Nursing Career & Relationships, Marriage

  1. Hi, I'm very new to the Forum and I've spent some time reading various threads on the subject I'm about to touch on. I've decided to post probably for my own reassurances, but also mainly to vent a little bit about a situation I am currently experiencing. I'm hoping some of the individuals here will be able to help me and let me know what I can reasonably expect in the future. I'm hoping for some of my fears and worries to be put to rest as well.

    I am not studying to become a nurse; my girlfriend is. I'm studying to become a high school science teacher. I ultimately made this decision for the personal gratification that comes with teaching, but also because I wanted to have the time and the schedule to give the most to my future spouse and family. I believe teaching will allow this. I love my girlfriend with all of my heart and she intends to become a RN and work in a hospital here in New York. She's a very diligent student, and I was never really aware of the level of dedication required to do well in nursing school. That said, I've essentially been told that I will see very, very little of her for approximately the next three years (the time it will take her to finish the degree), at least. And possibly beyond. Needless to say, I'm incredibly concerned, a little hurt, and frankly a little frustrated.

    That said, I would love to hear stories of members here with nursing careers who have been able to balance work and life; I would love to hear that you often see your spouses, spend good quality time together, perhaps even go out or on vacation here and there. Please let me know that it's possible to have a normal relationship, or married life with another individual and a career in nursing. I am sure that the two aren't mutually exclusive, but it currently feels that way a little bit now. Three years (or more) of a "Dear John" situation is a little tough to swallow right now even despite the fact that I love this woman quite a lot.

    Thank you for your time and consideration. I really do appreciate any and all input from everyone who may choose to write a response. If you happen to include some unhappy information, that's okay too, I really do need to hear about all the possibilities I could resonably expect here.

    And since I can't help but throw in a few emoticons:

    I a
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    About OnePostAndDone

    Joined: Sep '10; Posts: 2; Likes: 25


  3. by   P_RN
    Time is what you make of it. My spouse and I have been married over 45 years. I've been a Nurse for 36 of those years. Yes there were many days we crossed like ships in the night, but Nursing will allow for days off, vacations, and other times together. It's what you choose to make of the times together that will ultimately make or break your relationship with your spouse.
  4. by   Sun0408
    Nursing school is the hardest part of all of it.. I know when I was in school, my family took the back seat several times. When time allowed I did do as much as I could with them.. My husband would bring me snacks and a pepsi for the late nights when I was up reading. He took care of most everything that had to do with the kids and the house during test times etc..
    Just remember, nursing school is only temp and even tho you wont be spending alot of time talking etc.. you can still be there and help her study, help her with the basic skills like taking vital her dummy so to speak.. Cheer her on, be her shoulder to cry on when she needs it.. Nursing school is very stressful if not anything else.
    If you are willing to see her succeed, you will also take the steps to ensure she does. And they may mean not getting mad when she has to study, or can't go out because a paper is due.
    Once the school part is over, the rest is easy. I have been married almost 19 years and we have 3 children. Nursing is the only job that lets me be home the most. I work 3 12's. so off 4 days a week. I pick the kids up from school, help with homework, go out to eat, yes and vacation (just takes planning) just like with any job. I work 7p to 7a, this allows me the most time with my kids. Each family is different and you too will find what works best.
    The unknown is what you are afraid of, just remember nursing is almost like any other profession, it can take over your life IF you let it...
  5. by   elkpark
    Yes, nursing school requires a huge amount of time, effort, and dedication (more than most people realize until they have some personal experience with it). However, in my experience, when people have no time for their other "obligations" or responsibilities (please forgive me for referring to you as an "obligation" -- you know what I really mean, I hope ), it's not so much because school truly takes up all their time as much as it is a matter of maybe needing better time management skills and doing a better job of using time efficiently and effectively. When I was in a v. demanding and rigorous basic nursing program and, again, later, in a v. rigorous and demanding graduate program, I still managed to have some time to maintain a relationship with my SO and friends.

    Once people graduate, get licensed, and start working, life gets much more "normal." Even when one is working weird hours, a full-time job is still just 36 or 40 hours a week. Some people choose to work lots of overtime because they want to make the extra money, but that's a choice. Nurses have days off, holidays (some of them, at least), and vacations just like everyone else.

    I've been in nursing a long time and have never had any difficulty balancing my work and personal lives, and I have always worked with nurses who are also balancing their jobs with marriages, children, hobbies/interests outside of work, etc.

    Best wishes --
  6. by   TheSmilingToast
    I am currently in the same situation as you, only reversed roles. I am in nursing school and my boyfriend is in college, and I am a bit worried as far as keeping a healthy relationship goes, especially seeing as we are both at different colleges. We talked about it up front, and both got our feelings on the matter out in the open. We set aside certain short time frames to call each other, and I have written him at least once every week since we have been in school. Its not easy, but I think it will so be worth it in the end ^.^
  7. by   Summer Breeze
    Nursing school is definitely tough, but I'm sure your girlfriend will be able to find time to hangout. Its usually hardest in the beginning when you have to finally learn how to manage your time, get used to early clinicals, nursing care plans that can take hours to complete, etc. And the classes will get extremely stressful as well once she progresses in nursing school. Time management is key. I was always extremely organized and would try to stick to my schedules as much as possible.

