With a jam-packed schedule, hours of clinical work, and studying for exams―pursuing a job on top of that may seem like an impossible feat.
However, many nursing students manage to find a way around the situation. Want to know how? I'm covering all of that in this article.
*Disclosure: This article on should I work during nursing school may contain affiliate links. If you click and make a purchase, I may receive a commission. For more info, please see my disclaimer.
Can I Work During Nursing School?
Working during nursing school is hard, but it's doable. You'll need to be organized to make sure you're still able to study and do all your school work. Plus, you'll need to pick the right job that will give you the flexibility you're going to need for nursing school.
If you decide you would like to get a job during nursing school, make sure to check out The Nurse Money Talk Job Board to start looking for your ideal job TODAY.
Ask Yourself These Questions
While you can work while in a nursing program, it's not going to be easy. There's a lot of factors you should consider before making this decision.
While I think there are many benefits to working during nursing school, such as networking and the obvious making money part, I think most nursing students should hesitate a little and be very thoughtful before getting a job.
It's not because I don't think you can do it. You can! It's because it makes an already hard road (nursing school is not easy and requires a lot of time) even harder.
Before you start applying, you should ask yourself these questions. These aren't meant to discourage you from getting a job, but rather things you should consider.
1. Can I Afford to Pay for Nursing School Without a Job?
Hefty tuition and fees and the cost of general living are among the main reasons students seek out a job in nursing school.
Many students either don't want the student loan burden or aren't able to get student loans or enough financial aid to cover their expenses in school.
Ask yourself what situation you're in?
If you can afford to go to school without working and taking out a little bit of student loan, is that a good option for you if it means you don't have to work and can focus on school.
The average cost of nursing school can be well over $40K and trying to make up all of that while working can lead you to work a lot of hours with very little time for studying.
2. Can I Multitask and Get Organized?
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.
This stressful work-school routine can take a toll on you if you don’t know how to stick to a proper schedule (believe me, I know this from experience).
So it goes without saying if you're not good at multitasking or organization, you might struggle a little bit working during school.
If you need help with organization in nursing school, here are some quick pointers.
- 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
What to Look for in a Good Job
Here are some of the things you should keep in mind as you're looking for jobs to apply for. Did I mention there's a job board on this site you can use to start applying for jobs?
Should you get a job in the healthcare industry?
Typically, nursing students opt for a healthcare job when they're in nursing school.
This is typically a good option because a healthcare job aligns with your career goals while also allowing you to get your foot in the door of your ideal department after graduation.
Subsequently, it allows you to gain some work experience along the way. If you don't have any prior work history, this is especially ideal.
2. Salary and Financial Aid
What’s the salary like?
This is a question everyone asks before they say yes to a job. At least you should, anyway.
As a nursing student, how important the job wage is for you will depend on your financial needs and goals. For some of you, it might not be about the money but the experience and the networking. For others, you have bills to pay.
If you have financial needs, go through your current expenses (ex. mortgage/rent, gas, utilities, tuition, and fees, etc.) and compare that to how many hours you're able to work to see how much you're going to need to make an hour to make the math work.
If it doesn't look like you're going to make enough, you might have to look at student loans, personal loans, scholarships, and other financial aid options to make ends meet.
If you end up getting a job at a hospital, some of them do offer tuition reimbursement. Reach out to your human resource department to see if they offer it. If so, what the details are.
Find Your Job
Use our job board to start looking for and applying to jobs near you.
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 it doesn’t overlap with their classes.
They're also happy to adjust the work hours during finals week.
Related Article: What's the Best Shift to Work While in Nursing School?
Another perk of working in a healthcare setting is hospitals are open 24/7. Because of that, it's easier to accommodate the scheduling needs of nursing students.
4. Full-time vs. Part-time
Another great option (not related to the job but still important to mention) is to enroll in a part-time nursing program instead of a full-time one.
With part-time programs, you're typically in fewer classes, which means your assignment load will be less.
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 to online programs, one of the pros is that they 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 work and school life. Some students thrive under pressure. 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 and immediately start feeling overwhelmed.
There is nothing wrong in both situations. If you're a student that handles stress well, that's fine. If you're someone that doesn't, that's also okay. You should acknowledge your limits and keep that in mind when you start looking for a job.
What's not okay is you taking a job and schedule you know you're not going to excel in just because you won't acknowledge your limits. If a healthcare job (or any job that goes for even after you graduate) seems too demanding, opt for a lighter job.
There is nothing wrong with acknowledging a job is too stressful for you, regardless of what you see other people doing.
People are all different and have different strengths and weaknesses. ― Know what your weaknesses are and move towards your strengths.
What Kind of Job Should You Get During Nursing School?
The job you get can make a big difference. I've already covered a little bit on what types of jobs you should be looking for, and I've gone into extensive detail in another article about the best jobs for nursing students.
If you want the full detail check out that linked article above, but here's a quick shortlist of jobs nursing students should consider.
- Nursing Assistant (Nurse Aid, Patient Care Technician, etc.)
- Home Health Aide
- Monitor Technician
- Emergency Medical Technician
Talk to your nursing faculty members. They are an excellent resource for situations like this. If nothing else, many of them will have connections to managers who are hiring for these positions.
You Can Do It, But It Won't Be Easy
In the end, you can work during nursing school. You just need to be determined and willing to put in the effort to make sure you balance your responsibilities as a nursing student with the time commitment required for your job.
I managed to pull it off, and if I can do it, so can you also. Let me know in the comment section below if you have any questions.
Don't forget to go to the job board to search for jobs once you start looking.
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