working your way through NP school - page 2

Good Morning all! I was wondering....is it possible to work your way through NP school? and if you did it, how many hours per week/shifts per week were you able to work while maintaining your... Read More

  1. by   christvs
    I am a full-time NP student and I also work 24 hours/week on the 3-11 shift. I am getting all As in school and feel I really understand the material, but honestly, I am so stressed out at times. I wish I were a millionaire and did not need to work while in school, because it would be so much more enjoyable and my homework assignments would feel less rushed. Just my two cents.
  2. by   USC2001
    I worked 36hrs a week (nights) for the first year. When I started my clinicals I dropped down to 32hrs, which just those 4 little hours made a big difference in my sanity. However now that I am in my last semester and am doing clinicals all the time I just do 24hr. I have pretty much worked every weekend for the last 2 1/2 yrs. That is how most people do it in my class is by working all weekends. Good Luck!
  3. by   Mission
    My schools FNP program requires that you work because the director believes it's important that we continue to have clinical experience. Are you already in an NP program?
  4. by   traumaRUs
    I worked 40 hours a week (salaried position so in reality I worked about 45 hours). I didn't have a choice either, like most everyone.

    I wanted to address the need to study 3-4 hours per week for each credit taken: that might be what they want, but it was never what I could give. I go back to the adage that I really depended on the experience that I got as an RN. That helped tremendously - you already have the basics of assessments and labs down and then you just build on the basics.
  5. by   ICRN2008
    I just talked to the graduate advisor at my school last week. She said that many students choose to go through the NP program part-time (one or two classes at a time) while working full-time. A few others are full-time students and work a minimal number of hours each pay period. Working full-time and being a full-time graduate student is VERY unusual and only a select few students can handle it. All of the advisers I have spoken to strongly recommend against excessive work commitments.

    When it comes time for clinicals, my school's adviser said that many of the NP students take PTO or significantly cut back their FTE. There are some fellowships, grants and traineeships available for full-time students at many schools.
  6. by   prairienp
    Quote from traumarus
    i worked 40 hours a week (salaried position so in reality i worked about 45 hours). i didn't have a choice either, like most everyone.

    i wanted to address the need to study 3-4 hours per week for each credit taken: that might be what they want, but it was never what i could give. i go back to the adage that i really depended on the experience that i got as an rn. that helped tremendously - you already have the basics of assessments and labs down and then you just build on the basics.
    i understand the difficulty of working and contributing the expected study hours. i also understand the ability to build on the basics. i do not agree that most students have the basics to build on. students in a graduate assessment class are often clueless in what is included in a complete h&p, they can't write a good hpi, they don't know how to assess cranial nerves, ........ there is the rare student who has the ability to do complete exams and understand labs based on past experience, in the past 20 years i have not met one. my point is, 3-4 hours of study per credit during school will prepare a competent provider required for practice. working full time during school does not allow the np student to excel.
  7. by   traumaRUs
    Thanks for the input PrairieNP. I have always found your posts to be thoughtful and helpful. Thank you.

    All I can speak from is my own personal experience. I was not the brightest student in the class but did not feel I needed a 4.0 gpa either. I always focused on the assessment skills first because I still believe that with a good assessment, you can find a lot of information.

    I'm not saying that what I did was right for everyone. In re-reading my post though, I do need to clarify that I did an MSN first in management and leadership and then went back to do an APN certificate. So...I wasn't doing the MSN classes, just the advanced pathophys, advanced assessment and advanced pharm along with clinical time.

    However, I had no choice and wanted folks to know that it is possible to work and go to school. It is not fun. My husband was extremely supportive and for that I will always be grateful.
  8. by   christvs
    I know that we all work because we have to pay our bills, but I am seriously worried about how it's going to be for me next year in my program when I'm doing clinicals 2-3 days/week, classes 1 day/week, and then working 3 days/week. That to me is just nutty! I am getting all As in my NP program, but I really want to cut back my work hours next year because I want to focus on the new clinical skills I'm going to develop as an NP. But since I carry all the med/dental benefits for me and my husband, I don't know what else we could do because his job does not have benefits...and he needs good medical insurance (not the flimsy one my grad school offers) because he has diabetes. Why does life have to be so complicated? I've asked him now for us to think about how else we could do it, because I am already so tired and stressed out now...I can't help but worry how much busier i'll be next year. Anyone else in this situation?
  9. by   ERNP
    Trauma, I am like you... I never spent 3-4 hours per credit studying for anything. And being the highly competitive beast I am, I did want to get as close to the 4.0 as possible. Only made it to 3.96. I don't even think I ever spent 3 - 4 hours studying for a test.

    The worst classes for me were those little 2 credit courses that took up way more time writing papers than the 3 credit courses that I was truly interested in. That used to irritate me more than anything.

    As a matter of fact, for the actual classes and tests during the last year, I was able to rely greatly on my experience. I took only 1 day off per week during the last year. All the other days I was in clinicals, working, or in class. For me, I used to go to class and clinical all in the same day just to get the hours. Plus, I was doing the majority of mine in the ER and I didn't want to miss out on any opportunity that might occur in my absence.

    I saw my family again after graduation and on planned vacations. Once in a while I would steal the covers from my husband while we were sleeping, I knew he was still there because he stole them back.

    Sometimes, insomnia is a good thing.
  10. by   traumaRUs
    ERNP - wtg!
  11. by   yellow finch
    I am working FT (minimum of 36 hours per week) on weekend option plus some (just finished a 16 hour shift and will pick up more during the week) and am attending school FT. I have earned all A's so far and am almost halfway done with my FNP program.

    No, it's not easy. But I schedule myself and my family around school and work. I'm often tired and stressed out, yet take time out for myself. I have a goal and will not allow anything to get in the way of that goal. That's what it comes down to, basically.

    With clinicals this semester, I used PTO time and then made it up during other weeks. Next semester will be the biggest challenge... 225 hours of clinicals! Looks like I'll be putting in lots of time over Dec/Jan to compensate for the missing hours that are coming up.

    My advice is to not to let any obstacles get in the way of your goals. If you truly want to achieve this, you can. Think positively, plan out your weeks appropriately, and take this as a new challenge. It's worth it in the long run!
  12. by   traumaRUs
    Yellow Finch - I agree with you. It is not realistic for most of us just to quit work even though the "schools" say we should. Unless they want to pay my grocery bills, I gotta work like everyone else.

    I used my PTO time for my clinicals too and it worked out well.
  13. by   VivaRN
    I agree with both of you. I graduated with my BSN in Dec. 2006, started FNP program this Sept. I want two solid years of ICU under my belt... and coming up on a year I'm finding that I love my job, love nursing, and have grown tremendously since I began working as an RN. Working during school is not easy, especially with those around who are NOT working (& have never worked) and can over-achieve. Nothing wrong with that, but we get the same grades and I have a feeling that work experience is more valuable than a 20 pg. assignment that only needs to be 10. Classes feel like icing on the cake of the clinical foundation. I wish instructors were more understanding of those of us who have to work. I don't have time for a lot of "extra's" and I am tired and occasionally stressed. But that weekly patient contact, "saving lives", and opportunity to apply what I've learned in class... it feeds my soul. I couldn't live without it. I'm excited to start NP clinicals next semester and get out in the "real world." School at this point seems to be a lot of jumping through hoops. I want to see how it's really done :spin:.

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