student loans and other financial aid.
Then, there are personal commitments that compel you to work. This is especially true for nursing students who have parents and children depending on them.
In cases like these, working during nursing school isn’t an option, it’s an obligation.
If you’re going through a similar situation then you should start by creating a budget plan.
Use those numbers to search for a job that accommodates your needs.
2. Can You Multitask?
Time is perhaps the biggest hurdle in this situation.
As a nursing student, you’re required to attend classes, work on assignments, and complete clinical hours to graduate, all of which are hard enough.
When you throw in having a job you might even find at some point that all you do is rush from one thing to another.
At the same time, you will still have to stay on top of your deadlines amidst the chaos.
This stressful work routine can take a toll on you if you don’t know how to stick to a proper schedule.
Here are a few things you could do to get things organized:
- Maintain a daily planner to remember the tasks assigned for the coming week
- Plan your study sessions around your work schedule
- Don’t slack off studying if the due date is weeks away
- Color code your study material according to subjects so it’s easier to find them
- Always carry around a book so you can catch up on your study during spare time
- Leverage technology like your phone to help you with studying when you get a chance
Lastly, try to create realistic goals so you can complete the assigned tasks without getting stressed over the study plan.
3. Do You Know How to Compartmentalize Your Feelings?
Pending projects, office conflicts, upcoming exams, and an unforgiving boss―there is a lot that goes through a nursing student’s mind during professional life.
A great way to counter your anxiety-ridden thoughts is by compartmentalizing your feelings about work, studies, and personal life (source).
The trick is to stop thinking about your studies when you time-in at work, and vice versa. The coping mechanism ensures you can set aside work problems and concentrate on the task at hand.
In the end, nursing students can work during nursing school if they set their mind to it. You’ve just got to create a game plan that doesn’t compromise your studies.
Related Article: Is Being a Nurse Stressful?
How Do You Balance Work and Nursing School?
The Balancing Act
Once you’re able to identify how to balance work and study, you’re ready to find a job.
Try to approach this situation as strategically as possible. You should aim to find a job that caters to your financial needs with minimum setbacks.
Here are a few things to consider:
Should you get a job in the healthcare industry?
Typically, nursing students opt for a healthcare job when they’re in nursing school.
They do this because a healthcare job aligns with their career goals while also giving them an opportunity to get their foot in the door of their ideal department after graduation.
Subsequently, it allows you to gain some work experience along the way. For nursing students with no prior work history, this is especially ideal.
If nothing else having a healthcare industry-based job may help you secure a better position after graduation.
2. Salary and Financial Aid
What’s the salary like?
This is a question everyone asks before they say yes to a job.
As a nursing student, it becomes important for you to choose something that covers your financial needs. You can do this by going through your current expenses (ex. mortgage/rent, gas, utilities, etc.), tuition and fees.
These calculations will help you set a benchmark for your expected salary. Your goal should be to apply for a position that comes close to this figure.
What if an entry-level job doesn’t accommodate your needs?
In that case, you should think of alternatives that could fill the gap.
These options could include student loans, personal loans, scholarships, and other financial aid.
Also, if you work as a nursing assistant, you can ask your employers if they offer tuition reimbursement (source).
Not only will this cover your nursing school fees, but it gives you job security after graduation as well.
Will you get a chance to take leave during finals week? Do you have flexible hours?
Always opt for a job that offers flexible work hours and gives you leeway because you’re still in school.
Most healthcare jobs allow nursing students to set their own schedules so that it doesn’t overlap with their classes.
They’re also happy to adjust the work hours during finals week.
That’s because they understand how challenging it can be to juggle a professional working life and school life.
Another perk with working in a healthcare-setting is hospitals are open 24/7. Because of that usually it’s easier to accomodate the scheduling needs of nursing students.
Related Article: What’s the Best Shift to Work While in Nursing School?
4. Full-time vs. Part-time
Another great option is to enroll in a part-time nursing program instead of a full-time one.
With part-time programs typically you’re in fewer classes which means you’re assignment load is going to be less also.
Fewer assignment means a part-time program will be more manageable than a traditional full-time program.
Online programs are becoming more common. While there are some disadvantages with online programs, one of the pros is that they tend to give you a lot more flexibility than traditional classroom courses.
One of the downsides to keep in mind is that it will take you longer to complete your degree.
This, however, might be a slight hindrance if it gives you financial and emotional stability.
5. Work Stress
Let’s get one thing straight―everyone isn’t cut out for this dual life.
Some people thrive under pressure and competitive environments. They know how to manage their time and deliver exceptional work in demanding situations.
Other students may find it challenging to cope under stressful circumstances, which is why they feel overwhelmed so easily.
You should acknowledge your limits when you start looking for a job. If a healthcare job (or any job for that matter) seems too demanding then opt for a lighter job.
There is nothing wrong with aknowledging a job is too stressful for you, regardless of what you see other people doing. People are all different and have different strengths and weaknessess. ― Know what your weaknesses are and move towards your strengths.
Moreover, there is no harm in choosing a non-nursing job to make ends meet. Other work environments can teach you management, communication, and organizational skills too.
What Kind of Jobs to Get During Nursing School?
It’s the million-dollar question, isn’t it?
We’ve already told you what characteristics to look for when you begin your job hunt.
Here’s a shortlist of jobs for nursing students that might fit that profile:
- Nursing assistant also called (nurse aid, patient care technician)
- Home health aide
- Monitor Technician
- Emergency Medical Technician
Apply to Available Jobs for Nursing Students
If you want to start looking for jobs for nursing students make sure to check out our job board.
If you have access to one you should consult a career counselor to get some advice on how to find a job during nursing school.
You can also look at online discussion boards to find tips and suitable job opportunities for nursing students. The helpful members can advise you on how to apply for scholarships and other forms of financial aid to cover your expenses.
Related Article: Is Being a Nurse Worth it?
In the end, anyone can work during nursing school if you’re determined to get a job.
It all depends on how well you balance work life with your responsibilities as a student.
Try to prepare yourself for the obstacles you may face in the beginning and remember that everything will become easier with time.
You only need a bit of planning, resourcefulness, and the will power to follow through with your decision.
Best of luck!
Stay tuned for more insights into the world of nursing school and beyond.