    Do you guys go to the same school? Even if you don't, you two can at least study together. That's what my boyfriend and I did. =) She'll also need a few mental health days, encourage them! Sometimes I would study all day, and then spend the night relaxing and just hanging out with my BF for a few hours. I basically made sure we talked everyday as well. Texting between classes helped as well. Good luck. I hope all goes well for the two of you. =)
  8. by   MassED
    yep. You'll see her. One can balance school, then work, spouses, and children. You can even have free time and do those things that you love. Including vacations!
  9. by   not.done.yet
    Nursing SCHOOL and a nursing CAREER are two completely different animals.

    Nursing school IS very tough and it is very tough to stay balanced. I do manage to get at least one evening a week to socialize and spend time with my spouse. I also have kids, which adds another twist. As single people, your GF will likely be able to see you a few nights a week. But yeah, it takes a huge chunk out of life while it is going on. She will very much need your understanding.
  10. by   ghillbert
    Seriously? I find it absurd that this is being asked. What would you prefer, that she choose a career she doesn't want so she has more time for you? You are "incredibly concerned", hurt and frustrated... because she is going to be studying hard while in college?

    If I had a boyfriend who was being possessive of my time already while I was just starting school, I wouldn't have that boyfriend for very long.
  11. by   canesdukegirl
    Oh wow-congrats to the both of you for recognizing that education is your key to future success. It was brave of her to be so up front and honest with you regarding the dedication she feels toward school. It is VERY difficult. When both of you graduate, you will then have to adjust to new jobs, and that in itself is also stressful. You both have a lot ahead of you, but it CAN be done.

    I was a newlywed when I was in school, and my husband was so good to me...he worked 6 days a week to make sure we had all of our creature comforts, and he did most of the cooking and cleaning. He was very supportive when I had study groups over and even helped me make flash cards. He did a great job in getting me through school. We did not spend a great deal of time together, and in retrospect, I think that was a good thing. I was so wound up from school that I wasn't very good company. Luckily, he hung in there and we made up for it when I landed my first nursing job. Lots of vacations and lots of time together.

    The piece of information that I picked out from your post that encouraged me is that you both are entering a scientific field. This will be beneficial to your relationship because you can discuss things with each other on common ground. Understanding each other and having conversations with each other about what you are learning will bring you closer. Sounds geeky, but it's true.

    You both will need to take some breaks from school, so plan little mini-vacays when you can. Recognize school stress for what it is, lay out your expectations NOW so that it doesn't add to your respective stress levels when one of you thinks the other is falling short in the attention arena. It is gonna be tough, but like all good things in this world, hard work and dedication will bear fruit and it will be all worth it.
  12. by   Ashley_RN
    I'm a recent new grad, June 2010, and even after going through NS still cannot understand how people think nursing school needs to be their entire life. I was a very good student (Deans list every semester, academic achievement awards, etc) and I never lost or hurt any of my friendships or my relationship (6yrs strong this December). I never understood the classmates that would constantly say that nursing school was their life and they had time for nothing else... that's crazy!!! Part of being successful, in my opinion, is being able to balance the two. For me personally, if I made NS my whole life, I would have went crazy... seriously. Everyone needs a balance, in everything. I believe giving myself the time to enjoy my bf, family & friends is truly what helped me succeed. Of course when it came down to it, I spent nights at libraries & maybe missed a couple of important events, as yes schoolwork does come first, but without the important relationships I gained support from, I wouldn't have been able to do it. As other posters have mentioned, being supportive of your gf is extremely important. When I wasn't able to spend the night relaxing with my bf, he simply said 'I understand, if there's anything I can do to make things easier for you let me know and I'll be right here waiting when you get the chance.' I love & appreciate him so much more for it. And here I am, about to begin a whole new journey when I begin my first job as an RN in 2 weeks but I know I'll find the time for him even if the stress is incredible, as he can calm my nerves (and maybe some wine haha) But, I guess what I'm saying is let's be honest, we study ALOT and have alot to do in NS but there are not careplans/papers/tests, etc everyday... if you love her, you're willing to have an open mind, and able to totally support her... you guys will be fine.
    Last edit by Ashley_RN on Sep 27, '10
  13. by   Meraki
    Neither school or work are all consuming unless one allows it to be. I think it is important early in life to establish balance in life. Does being in nursing school mean she'll be busy? Of course. Does being in nursing school mean she will have no time for you? No, not unless she makes that choice. Taking time off to spend with significant others, to do sports / exercise, to relax is crucial to be a healthy individual. When I was in nursing school, many of us worked, played sports, volunteered, and spent time socializing with family and friends all throughout our years in school.

    Once she has a career the same choices exist. She can choose to pick up lots of extra shifts and overtime and never see you or she can choose to balance her time at work with home life. Many of the nurse I know have very full family/social/active lives outside of work.

    I imagine once you both get into your programs and get started you will see how it can work and will find a good balance. Good luck to both of you - two great careers!

    ETA: Ashley RN - I guess we were typing similar ideas at the same time!
  14. by   canesdukegirl
    @Ashely, I agree that it is not all consuming. I was also Dean's List and graduated first in my class, but I sacrificed a lot of fun times to achieve that. It all works out in the end.

    Try to be supportive and understanding. Voicing expectations is key.