Could I survive nursing school?-Mama to 2 babies

  1. Hi there,

    I am currently thinking about returning to school to obtain my R.N. license. I would be attending a community college, getting an A.A. and a nursing degree. Previously I attended a 4-yr. university and have well over 160 units of work done, but, alas, I never completed a major! So, I would have all my GE coursework done, but would need to do the nursing pre-reqs (physiology, micro., anatomy, etc). Then I would need the nursing classes.

    My question is this...I have 2 little ones (6 months and 3 1/2)....how realistic is it to consider this path at this point in my life? I am not 'young' (40) so I don't want to put it off forever but I also don't want to make my family suffer through years of me being in school if it means 12 hour days, 4-5 days a week. What is truly involved time-wise to get a nursing degree? AND...if I want to be a L/D nurse, will I need to eventually get my B.S.N requiring even more time???

    Just looking for some advice

    Thanks in advance!
    Adrianna
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  2. 17 Comments

  3. by   ARmickie
    If I was you, I would certainly be requesting course schedules from whatever school you are considering. I know at my school, there are nursing courses during morning, afternoon, and even some at night according to the papers I picked up yesterday. The prereq's that you have yet to take can most likely be taken online and that might help you out some. At our school, the majority of the nursing students attend class from 8 to 2:30 twice a week, and there is a lab scheduled for one other day that lasts about two hours. There is always, of course, going to be clinical work to do, but here it lasts about 8 hours a day. Normally, it's not at night, or even very early morning, so child care wouldn't be that hard to come by. From the ages of your children, you could probably put them in a school owned childcare, or one very nearby. I don't think the hours would be too much, especially if your school is like mine. I mean, even if it were 12 hours a day, as long as it was only a few days during the week, that's still less time than a regular 40 hour workweek, KWIM?
    Again, I'm not sure that the places around you are like these here, but you don't have to have a BSN for L&D. Most places want a RN, but anything higher is optional, unless it is at one of the highly specialized hospitals and in the NICU or something.
    As long as you have a good support system, I think you'd probably do just fine. I know several people who have waited until their kids were older to start a nursing program, but that is definitely a personal decision. If it's something you really want, you can do it.

    Good luck.
  4. by   Jill1215
    Adrianna,

    Hi. I just read your post and although I do not know how much time nursing school takes up (I start this August), I do know how much time the Prereqs take up. To me is all depends on the grade you are hoping to walk out with. For some reason I chose to wear the burden of making A's. I can tell you that while I was taking A&PII and Micro MOST of my free time was spent studying. I mean I ate, slept, went to school, played with my daughter, and studied. I have a five year old daughter that I spent time with after school until she went to bed (about 4pm to 7pm) each night, but that was it. I studied all weekend every weekend. However, that was to make "A's". There were plenty of students in my classes that made c's but did not give up nearly as much of their personal time as I did. If you can get into the program you want with C's I would be willing to guess that you will not feel like you are studying your life away. However, if you aspire to get A's you are going to need to put in more effort than you ever thought you would. It just depends on what is important to you.

    I have always seen that the time people spend putting into the subject directly correlates to the grade they receive.

    I hope once I start nursing school I will get out of the "I must get an A" mentality. It really adds a lot of stress and pressure to my life. Just getting through the program is such an accomplishment. I hope I can teach myself to realize that.

    Hope this helps.
    Jill
    Last edit by Jill1215 on May 30, '04
  5. by   Sheri257
    Most people I know who have small children took one tough science pre-req (micro, anatomy, physio) per semester and only that one course during regular semesters, not during a summer session when the time demands are tougher (classes at my school are usually every day and range from 4-6 hours a day.)

    It took longer but, by then, their children were older and, also, in school, so that freed up more time for when they actually got into nursing school. Plus, even when you have your pre-reqs done, it can take up to a year before you're accepted due the waiting lists at most schools. So the kids might be even older and it might be more manageable.

    Last edit by Sheri257 on May 30, '04
  6. by   PCGrad06
    i am sure it will be a hard. however if you want it bad enough you will find what it takes to reach your goal. plus it will be very rewarding in the end with $$$ security for you & your family.
  7. by   mitchsmom
    I am a mom to just-turned 2, 5, and 7 year olds. I took all of my prereqs except one online and it was the only option that I felt comfortable with at the time (my two year old was a baby). It was perfect for us. Then last year I started a BSN program part-time (which you don't have to have for L&D but it may be just as easy for you to attain since you already have so many college credits, and some BSN programs are actually easier to get into than some ADN programs). I need a BSN to be able to continue on to grad school for the field I want to be in, and the closest BSN program is a very long commute, so between that and having young children, and financially being able to take my time, I took the part time option and I am glad. There are several people with little kids in my program that do it, but honestly I don't know how. Maybe if as a family we were used to both parents being gone alot it would work, but we've always been together a lot and I would not be comfortable with full-time at least until mine are all in school. I think a lot of it depends on your needs and where you are right now and what amount of time with your family you are personally comfortable with, and what your financial options are (I know some people have to hurry up and get a job). I am very lucky that I can work toward my BSN goal and still have a life (and sometimes I still feel pretty busy with school stuff even part time) -if I was doing full-time like most of my classmates, I would have NO life at all, my kids would be neglected by me, and I'd probably be divorced. Just my experience, I know it's different for everyone.
  8. by   lisamc1RN
    I am going part time. It works best for my family. Can you get your prereq's out of the way, and then see where you are as a family? I know that a lot of people go full time with wee ones, but for me, I am satisfied with doing it part time. How urgent is it for you to get your degree? Take some time and assess the needs of your family. Sometimes financial concerns make it so that it is essential to get a degree asap. Would it be more doable to go to a part time LPN program, then work while you get your RN? Best of luck to you as you make this decision!
  9. by   johnnrachel
    I started pre-req's five years ago. I have three children at the time I started school they were two, three and eight years old. It has taken me that long to finish pre-reqs taking them at night, online, etc. Now I have just completed my 1st semester of nursing I am so happy and I know that the timing is perfect, my youngest is now turning 7 and is in school full time I LOVE NURSING SCHOOL. I know it is possible for you. The point of my story is to start now before you know it you will be starting nursing classes and your kids will be older, GOOD LUCK and reach for your dreams anything is possible and you can still be a GREAT MOM.
  10. by   Blackfish
    Thanks so much for all your great responses and encouragement! I know that anything is possible and it is good to hear so many of you are doing what you truly want to do.

