I have been accepted in my nursing program that I've been working towards for a couple years. I currently work full-time and unfortunately this cannot change, as I am my family's only income/health insurance. I would said my non-healthcare employer is being very supportive with letting me set my own schedule to fit work around school.
I have gladly accepted the fact that I will not have time for anything else besides school and work; my wife is coming to terms with this fact as well. My few close friends and family know that I will taking a long hiatus for the next few years.
Lately, everyone I speak to about this issue (school vs. work) is consistently telling me it's virtually impossible and that most students working more than 8-10 hrs/week tend to fail or drop out. I'm getting really tired of hearing this. I'm confident I can do it. I'm a decent student and strong test taker. I certainly acknowledge it's going to be tough, but I know people have been able to do this.
Overall, I'm looking for people who have been able to manage both nursing school and full-time work. What did it take? Tips? Do's? Do not's? I'll take ANYTHING at this point. Help set me (and other students in this situation) up for success. Thank you for your time and attention!
I had to work 40-60 hrs a week as a computer analyst while going to nursing school. It wouldn't have been my first choice, but I am a single mom with a mortgage, car payment, and teenager.
I had the following advantages without which I don't think I could have done it:
1. I can remember what I read only having read it once for the most part.
2. I am a technology addict, and used it to my best advantage (see tips below)
3. I had an AMAZING set of co-workers and bosses up 3 levels that even though they were going to lose me, wanted me to do what would make me happy. They let me work flex time, partially from home, weekends and nights... so long as I kept up my work load.
4. My kiddo was already a teenager and fairly self-sufficient.
5. I have an amazing set of friends who are my chosen family and they were there when I needed pinch-hitters for various things from house sitting to home cooked meals to adult nights where I could cut loose and let off some steam and didn't have to worry about driving home.
Now, HOW did I do it?
1. Flashcards on my smartphone. There are a number of flash card programs, as well as sites where people put up their flash card sets. You can find sets already made for conversions, lab values, drugs, etc.
2. Took notes on my tablet computer from the PDF or Powerpoints distributed. This way I always had my notes for review.
3. Used e-books for all of my texts, again so I had the material anywhere I had downtime for reading/studying.
4. NCLEX practice question app on my smartphone
5. Frozen meals, both prepped by friends and from the supermarket. Also WAY too much pizza and take-away. (My teenager now only wants food that was made at home, I burned her out on frozen, pizza, and take-away.)
6. As when I had a new baby at home, I took every opportunity to sleep. There were days I could only get 4-5 hrs a night, and I'd schedule time off to make up for it. Not the healthiest maneuver, but it got me through.
7. I chose 12 hour clinicals (1 per week) as opposed to 2 8-hr clinicals a week. This meant 1/2 the paperwork (patient care plans SUCK) as well as blocking out the time for better scheduling.
8. I took online or hybrid classes whenever I could, again helping with the scheduling.
9. I used the energy of my teenager to help me study if I had problems with a topic - I'd explain it to her until she understood, and then I had it down.
But the biggest thing? I let go of the idea I had to have a 4.0 in nursing school. I made mostly B's in lecture, A's in most of my clinicals, and a few C's that I had to just deal with. I graduated with a 3.36 which isn't terribly impressive, until I explain what kind of work load I had on top of it. If you are a person who just HAS to make A's, find a way to not work. I'm not saying A's aren't possible while working, but if you can let go of that expectation for yourself, you'll get through it with most of your sanity intact.
ETA: Oh, and BTW, I graduated nursing school (ASN) at 43. I'll finish my bridge program in May with my BSN. It *CAN* be done.
ETA (Aug 2015): Completed my BSN Summa Cum Laude. Now working on my Master's program. It **CAN** be done.
Last edit by theantichick on Aug 7, '15
: Reason: new update