In today’s economic environment, it is not always possible to attend nursing school without a steady source of income.
Approximately 25% of students work at least part-time, and a few students take on full-time hours.
Although this may not be easy, it is possible by following these tips.
Can You Attend Nursing School While Working Full-Time?
While numerous former nursing students will tell you that nursing school alone is a full-time job, plenty of others will tell you that juggling work and nursing school simultaneously is possible if you have the motivation, support system, and organizational skills for it.
If you have a flexible school schedule, it will be even easier to work and go to school full-time.
What You Need to Attend Nursing School While Working Full-Time
Holding down two full-time schedules is certainly not for everyone. However, this does not mean that it is an impossible dream.
Instead, with the right attitude and the proper daily systems in place, you can successfully prepare for a new career while still supporting yourself and any dependents.
1. The Right Attitude
First, you will need the right attitude to make your newly busy schedule work. Plan on bringing a positive attitude, persistence, confidence and a desire for hard work.
2. A Good Support System
Second, be sure that you have a support system nearby, especially if you also care for a child or another dependent family member.
Your support system could include family and friends that live in your area, or you may want to consider neighbors or others that you know in your community.
3. A good Study Place
Third, you will need a quiet time and place for studying. This could look different for everyone, but some ideas include your kitchen, living room, local library or coffee shop.
4. A Good Budget
Fourth, you must create a budget to ensure that you will be bringing in enough money to cover your everyday needs along with tuition.
Creating an initial budget can be scary as you may find some shortfalls in your income or discover that you need to trim some unnecessary expenses.
However, a budget will give you power along with peace of mind when you know that you can make ends meet.
While even a simple paper budget can work, digital tools are usually more user-friendly. Consider a free option, such as Mint.
5. A Planner
Finally, to keep each part of your life in order and to manage both work and school responsibilities, you will need a planner.
This could be either a digital or paper-and-pencil system. A calendar app on your smartphone can work well while providing you with automatic reminders.
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Steps to Succeed at Attending Nursing School While Working Full-Time
Once you have the items, people, and attitudes you need in place, you are ready to start the process of creating a successful, simultaneous full-time work and school schedule.
1. Find a Job With Flexibility
Tackle your job first because the hours your job requires will shape your nursing school schedule.
You may already work with a supervisor who is happy to let you have flexibility each week, or you may need to request a switch to a different shift.
If your supervisor is unwilling to work with you on your schedule to the extent that you need, you may need to look for a different job before committing to nursing school.
2. Choose a Job That Meshes Well With Nursing
If you do need or want to look for a new job, consider one that meshes well with the nursing profession.
This will give you important practice with new skills, helping you succeed in school and giving you a jumpstart on your nursing-based resume.
Look for jobs at a clinic, nursing home or hospital, such as working as a certified nursing assistant or phlebotomist.
3. Choose a Nursing School With a Flexible Study Plan
Although it is possible to attend a traditional four-year college or university while working full-time, your best option will be to choose a flexible study plan to go along with your job hours.
Thankfully, there are plenty of nursing schools these days that offer class times during the evening rather than only during the day or that provide a vast majority of their classes in an online format, allowing you to listen to lectures at a convenient time for you.
Another option that might work better for you would be to work full-time while taking nursing classes part-time.
Although this will extend your schooling experience, you might need to consider this plan to meet your bills as well as other responsibilities in your life.
4. Create a Daily and Weekly Plan for Working and Studying
According to Benjamin Franklin and Winston Churchill, two men well-reputed for their wisdom, “He who fails to plan is planning to fail.”
Whether you have always been an organized person who sticks to a schedule or not, you must have a plan in place for how you use your time before beginning nursing school.
Of course, you will need to include your work hours and lecture or laboratory times, but you must also plan times to do homework, study for tests, take care of your family or other personal responsibilities and take personal time for yourself.
You may wish to start out with an hourly worksheet, breaking down all of your tasks into half-hour increments.
Once you get used to your new system, you can probably switch to a weekly planner.
This Time-Block Planner can be a great place to start.
- Newport, Cal (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 240 Pages – 11/10/2020 (Publication Date) – Portfolio (Publisher)
5. Create Your Study Space
While you should have already determined where and when you will do your homework and studying, you will want to prepare your space.
This could mean having a laptop, headphones, and a backpack ready for studying outside the house.
It could also mean having a desk, comfortable chair, desk lamp and anything else that helps you get into studying mode at home, such as a candle, tea or music.
6. Build and Schedule a Support System
Your chosen support system can be relied upon for several different tasks, including child care and a variety of household tasks for which you no longer realistically have time.
Discuss your desired time frames and get a schedule in place at the beginning of your semester to limit any anxiety as you begin your new schedule.
Friends and family members may prefer to discuss times together and create a master calendar that all can access.
7. Set Realistic Goals
Holding down the equivalent of two full-time jobs will take up the majority of your awake time, making it difficult for you to spend as much time as usual with loved ones, on vacations, or even on household tasks, such as cooking and cleaning.
This is not the time to aim for perfection. Instead, focus on positive self-talk, set realistic goals for your time and energy and celebrate small victories.
8. Stick to Your Budget
Once your budget is in place, you must remember that it will only be as successful as you are at sticking to your assigned limits.
Ensure that you have room in your budget for unexpected expenses, such as household or automobile repairs.
Having a fund for these types of needs will limit your stress and help you stay on track with your financial goals when the unexpected happens.
9. Prioritize Healthy Habits
While you are certainly not going to have as much downtime as you once did, it is still vital that you take time for self-care, which should include healthy eating, regular movement and enough sleep.
Take time occasionally to pamper yourself, whether that is with a bubble bath, time with friends at a local sports bar or taking an hour to read a book for fun.
These healthy habits will help fuel your mind and body, decreasing your stress and ultimately giving you the energy you need for the more difficult parts of your life.
10. Ask for Help
Finally, do not be scared to ask for help from your support system, other friends or even your work supervisor or college professors when you need it.
Be honest about your concerns, and ask for their wisdom or help. You may be surprised at how a little change that they suggest will help you relax and accomplish your goals.
Even if you are a naturally independent person, you will need to lean in more to help from others during this busy season of your life.
Tackling Two Goals Simultaneously
Taking on a full-time job along with nursing school is a challenging goal, but it can best be accomplished with perseverance and the help of those around you.
Making good financial decisions and a flexible class schedule can make it a little easier.