working your way through NP school - page 3

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 agree with you guys that working while you're in NP school does keep you up to date with your patient clinical skills, I'm just saying I wish I could work per diem instead of my regular hours every week because we get sooooo much homework that's so time-consuming. I don't find my homework hard at all, it's just that I'm so tired all the time from either working, being in classes, or doing homework the rest of the time. I wish my husband's job had benefits so I could work per diem and be less stressed out. But oh well, what can I do? I'm getting all As in school, which is great. But I'm still so stressed out a great deal of the time. And I''m having marriage issues on top of it all, so that doesn't help. When it rains, it pours! I can't wait until Dec. 13-the last day of our semester. I really need a time out to breathe.
  2. by   traumaRUs
    christvs - I do feel your pain...I had to do a BSN, MSN, then post-MSN certificate and did it in 3.5 years of school full-time. It was not fun by any means as I had to work full-time also.

    What helped me was realizing that this was temporary and that I could get through it. Hubby helped tremendously and my kids were adults so that helped too.

    Now, though I reap the rewards of the school with much more respect, autonomy and money. So...keep your eyes on the future. It will get here.
  3. by   npingeorgia
    Hi,
    Yes, it 's possible to work full time and complete NP program. I worked full time and was able to get clinical time in but it was very time consuming and did require some planning ahead, like months at a time. Saving your PTO time is a great idea and I did some of that too, like I would take off a day here and there so I could squeeze in extra clinical time. I took advantage of a study abroad program that our school offered and packed in alot of clinical hours that way while also learning about another culture, but this did require taking PTO time off to spend 12 days in another country. The school I attended offered NP program every other weekend, so this was a little easier than having to be in class several days a week. The disadvantage was that I had to drive 3 hours every other weekend for this particular program, no choice , had to work. I worked 2 -12 hour night shifts a week for a total of 48 hours a payperiod and did 1 24 hour flight shift a payperiod to make a total of 72 hours in 2 weeks. The flight shift offered time to study when not out on a call, so this worked out great for me and also I was able to get 24 hours in one day not over 2. The trick to NP school is being very organized with your time and basically knowing that you will be doing something everyday,either work,school,clinical or combination of all. Good luck!!
  4. by   juan de la cruz
    Quote from np_wannabe
    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 sanity??

    I was just wondering if this was possible (I need that tuition reimbursement) or if I need to look into some other source of funding.

    TIA.
    I, along with all of my batchmates, worked at the same time we were going through our ACNP program. I actually worked full time during the first 3 semesters of the program but had to cut my hours down to part-time during the last three. And that's only because I had full time credit hours during the last year of my program as part of the requirements of an advanced nurse traineeship award I received from the university. So in a way, I was earning less but my tuition was paid for for the rest of the program. It was tough but definitely do-able!

    Our didactic sessions are in the evenings from 4-8 PM, 2 times a week. Working 12-hour shifts allowed me to take the day off during the days we have lectures. I also had to be extra nice to my manager so she would allow me some flexibility with my work schedule. Conflicts began when we had to juggle work and clinical rotation. I tried to save up all my vacation time (CTO's, etc.) so that I can take time off during the clinicals. In our ACNP program, we were in the hospital almost everyday for six weeks during each semester of clinicals so I basically used up all my vacation time for that.
  5. by   prairienp
    Quote from pinoynp
    i, along with all of my batchmates, worked at the same time we were going through our acnp program. i actually worked full time during the first 3 semesters of the program but had to cut my hours down to part-time during the last three. and that's only because i had full time credit hours during the last year of my program as part of the requirements of an advanced nurse traineeship award i received from the university. so in a way, i was earning less but my tuition was paid for for the rest of the program. it was tough but definitely do-able!

