Should You Commute To Nursing School? - page 3

by TheCommuter 7,417 Views | 32 Comments Senior Moderator

Should I commute to nursing school even though it is located one hour away from my home? How far would you be willing to commute? These are questions that are asked every so often on these forums, so I thought I would address... Read More


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    Quote from TheCommuter
    Should I commute to nursing school even though it is located one hour away from my home? How far would you be willing to commute? These are questions that are asked every so often on these forums, so I thought I would address them with recollections of my personal experiences as a commuter.

    Commuting Story Number One:

    Back in 2004 I was a single 23 year-old female who had been working at a paper products factory for three years. I had been contemplating a career change for quite some time, but troubles at work brought the possibility to the forefront much sooner than I had anticipated. To keep a long story short, I needed to change careers as soon as possible, but I would be fighting an uphill battle due to lack of prerequisites and limited college experience.

    Furthermore, my factory job schedule entailed working 12-hour rotating shifts until infinity. I worked three weeks of day shift (5:00am to 5:30pm), then three weeks of night shift (5:00pm to 5:30am), then back to day shift, then back to night shift, and it never ended for the three years of employment at this workplace. Since all non-managerial employees worked rotating shifts, it was clear that they would not make any special accommodations for me to attend school. So, I resigned to attend school full-time.

    I selected a 12-month NLNAC-accredited vocational nursing (LVN) program with a solid reputation at a private nonprofit trade school that was established in the 1960s. Here’s the catch: I was living in central California at the time, and the school was located in southern California. My commute was 95 miles one-way on Interstate 5 (190 miles round trip), five days per week for one year. That year passed surprisingly quickly. I graduated in late 2005 and passed NCLEX in January 2006.

    Commuting Story Number Two:

    Back in late 2008 I was a 27 year-old with nearly three years of experience as a licensed vocational nurse (LVN). Since I wanted more money and knowledge, I decided to obtain licensure as a registered nurse (RN). I had earned a 3.6 grade point average in my prerequisite courses, and although this was good, it was not extremely competitive for the schools in the metropolitan area in Texas where I was now living. My best friend, who had a non-nursing bachelor of science degree in addition to an LVN license, was also having difficulty getting accepted into local LVN-to-RN bridge programs.

    We chose a 14-month LPN-to-RN bridge program at a school in central Oklahoma. The school was located 225 miles away from our homes in Texas (450 miles round trip), so we drove to the school on Tuesday mornings, attended class on Tuesday afternoons, completed clinical rotations every Wednesday, went to class on Thursday afternoons, and headed back to Texas on Thursday evenings. We shared a small apartment near the school to prevent from driving back and forth daily, and kept our LVN jobs in Texas during that year. The 14 months passed relatively quickly and we graduated in March 2010.

    Although commuting is certainly not for everyone, I’m here to say that I have no regrets about driving my way to a better professional life, more opportunities, greater flexibility, and increased income. Cars, trucks, clothes, cell phones, handbags, and other status items will depreciate in value, but an education with marketable skills will appreciate in value and continually reap rewards.

    By the way, my user name exists for a very specific reason!
    Thank you for sharing!! The ADN programs in my area are based on lottery selection so I recently got onto a wait list to a school that is just under an hour away. I am so happy to know that you were successful in BOTH of your programs when you commuted. My only fear is the time, considering that is two hours out of my day that I am not studying. But it is probably good decompression time! I hope I get lucky in the lotteries but if not I will be commuting. I am happy to know there are other out there who will do anything for their dream!
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    Quote from Farmbeachcity
    I drive 1 hr each way to/from school. I record my lectures and skill tasks. Then, I listen to them in the car. I'm amazed at times when I hear something that I completely missed during lecture. Also, I get to hear the emphasis that professors put on certain items that end up being on the tests.

    Although, sometimes, I gotta turn that off and listen to some NPR or some pop!
    That is a great idea! What kind I recording device do you use?
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    TheCommuter---- love , love your articles. Not a long time ago I had the same dillema, finally I decided to chose some other school but
    mainly because of the cost not the distance.

    All the best
    TheCommuter likes this.
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    This story shows dedication and resilience. I admire you for your passion. This goes to show that nothing will get in the way if you really want to succeed in something.
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    Wow, those stories make my 1 hour commute seem like nothing! lol
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    a digital recorder (Olympus VN-8100PC) or my iPhone.. i like the digital recorder better because it seems easier to rew/ff... you can transfer files to your computer if you want.. also has a function that you can slow down the playback: why would you need this? One of our professors talks SO FAST that listening to her again at regular speed didn't help..slowed it down and it sounds normal!!
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    Quote from Farmbeachcity
    a digital recorder (Olympus VN-8100PC) or my iPhone.. i like the digital recorder better because it seems easier to rew/ff... you can transfer files to your computer if you want.. also has a function that you can slow down the playback: why would you need this? One of our professors talks SO FAST that listening to her again at regular speed didn't help..slowed it down and it sounds normal!!
    Will that recorder be compatible with a Mac?
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    not sure if compatible with mac.. look it up on amazon and i'm sure they know..
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    No one has mentioned the cost of gas! I commuted an hour to school and an hour home for 4 years while getting my undergrad degree. I then continued to make this same commute for another 3 years for my job. I was spending on average $500 a month in gas! I'm starting nursing school in August, and it is an hour away (opposite direction this time though, so at least it'll be a change of scenery). Commuting sucks, after 7 years it physically and mentally drained me. Kudos to everyone who commutes, but once I'm done with school, I don't ever want to commute again!!
    beachy2013 likes this.
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    When I started commuting, we traded in our Suburban for a Prius. Despite commuting almost 1,000 miles every week, our gas bill is still less than it was. Although I do pay a pretty penny every month for my car payment :/ Better to pay for a car though which we will own, rather than gas which is just lost money. Although by the time we will own it, it will be more than worn out. Over 90,000 miles on it already after 2 years. One year left of commuting for me and then I'll just drive to work every day, about 300 miles a week. It will be a nice break for me


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