Balancing school, work, family



I am an ER nurse. I've been a RN for 8 years. I also fill in as a triage/rounding nurse for a cardiology group in the hospital.

I have been thinking a outing getting my NP for years but it never seemed like the right time and now I have a very busy toddler (16 months) and need to work about 28hrs a week.

looking back it would have been so much easier to go to school before now which makes me nervous it will only be harder later with more children.

im definitely nervous about it being possible to be able to work, spend time with our toddler, and go to school.... I don't mean it in a bragging way but school has always been fairly easy and I know NP school is very demanding so I don't at all think it is going to be a cake walk.

im just so torn ugh because we honestly came afford for me to just be PRN either... I'd love to hear some insights. I am looking for an online school.. I want flexibility and no travel with a little one.


1,871 Posts

Well with most programs you are going to have to travel 1-2 times at least for the duration of the program. In addition you will most likely need to find your own preceptors which is VERY difficult for most.This also leads to people traveling 2-3 hours just to get to an accepting site. On the facebook group people use to find preceptors there are literally hundreds of people who have had to sit out multiple semesters because they can't acquire them.

You also didn't mention which NP specialty. Most schools have flexibility but a go at your own pace, handing you preceptors and having no campus visits isn't going to happen.

You can expect to shell out at least 25K-60k for most programs when everything is said and done.


22 Posts

Going to nurse practitioner (NP) school requires a tremendous time commitment which will take time away from your toddler. Only you can balance the scales and decide whether or not the sacrifices you will need to make are worth the time away from your family. YES, you can go back to school (at any age) and get your NP. However, there is a price to pay because your focus is on school/papers/tests and not being able to simply relax and enjoy family time. With that said, I have precepted several female NP students who had both a FT job AND small children while attending NP school. If they could do it, you certainly can, however, you better have a supportive spouse/family.


1,116 Posts

I found a local state university that allowed me to go part-time...1-2 classes at a time. I was able to be a room mom, go on field trips, etc. I only worked 12 hrs per week in the ER but I could've worked 2 shifts a week.

What University did you attend?

I must clarify I meant no travel as in the programs that require you to do part of your work on the campus and part online.. I understand all program will have you visit twice usually for skills but I have found some programs have you attend for week at a time or multiple times each semester.

Specializes in Primary Care and ICU. Has 15 years experience.

Im an ICU. If you ever think its impossible please listen to what I do everyday, every week.

I work full time plus overtime 3-4 shifts a week.

My school is 2.5-3 hours away from my house - and I drive there every Thursday.

Im doing the BSN-DNP program in AGNP and its a four year program. I graduate next year.

I go to clinicals 12 hours a week.

I have two children (a four year old son and a ten month old son born while I was in the program. I gave birth last September via C-Section and went back to school a week later)

Im PREGNANT with my third son right now.

Im married and still cook and clean.

Its insanity, but I do take care of my family, spend a lot of time with them.

Trust me that you can adapt.

twinmommy+2, ADN, BSN, MSN

1 Article; 1,289 Posts

Specializes in ED. Has 18 years experience.

I am a mother of four children ages 14, 13, 13, and 9. Not as young as yours but just to provide my own example...

I work full time, perform overtime when I need it, and attend online class with George Washington University part-time for their BSN-DNP. We make time whenever able to do special things with the kids like going to a restaurant, movies, or swimming.

If its something you want bad enough you will find a way.

Jules A, MSN

8,863 Posts

Specializes in Family Nurse Practitioner.

What about waiting until your child is in school for full days? Clinical hours take up a fair amount of time but I didn't find the actual courses, with the exception of advanced patho difficult at all. My A&P was decades old so that is probably the reason and I know others who didn't find it very hard. Pharm was challenging but I loved it so not a problem. The rest was largely nursing fluff courses, a few exams and plenty of papers. FWIW before others start writing in about the crap programs I must have attended I went to a well known, highly respected state brick and mortar school as well as a brick and mortar private university for two NP specialty certificates.


1,116 Posts

The bottom line: if you HAVE to work, you can make it work. If you do not have to work as much, then don't...enjoy your kid and the luxury of having the time to sit and really soak it all in. I was fortunate that we did not need 100% of my income and honestly it was worth the small amount of student loan debt we incurred in order for me to be home more. The balance worked for us and I don't have any regrets. Waiting until they are school aged definitely has some advantages...most of my classes that were on campus (most of the early fluff classes were online or partially online even though it was a real state university) and the days I didn't have class I was super organized about dropping her at school and coming straight home to write papers and study. None of my clinical preceptors minded me leaving for the day at 3 or so to pick her up. I ended up probably going to clinical days more frequently to get my hours in, but that was no big deal.

If you ever get stressed about being a mom and juggling NP school, go to the blog "Mothers In Medicine" and read how surgical residents, med school students, etc. squeeze in being a mom..and then you'll realize we have it pretty easy in comparison.


306 Posts

Has 25 years experience.

i am currently in the midway point of my FNP program. I have two kids, a pre-schooler and a tween, both very busy.

until now, i have managed to work a VERY hectic 5 day position in an outpatient clinic and take 2 classes per semester, usually 6-7 credits. has been hard. HARD. i have to work to provide the benefits for my family. my husband's job provides for his only.

so i am leaving my 5 day position to go back into an acute care bedside position 3 shifts per week. pretty much everyone in my program works, most work 3 shifts per week. i was one of only 2 people in my program working a 5 day gig, and the other was not a FNP candidate, but was in the nsg mgmt option.

FNP school is fun but a lot of work. you totally CAN do it with little ones. it's all about making your schedule work, planning ahead, scheduling your week so you know exactly when you HAVE to do schoolwork, etc.