Working in Nursing School--is it possible?

  1. Hi All--

    I'm posting on behalf of a friend. She's in her mid-20s and has been putting herself through community college pre-req classes by working midnights and taking 10-12 credits per semester.

    She'll soon tranfer into an accredited college where she'll go through a traditional three-year nursing program. She's had a hard time saving up for this and is concerned about having to take out loans for living expenses on top of loans for tuition and books. She doesn't have family who can help her financially and is wondering whether she will be able to work during this period. Scholarships and grants will cover some of her school expenses, but she needs to bring in at least some money for the basics: rent, food, etc. She also wants to avoid being in a big debt hole when she graduates.

    Is working during nursing school possible, or is the curriculum so intense that it precludes work? Also, at what points can nursing students start utilizing some of the skills they've picked up in school to earn a decent wage in a health-care environment?

    My friend's working very hard and I know she'll make it, but any insight you might have would ease her mind and be a big help. Thank you!
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  2. 38 Comments

  3. by   traumaRUs
    It is possible, though not fun! BTW - I love your name - I remember the Pachinko parlors in the Far East!
  4. by   raynefall
    Quote from Pachinko
    Is working during nursing school possible, or is the curriculum so intense that it precludes work? Also, at what points can nursing students start utilizing some of the skills they've picked up in school to earn a decent wage in a health-care environment?
    Yes working during nursing school is possible. I know many students and nurses who have worked their way through nursing school. It is however, very difficult and there may be many sleepless nights, but if your friend wants it and has no choice but to work then it can certainly be done.

    Around where I live, after the second clinical semester is completed the student can work as a CNA. I've also heard in some colleges after the first year the student can take the LPN boards and work as an LPN but I don't know how common that is.
  5. by   AmyLiz
    Most folks I know are working while going thru school. Some are working in healthcare as CNAs, PTCs, dialysis techs, CMAs, etc...some are working non-healthcare jobs. In this day & age it seems that most folks can't put their income on hold while going to school, so your friend will probably be in the majority. It'll be hard, but she'll be able to do it. I've seen many people succeed!
  6. by   Shamrock
    I'm living, walking, talking proof that, yes, it can be done. Is absolutely no fun, but can be done. The people I admired in school were the ones in school. working and with kids at home!!
  7. by   Energizer Bunny
    I am struggling with this as well. I have three children under five and am trying to do everything I can to NOT have to work. I have support from my hubby but I am not sure it would be enough to handle mommyhood, working and full time school (mine is a very intensive 2 year program and I have to do it in two years to qualify for state childcare aid). *sigh* It's too bad that there isn't more help out there for us aspiring nurses considering the shortage.

    Kim
  8. by   Lasoniamacaroni
    Hi! I just started the nursing program last Thursday and am scared to death about working while in school, although I think it will give me something to dwell on besides being a student. I recently quit my 9-5 job 40 hours a week and am now waiting tables at a restaurant. I absolutley hate it, but the thing is that I am working about 13 hours a week and bringing home the same amount of money. It's working out great. I plan on busting my behind this summer with my 13 weeks off and saving every penny I can just in case I have a some stressful weeks and can't work. If your friend has the means, I would highly suggest waiting tables. I wish her luck because it is very scary trying to balance the 2 things, but necessary in this day and age.
  9. by   purplemania
    I did it. Worked for MD's M-F, 8-5. Went to school T & Th from 5:30-8pm then did clinicals on Sat. Hard, but it can be done. It is impt. to have all the pre-reqs out of the way (some schools let you start nursing school if MOST of them are done). Your friend will not have a life during nursing school, but it is worth it in the end.
  10. by   newgrad2004
    I agree with Lasoniamacaroni, Im proof that waiting tables is probably one of the best ways to do it. I go to school m-th, and work fri/sat nights and sunday day. The money I earn in each night is as much as a 12 hr shift as a cna, so I choose not to do the perdiem CNA job I have. I do the CNA job on holidays when I want to make extra money. But having my foot in the door at a hospital helps too. They give scholarships, and pay for a lot of other things like my NCLEX review course. I am committed to the hospital, but I can buy my way out of the contract if I want, or another hospital can buy me out. Our hospitals have a loan forgiveness program and pay up to 200 or 250.00 a month towards loans so Im not worried about those.

    But a lot of hospitals and even my instructors have told me food servers are some of the best nurses because they have to prioritize and are centered on customer satisfation.

    So I say keep up the food serving, it has gotten me through this, along with grants, scholarships, and loans.
  11. by   newgrad2004
    Oh did I mention I have 2 kids and a husband who is unemployed. It can be done trust me.
  12. by   hhrn
    undefinedI went to school, had to girls that were under the age of 4 and worked full time as a bartender/waitress(more money than any non RN position I could get). My husband was on disability so I had to work. Even though we all lived in the same house I would go 2-3 days w/o really seeing my kids. It was soooo hard but so well worth it. Been an RN for 8 years now and very happy good luck to your friend!
    Quote from Pachinko
    Hi All--

    I'm posting on behalf of a friend. She's in her mid-20s and has been putting herself through community college pre-req classes by working midnights and taking 10-12 credits per semester.

    She'll soon tranfer into an accredited college where she'll go through a traditional three-year nursing program. She's had a hard time saving up for this and is concerned about having to take out loans for living expenses on top of loans for tuition and books. She doesn't have family who can help her financially and is wondering whether she will be able to work during this period. Scholarships and grants will cover some of her school expenses, but she needs to bring in at least some money for the basics: rent, food, etc. She also wants to avoid being in a big debt hole when she graduates.

    Is working during nursing school possible, or is the curriculum so intense that it precludes work? Also, at what points can nursing students start utilizing some of the skills they've picked up in school to earn a decent wage in a health-care environment?

    My friend's working very hard and I know she'll make it, but any insight you might have would ease her mind and be a big help. Thank you!
  13. by   Lasoniamacaroni
    Newgrad:
    you said you are a CNA per diem. How did you go about that? That sounds like a good idea to have a back up job when you have the time available. After what point in school did you have that opportunity available to you? Was it after a specifice clinical? I am definately going to check into that. Thanks for the idea. You are soooo right about the nursing/waitressing thing. I can multi-task like no other and still make 20% on each table. I just don't like the sidework. I swear, if I scoop out one more sour cream or tartar....
  14. by   manna
    I used to wait tables before I had kids and loved it, made great money. I'm hoping I can find another waitressing job when/if I go to school this year (and leave my desk job).

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