Has anyone ever worked as a CNA while going to nursing school full time?

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    In the fall of 2013, I will (hopefully) be going to nursing school at either UTHSC Houston or UTMB Galveston for their BSN program. I also want to move out of my parents' house though but I'm going to have to pay for my own apartment rent. I have also heard that being a CNA is good practice to be an RN and is recommended. I'm just nervous that I will be overwhelmed.
    Has anyone ever had to juggle both? How did it go?
    Thanks for yall's advice in advance!
    SeattleJess likes this.
  2. 17 Comments so far...

  3. 1
    I haven't, but a friend from my CNA class just started her third block, and was working full time at the hospital at the same time. She found she had to go down to part time, because she couldn't hack it. However, she also has a husband and a daughter, and felt she never got any time with them. If you don't have those challenges, being young and single, you might be able to do it. Just don't plan on having a life while you do.
    SeattleJess likes this.
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    I do it, but yes, I am part-time. No more than 24 hours a week or so. I have not found it possible to be full time. There are so many extra things in addition to class. Then there is you and your family to take care of. You could probably be a Cna part-time and have some loans cover the gaps if its your first bachelor's degree. Otherwise, it would be more manageable to stay at home until your first RN job.
    SeattleJess likes this.
  5. 1
    I'm not in nursing school yet but I plan to continue working as a CNA until I finish. I had one friend who worked during nursing school every Sunday (6a-6p) and most Saturdays (6a-6p) until she got through nursing school and she said it was difficult but manageable. I plan to work at the hospital once I get in nursing school and get PCT training (hospital does it for free). Right now I'm in LTC.
    SeattleJess likes this.
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    I'm only taking pre-reqs, but I'll be doing it. Not working full time, of course...well, not totally full time. LOL I'll be working 40 hours one week and 16 hours the next week because my supervisor understands my need to be with my kids when they're here. Of course, I'm going to have to deal with a lot of the "I heard/though you quit" everytime I get a weekend off. That was the first thing I heard when I came back yesterday.
    SeattleJess likes this.
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    When I was doing the Surgical Technology program I went from FT to PT AS A CNA, but I had 3 co-workers that were doing FT nursing school and working PT as CNA's.
    SeattleJess likes this.
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    I had one friend who worked nights as a CNA full-time, and she did pretty well until she got pregnant; she ended up failing one of her last classes and having to re-take it over the summer, and reduced her hours to about 20 per week.

    Another friend worked by alternating every other weekend with every other Friday, and then worked full-time during breaks.

    I think it's more realistic to pick up two or three shifts every week as a CNA than to expect yourself to work full-time during nursing school. Depending on how much you are able to earn, that might be enough money to live on your own, especially if you find a good roommate.
    SeattleJess likes this.
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    I work 28 hours while in a full time program with no problem. I will say that I do not have any children, just a husband. I am in my third semester, I did 36 the first semester and then went down to 28 in the second semester when pharmacology came along with nursing classes as well. (still 75 hrs out of the house a week w/ work and school not counting studying or travel!) The 28 seems perfect for me, I can't really do less than that, d/t mortgage payments.

    It's all about time management. I plan my study time well and do most of it in the library or away from home and other distractions, because I lose time at home ( laundry, cleaning etc...). I also find the busier I am, the more I actually get accomplished. But that's just me.

    Probably no more than 24 hrs a week, 16 would be optimal, unless you really need the money. Best of luck to you!

    Lyn
    SeattleJess likes this.
  10. 2
    Quote from LynM75
    It's all about time management. I plan my study time well and do most of it in the library or away from home and other distractions, because I lose time at home ( laundry, cleaning etc...). I also find the busier I am, the more I actually get accomplished. But that's just me.

    Lyn
    The bolded part? So true. There's definitely a point where it plateaus, but for me, boredom and not doing enough is what gets me in a bad spot.
    SeattleJess and gummi bear like this.
  11. 1
    Some of the schools that I have applied to require that you work no more than 20 hours per week. They ask that you have your employer sign a form stating that during the term you will not be working more than that.
    I am a single mom and unless I get an amazing scholarship I will have to work at least part time when I go to nursing school. I for one can not handle working 40 hours a week and being in school 30 hours a week plus studying; hence the reason I am not in either of the programs I was accepted into this fall.
    I do plan on saving up and applying for more scholarships so that next time I am accepted I can go to school!
    SeattleJess likes this.


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