    Part of what concerned me is that I took a look at the time commitment for the first nursing class that was required at one of the local community colleges and it said 4 1/2 hours of lecture per week and 18 hours of lab. Don't know if that is common for most schools but I figured that 18 hours of lab was probably divided up as 6hrs x 3 days a week. PLUS the 4 1/2 hours of lecture. Plus, the commute to school and back...makes it more like 8 hour days. It sounds like a lot of time away from babes. Like mitchsmom, we are used to being together all the time. I am a SAHM and my oldest is not in preschool or daycare. So, those hours sound a bit daunting to say the least

    I plan on doing only one prereq at a time. I am in no hurry to get a job, I would just like to start work sometime before I turn 60! mitchsmom and johnnrachel, where did you manage to take most of your prereqs online? Does that include the science reqs that need a lab??? I have a lot of experience with science classes (I was a biology major, then botany, then geology....couldn't decide!!)...but I never took anatomy/phys. But, at least I know the usual time commitment for a science lec/lab class.

    I do have a great support system. My husband will support me in whatever choice I make. He will, by then, be self-employed so he may have a flexible schedule. We also have live with one of our best friends who is very close to the babes and helps out a lot.

    Well, that is all for now! Any more suggestions/advice greatly appreciated! BTW, I am looking at American River College in Sac, CA and Sierra College in Grass Valley if anyone has experience with either school? ARC had the 18 hrs/week lab.

    Thanks!!!
  11. by   Sheri257
    If you end up taking any courses online, be sure they'll transfer to whatever nursing schools you're considering. Some take them, some don't. Also, each individual school is kinda quirky with their requirements, so it's always good to meet with a counselor before you take any courses. There's all kinds of things you can miss like ... I needed to take a PE course and registered for a one hour credit course but, as it turned out, I needed to register for three PE credit hours instead. Luckily, the counselor caught it in the time, and I didn't waste a semester, but it's easy to do if you don't check with them.

    Last edit by Sheri257 on May 30, '04
  12. by   mitchsmom
    I got my prereqs from 3 different Florida community colleges. A counselor at my local cc gave me the following website where you can look up Florida public college classes:
    http://www.distancelearn.org/creditSearch.cfm
    I'm sure there is some kind of equivalent for each state that your school's counselor could give you or you could search.
    I had everything but Stats (I had back when I got my first degree) and Microbiology online (and I probably would have done that one too but I was already in it by the time I realized all my online options). Even chemistry and A&P with the labs!! The Chem class turned out to really be more of a telecourse with lab demos on tape and workbook pages to send in (I wasn't happy with that class but it served as a means to an end).. the A&P I was VERY pleased with, not easy but I felt the quality was very good... through St. Pete College. Here's the homepage for one of my A&P classes to get a little bit of an idea:
    http://www.spjc.cc.fl.us/SPG/Science...1086/index.htm (you can even look at the lab image database there)
    My BSN program has about 30% of it's classes online - this summer I am just online and no commuting!!! Yay
    It will be a tremendous help that your husband is suportive, mine isn't even for my decision to go back to school so it's a battle.
    Best wishes!!!
    Last edit by mitchsmom on May 30, '04
  13. by   Sheri257
    Quote from mitchsmom
    It will be a tremendous help that your husband is suportive, mine isn't even for my decision to go back to school so it's a battle.
    I'm so sorry to hear that. It must be so hard for you.

  14. by   johnnrachel
    Hi, The only classes I took online were the English, Math, etc. my school did not offer the sciences online. I took the sciences at night. I will say that once you get into nursing it is FULL TIME, plus!!!!!!!! This is why I planned to be in the nursing when my kids were in school all day. Start with your pre-reqs and dont think too far into the future, yearly our lives change and what does not seem possible now will be more realistic later. We have lost a lot of moms this semester who did not realize how much of a committment this nursing really is, so time it accordingly. I am so glad I started when I did, it is NEVER too late. Good Luck and remember my motto reach for your dreams.

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