Tips for Nursing Students also working full time jobs (40hrs/week)

  1. 4
    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!

    -ICT
    brs_2010, Summer Days, alblove, and 1 other like this.
  2. Get the Hottest Nursing Topics Straight to Your Inbox!

  3. 5,301 Views
    Find Similar Topics
  4. 35 Comments so far...

  5. 1
    I worked FT and went to school FT and just graduated

    It's hard but doable. Just set your priorities and stick to your guns... at least you ahve someone at home to help, I am single so had to take care of my home (and 4 dogs) while juggling school and work.

    I actually lost some friends because I literally had to cut myself off from everyone to succeed, but had to remember why i was doing it in the first place
    ICUman likes this.
  6. 0
    It is very difficult, but possible. You have to be highly organized and figure out when assignments are due and when tests are so you can adapt in your work schedule. I would not work the day before a test, especially after first semester unless you are constantly reviewing prior to the test. Get term papers out of the way at the beginning of the semester. As you get closer to the due date (end of the semester) there will be a lot of other assignments and tests that will pile up. Get a day planner and put all of your assignment due dates and test dates. That will help at giving you a picture of when you can work and not work and the gaps that allow you to get papers done.
  7. 0
    It is hard, but doable! Get an "Uncalendar" and fill it in and live by it!. You can do it! Work and school will be your social life but your cohort will quickly become an invaluable addition to your family. Time will go quickly (I hear, as I am still in the middle of it).
  8. 11
    Do all your studies on school days while on campus. I couldn't even touch homework on workdays, because I work twelve hour shifts with hour commute. Get into that groove and stick to it. Also make sure to take a little time for you and your family to enjoy each other, like eating together when you can. Say your prayers every night and every morning. Ask God for guidance, assistance, protection and discernment. And Holy Ghost to help you to study what you need and retain it! Best Wishes!
    LoveTaper89, ICUman, gerbilqueen, and 8 others like this.
  9. 0
    Quote from IanTeig1982
    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!

    -ICT
    Unfortunately only you can determine whether or not this will work out for you. In my opinion, it's best to keep work hours to a minimum but I too understand that this cannot always be done. For my first semester I did not work for the first half but for the second half I went back to work part time on the weekends. It was tough for me and my grades fell but I had to do it and I still passed. Second semester I didn't work and my grades were great but I was broke. For this upcoming semester I have to work. You just have to be very organized and try to stay ahead with your studies. Do not get behind because it's very hard to catch up even without working. I'm not sure how intense your program is but several students in my ADN program that started out working full time have either cut down hours or quit their jobs. I'm just trying get to tell you how it is, and I'm not trying to tell you what you should or should not do because only you can make those decisions. I just hope you make the best one for you. Good luck!
  10. 0
    SHOULD it be done? No.

    CAN it be done? Yes.

    Can it be done by YOU? only you know.

    People have successfully made it all the way through medical school while working full time. It will make your school work twice as hard and you will have to study three times as hard. Not everybody can stand up under that kind of pressure.
  11. 12
    It worked fine for me, less than fine for others. Unfortunately, the uniqueness of the nursing curriculum makes it difficult to predict future success, regardless of how well you perform traditional college work. But plenty of people have done exactly what you're doing and emerged just fine on the other side. I managed to work two jobs during LPN school, and I'm working full-time as an LPN as well as an A&P tutor as I work on my RN (taking 18 credit hours per semester). Beyond the obvious, a few of the special things I did were:

    1. I do NOT do schoolwork at home. I remove myself from the distractions and set up shop at the campus library, or if it is after hours, a local Dennys (I practically have a booth on reserve). Having a place where I can focus for a couple hours beats spending 8 frivolous, unfocused hours at home.

    2. I keep a strict schedule. I DVR my TV shows to watch on a certain day. I get up at the same time, study at the same time, go to bed at the same time.

    3. I became a tutor. I know this doesn't work for everyone, but helping other students challenged and motivates me to master the material. Holding or leading study groups is wonderful, especially if you select a couple of students who are academically weaker and need your help.

    4. Flashcards. You can keep them in your pocket at work and shuffle through them during downtime.

    5. I hold myself to a higher standard, and I'm damn proud of it. I'm not a nineteen year old with zero financial responsibility (kudos to you folks fresh out of high school, I can't imagine having so much discipline at your age). I expect myself to be older, wiser and more focused than my younger peers, and I strive for the highest grade in the class. I'm a competitive person, and I try to use it to my advantage. I know that we're all designed differently (different strokes for different folks), but fighting for the top grade keeps an element of excitement alive while I'm in grindmode.

    Good luck to you. If you're already the sole breadwinner and are working hard for the sake of your family, this is totally within your reach.
    brs_2010, gerbilqueen, cwjona2, and 9 others like this.
  12. 1
    I was accepted into nursing school and I'm about to do the same thing at age 39. I discussed it with my employer and they support me. I have a family, and they are behind me. I try to talk myself out of this every day, but I just have to do this...it's what I want to do. I may have given up on school when I go to bed, but when I wake up I'm ready to go again.

    I'm trying not to think about the big picture too much. I'll take each semester one at a time and follow the plan. I'll probably have to take a work hiatus to finish my last year due to the heavy clinical load so I'll be saving up to prepare.

    I just don't care what anyone else says, I have to try. It helps to see that others have made it.
    Yvonne2014 likes this.
  13. 13
    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.

    Good luck!!

    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.
    futuresctRN, brs_2010, yikesy, and 10 others like this.


Top