**advice please**nursing school with 3 kids (2 with special needs)


I just posted this same question on the intro feed because i didn't see this category...but hello, my name is Lissa and I have kind of been going down this road for quite a while and have been so stressed about what to do. I have have wanted to become a nurse for as long as I can remember, but i got married and had 3 kids before I attempted to pursue my education. I now have an 8, 7 and 5 year old. My 2 youngest have special needs and dealing with their challenges has really pushed me even more to get back into nursing school. I was in nursing school and my husband joined the military so i had to put it on hold.. We are now in a new state with no family close by to help out with the kids. My husband is very supportive in what i want to accomplish but because he is military, he has his obligations and cannot help out as much as he'd like. What i want to know is as far as the time i will physically be away from home for class and clinicals and all of that good stuff...is it doable without having to put my children in daycare. They will all be in school a full day come this fall and i was hoping this would be a good time to pursue getting back into nursing school. I have heard that school days are long from 8 to 8 monday through friday but I dont know if these people were exaggerating or not. I know that the work is no joke and I am prepared for that. I just want to know if it is possible or not. TIA!


205 Posts

The school, if it's a college, should be able to tell you exactly how many hours per week you have in lecture, clinicals, and sim labs. If it's a diploma school (Pennsylvania still has those), or a trade school, then their schedules can be much more random/variable, and can tie up enormous amounts of time, or may chop up your day into 1.5 hours morning then you have 2 hours off and then another 2.5 hours in the afternoon so that although it looks like only a 4 hour day, it's really ALL day because of the way the school chopped things up with dead time in between.

Then regardless of what school, keep in mind that there might be optional things like exam reviews that are held some hours after the exam finished, so again, you wind up hanging around the school another 2-3 hours to get done what you want to get done. Or, you are assigned a group project and you have to stay extra time to work with your group to get it done.

One college program I looked stated it has 5 hours lecture per week, 2 hours sim labs, and 9 hours clinicals for the Nursing I semester. That was per their official course description in the college catalog. But the diploma RN school that I parted ways with wanted to tie up ALL YOUR TIME, all day, every day, just like when nurses resided on hospital premises and were used as hospital labor. We had lectures 8am-11:30 at least 3 if not 4 days per week, afternoon lectures 12:30 - 2:30 or 3 on 1-2 days per week, hospital IT system training classes (at least 2 per semester) that were 1/2 day to 2 full days each, several 2 hour sim lab sessions, and then by week 5 or so we had also added 4-5 clinical hours per week plus some travel time to them. And, the schedule was very, very complicated, because all of those clinicals, sim labs, and IT sessions were rotations that the cohort had to rotate through. That diploma school had a highly variable and complicated schedule to follow, and imo, that adds 100% to the stress level. Pick a school that can tell you frankly and exactly how many hours you will be spending where and doing what, and when. Some of those RN schools are living in the past, and are not set up for today's students who must work their way through school, or who are mature adults with adult responsibilities and other demands on their time that can't be ignored. That diploma school I went to is what I'd call a "kid's school." Much of the hours of lecture were just a wast of time. We could read it and study it from a book. Didn't need to hear 8 hours of yapping lecture.


273 Posts

Specializes in Hospice + Palliative. Has 4 years experience.

I hate to be a downer, but in my opinion there's no way to be successful in nursing school if you have a partner who is not available often, you have no family/friends to help, and you want to completely avoid daycare/aftercare for your kids. I'm not aware of any programs that keep strictly kids' school hours. My program is considered "parent friendly" in our area, and our classes are generally during regular kids' school hours...but we've got labs that run till 5 or 6, orientation days that are even later, and other random stuff. Plus, there's lots of days we're in session that the kids are off. For our clinical days we're required to be available from 6am-10pm; we're not in clinical that whole time but the school reserves the right to schedule us anytime within that frame. In addition, it will be very, very difficult for you to succeed if you don't have people who can give you some kid-free time so that you can study.


205 Posts

adding: I don't have children. Actually, for the peds and mother-baby and labor-delivery stuff, I think NOT having children and not ever having been exposed or interested in that stuff was a disadvantage for me. I had to learn it all from scratch, and it was very time consuming to do so. Other adults in my class, particularly mothers (but there were at least 4 or 5 fathers in there) breezed through all of that material and also the clinicals because they had already lived it. Many of them were quite good at nutritional guidelines for care plans, etc. because they had all of that already committed to memory from using is so much for family, vs. me who had to go look it up at least 1/2 of the time.

In RN school, "time = money" (haha) or at least time saved = time saved! :-)

There was one woman with three children at home, boys, and probably close to ages 12, 11, and 9 or so, if I had to guess. She complained of not having any time to spend with her children, and her husband having to do all of the childcare and taking kids to sports, etc. But, again, a huge part of that problem was due to the excessive amount of time that the diploma school took up with those all-day droning lectures. Because, we students STILL had to put in another 5 or 6 hours nightly studying, writing papers, writing care plans, and doing online computer sims and such in our time away from school. It was truly relentless. Even I came to hate that school after a year of it. Just too much blatant inefficiency all of the time.

So, best advice ai can give you is to grill the schools, and also track down some of their recent grads so that they can tell you what really went on. And also what units or modules or clinicals or whatever were the huge time-suckers.


260 Posts

It depends on a few factors, but I would say it will be extremely difficult without proper child care. My classes and clinicals have frequently either started before my daughter needed to be at school, or gone well past time she gets out. 12hr clinical days are not unheard of in nursing programs, normal 8hr days being more common. This semester I actually have evening clinicals, so I will leave just before my daughter gets out of school, and not be home till well past her bedtime 2 days a week. Many programs don't offer much flexibility in clinicals, some do but not many. We also are not allowed to miss clinicals, we can miss 1 and make it up, but if we miss a second we can be dismissed from the program. Whether it be a friend, or daycare you will definitely need dependable child care, and a back up.


4 Posts

Thank you so much for your input. I know there will be days here and there where the schedule will be crazy, but as far as regular scheduled class time, i was looking to see if it were possible to get it done while my kids are at school. unfortunately, i have run into issues with daycare because they cannot provide the needs for each of my kiddos. My issue is not the issue of having kid free time to study, its that my husband gets off about 2 to 3 hours after my kids get out of school and if i'm in class at that time then we have a major issue that needs to be resolved. There is no issue of him giving me my "me" time..when it comes to that he is amazing. Someone just mentioned to me to look into respite care for my 2 special needs kiddos. i've never heard of this so hopefully i can get some good information about in home child care through their program for special needs children. again, thank you all so much for your input. I am going to speak with an adviser at the school in the morning and see what they tell me! Hopefully it is doable!

traumaRUs, MSN, APRN, CNS

164 Articles; 21,189 Posts

Specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU. Has 31 years experience.

Since you have Tricare, see what Tricare can offer you as to home care for your two special needs kids. It might be a covered expense. Do your kids have medical needs that require an RN/LPN during the time they are in school?


490 Posts

I have 2 kids at home, both have behavioral issues and diagnosed disorders. My fiance works crazy hours and can't leave work to pick up kids if it comes up. I found 3 stay at home moms through our school to babysit and run back up. It's expensive but it will do until I get through school. It's hard but you can find a way. Try care.com or see if your town has a Facebook yard sale page. That's how I found childcare. Good luck! You've got this :)


400 Posts

My classes for example are Tuesday and Wednesday 830-430 and clinical is Thursday and Friday 7-3. I believe they are reasonable hours but I suppose it's what hours your children are in school. Good luck!! Hope you can make it work!