    our didactic sessions are in the evenings from 4-8 pm, 2 times a week. working 12-hour shifts allowed me to take the day off during the days we have lectures. i also had to be extra nice to my manager so she would allow me some flexibility with my work schedule. conflicts began when we had to juggle work and clinical rotation. i tried to save up all my vacation time (cto's, etc.) so that i can take time off during the clinicals. in our acnp program, we were in the hospital almost everyday for six weeks during each semester of clinicals so i basically used up all my vacation time for that.
    how do you (all those posting on the subject) explain your ability to work full time and attend school full time to your pa friends? pa students and graduates regularly complain how easy the np curriculum is because they can work during school. do you tell them that np school is quite easy or that you are just gifted? when does the student who is working full time able to absorb all the pertinent information required to be a practicing np? i am wondering if np programs are bending too much and for what purpose? we have an increased number of web enhanced courses, on line courses to ease the discomfort of the student. is this what we want?
  6. by   christvs
    Well I think that the NP students who work full time do so because they have to. They have families and need to be working a certain number of hours to get the bills paid. Simple as that. I am an NP student, and not a PA student, and I don't even know any PA students, so I cannot comment on what their program is like or why they work what they work. Everyone is different. But I can say with 100 % certainty that my NP program is tough, and very time consuming. I work part-time as an RN and go to school full-time, and although I am receiving straight As in all my classes, I still wish I could spend even more time absorbing my NP material. However, because of the need to work, it's just not going to happen. Unless we can somehow make each day longer than 24 hours that is! lol
    Last edit by christvs on Dec 5, '06 : Reason: I spelled word incorrectly
  7. by   prairienp
    Quote from christvs
    Well I think that the NP students who work full time do so because they have to. They have families and need to be working a certain number of hours to get the bills paid. Simple as that. I am an NP student, and not a PA student, and I don't even know any PA students, so I cannot comment on what their program is like or why they work what they work. Everyone is different. But I can say with 100 % certainty that my NP program is tough, and very time consuming. I work part-time as an RN and go to school full-time, and although I am receiving straight As in all my classes, I still wish I could spend even more time absorbing my NP material. However, because of the need to work, it's just not going to happen. Unless we can somehow make each day longer than 24 hours that is! lol
    Don't you think the PA students have to work also? They have over 2000 hours of clinical required. I am not suggesting your program isn't tough, but don't you wonder about those who work Full-Time. I have numerous PA friends, they wonder why we have it so easy. Since both do the same thing after graduation (well almost) one of us has something wrong. Either we are too easy or they are too hard. This is from a FNP with over 20 years of practice, who at one time thought NPs were very superior to PAs (I no longer believe this)
  8. by   christvs
    I don't really know how my fellow NP students manage working full time and going to school full time. But I give them credit for doing so if that is what they have to do to pay for food, and pay for their bills. I cannot comment on what life is like for PA students because how do I know what their program is like, how many days a week they are in classes and for how many hours, etc? Plus I would imagine that each PA program is a little different, just like each NP program is a little different. I know in my NP program, that in the first year (which is what I am in now) all the classes are on Wednesdays only, from 8 AM-8 PM. So that is how the full time working RNs do it-classes are only once a week but is still full time school, and so they have many days left in the rest of the week to go to work and study. But that is only my NP program. I have no idea how other NP programs are, never mind PA programs. To be honest, I don't care what PA programs are like, because that is not what I am interested in becoming. I am not going to compare who is better, who is smarter, who we think works harder, because that is such a trivial thing to do. I bet we all work hard, no matter what we are studying to become. I have nothing but respect for PAs and also for NPs and also for MDs. But we all have slightly different roles, different schools, etc. Who cares to sit here and compare every last detail of every single type of program and profession? I am happy studying to become an acute care NP and know I am working hard and understanding the material I am learning and am doing well in the program and that is what matters to me. Isn't that what we should all be concerned about-how we are doing ourselves and not waste time worrying about who is better or who works harder?
  9. by   juan de la cruz
    Quote from prairienp
    how do you (all those posting on the subject) explain your ability to work full time and attend school full time to your pa friends? pa students and graduates regularly complain how easy the np curriculum is because they can work during school. do you tell them that np school is quite easy or that you are just gifted? when does the student who is working full time able to absorb all the pertinent information required to be a practicing np? i am wondering if np programs are bending too much and for what purpose? we have an increased number of web enhanced courses, on line courses to ease the discomfort of the student. is this what we want?
    pa students come from a diverse background with many not even having any health or medical-related career prior to applying to pa school. their program prepares them to be a generalist - all branches of medicine are covered in their training. that, to me, is the reason why their program requires full time commitment.

    np's, on the other hand come from a nursing background. we have already been exposed to medical practice during our role as nurses. in addition, our np programs are focused on a specialty. in my acnp program, our focus is on the acute and critically ill adult. we have no exposure to psychiatry, pediatrics, or women's health. that takes a large bulk of learning content out of the equation as far as the difference between our training and theirs. lastly, the students in my acnp program have significant icu and er backgrounds. we know quite a bit of medical concepts in acute care already because of our rn roles even before we started np school.

    i really don't see the point in comparing np and pa training in terms of which one is easier than the other. what i am certain about, however, is that many pa students would have had a tougher time going through the acnp program i went through.
  10. by   traumaRUs
    I agree with PinoyNP - PA and NP are comparable educational LEVELS, but not comparable educations.

    For instance, yes, I most certainly did work full-time and went to school full-time. Did this through LPN school, the ADN bridge, the BSN, the MSN and finallly the post-MSN certificate. I am not superman, nor am I some kind of genius. Like everything I have done in life - it takes prioritizing goals and being willing to not be the best of everything all the time.

    Actually, I work in a practice where we have PA's and NPs and me (CNS). Believe me, we all work hard. However, what I have found is that the PA's are clearly more focused on their one aspect of care...such as nephrology or orthopedics and don't feel comfortable in other areas: OB, peds, etc. I am a nephrology APN. However, with 10 years in a level one trauma center and 2 years in an ICU, I have no problem assessing med-surg, ER, ortho, etc..

    For me, that is what I have noticed is the difference. I do not claim one is better than the other - simply that our focuses are different.
  11. by   twalker
    I am in a NP program. It is actually my last semester, we are required to put in a lot of clinical hours. The instructors almost told us not to work and they also told us if we do work, they should never find out. They really "frown" on students that work their last semester. However, a lot of us have children along with bills. I work crazy hours on weekends, study like crazy at night, and pray often. It is basically doing what has to be done to survive.

    Good Luck!!!
  12. by   Dixiecup
    Quote from prairienp
    you must be quite gifted, most students would struggle. most graduate programs expect 3-4 hours of study time per week for each credit taken. with three classes at 2-3 credits each you would expect 18-36 hours of study time outside of class time each week. combined with a full time job + some you have: work = 48 class, time = 6-8 , study time= 18-36 resulting in at least 72 hours committed and as much as 92 hours every week. unless you live at work or school you need to add another 10 hours of transportation time every week. when do you see your family?
    i take 6 credit hours a semester and work full time and i am in no way gifted! the 3-4 hours of study per credit is slightly exagerated.

    my school advised me to take a leave of absence during two semesters that are "extremely heavey". who would pay my mortgage and buy my food!!

    i am concerned what i will do for clinicals. i work ltc and have two weeks vacation per year which cannot be accumulated. i guess i'll starve and have my house repossesed.
  13. by   tiredfeetED
    Quote from prairienp
    Don't you think the PA students have to work also? They have over 2000 hours of clinical required. I am not suggesting your program isn't tough, but don't you wonder about those who work Full-Time. I have numerous PA friends, they wonder why we have it so easy. Since both do the same thing after graduation (well almost) one of us has something wrong. Either we are too easy or they are too hard. This is from a FNP with over 20 years of practice, who at one time thought NPs were very superior to PAs (I no longer believe this)
    As a RN who is currently in a PA program I can tell you that it is close to impossible to work fulltime while in school. I do work perdiem as do the other RNs in my class during thanksgiving/xmas breaks. With such a demand on nursing it is easy to pick up a shift here and there. Majority of the rest of the class cannot work like this and rely on financial aid/loans. PA programs require alot of class/clinical time ~40hours week. Rotations such as surgery are busy days and inpatient rotations requires taking call nights at alot of programs.
    As I start my clinical year I have finally taking out loans since working will be very slim and the school likes there tuition. I had the option of doing a FNP online and working but wanted the route I am doing now and there are no regrets. Personally i believe it would have been tougher to do a online program and give alot of credit to those that go this route!
    Good luck!!

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