Full Time Nursing Student with a Full Time Job


Hey So I start nursing school in May, and I work a full time job as a CNA. The program frowns upon people who work full time jobs, and they discourage it. But I have bills that require me to work full time. I was thinking about switching to 3rd Shift...and studying at night when I'm at work. I have no kids, and I'm willing to give up my personal life, so my only two focuses will be school and work. Do you guys think it will work or will I be overwhelmed. And also what are some suggestions that will help me.

Pat_Pat RN

472 Posts

Specializes in ER, Med/Surg. Has 8 years experience.

It can be done. I did it.

After the first half of the first semester I didn't read in the books anymore. I just paid attention during the lectures and it stuck. I'm lucky I guess.

Now, I was no "A+" student, by any means, but "C=RN" and if you have to work while in school, learn to chant that over in your head.

I worked nights (3rd shift). Sometimes I would work a night, school that day, work that night (usually off the next day) but sometimes I did have school again. It helps to have a real good boss too.

Good luck to you!


38,333 Posts

I worked as a CNA at night while I went to school. I found out that I could not study at work because I was too busy doing my job. So don't count on being able to study much except for your half hour lunch break.

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

226 Articles; 27,608 Posts

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych. Has 17 years experience.

I did not work while attending an LPN/LVN program because I was an unemployed former factory worker living off unemployment checks and my personal savings. Fortunately, those 12 months of schooling passed by fairly quickly.

However, I worked full-time as an LVN while attending an RN bridge program and it was very much manageable. I worked 16-hour weekend double shifts as an LVN charge nurse in a nursing home every Saturday and Sunday while having Monday through Friday off to focus on school. Since I am single with no children, I was able to manage full-time schooling and full-time employment. I was financially comfortable while returning to school to pursue my RN license and things worked out for the best.

It is unreasonable for the people who run nursing programs to expect all students to cut back on employment. They should not assume that all students are so academically underprepared to the point where they will fail classes if they work full-time.


240 Posts

Specializes in Cardiothoracic ICU. Has 1 years experience.

I think if you can pass your classes while your work, then that's great for your experience as well as for your resume. I think a manager has got to respect someone who can do both full time work and school; meaning it will be easier to get a job when your done. Where i work, i would not be able to study at all, and it would be disrespectful to the other workers.

Specializes in cardiology/oncology/MICU. Has 3 years experience.

I worked full time as CNA while in nursing school. It was hard and I worked 12 hour shifts every weekend, but i did it and so can you. I just finally decided that if I wanted to be an RN, I had to get through school no matter what. I did not make all a's, but who cares I passed the NCLEX on the first try


157 Posts

I'm doing it right now. I work full time overnights and go to school during the day. Last year I worked the morning shift (7a-3p) and just worked opposite days of school. I was miserable because I am not a morning person and wasn't getting my homework done to my satisfaction. So I switched to overnights (11p-7a) this year and I LOVE it... Love the people I work with, so much more happy in life now.

In February I switched over 12 hour shifts... (7p-7a). Good thing is that I only work three days a week. Bad thing is that I can't really schedule anything else to do on my three days because I am so tired after my shift I have to sleep. Really bad thing is, I have to schedule it anyway. I found it manageable to work 11-7 and then go to school during the day. However working 7-7 and then going to school can be a killer. BUT... Even my mom commented that I seem much happier - even with less overall sleep. Who knew!

86toronado, BSN, RN

2 Articles; 528 Posts

Specializes in neurology, cardiology, ED. Has 5 years experience.

I managed to get full time pay during nursing school by doing two doubles (3p-7a) every weekend. Since my employer pays time-and-a-half for any hours worked over your regularly scheduled shift, I got paid for 40 hours a week even though I only worked 32. It was tough, but I did it. Only thing was since I was considered to be part time I had to drop health insurance. But it is do-able if you are willing to sacrifice having a social life of any kind!


1,024 Posts

Specializes in Peds Medical Floor. Has 12 years experience.

I did exactly that except I worked as an LPN FT while getting my RN. I didn't have kids and didn't see friends or family during the semester. I didn't get A's either but was happy with my C's. It is really difficult but it can be done!

Specializes in Med/Surg, DSU, Ortho, Onc, Psych.

I too worked and studied full time. It was absolutely exhausting but I did it.

I found that after work, if I studied every night - and every weekend - in small bursts, with breaks inbetween, study was doable. Ensure you make up a study plan, and stick to it NO MATTER WHAT! You have to have discipline when studying, it's like being in the army and having a plan of attack! And don't let yourself get distracted by people wanting you to go out. Try to make a plan that includes leisure time too, ie: for exercise, shopping, a special occasion where you need to go out.

It is really important that you understand what you are studying. Get the curriculum out and look at the learning goals for each subject or study package. You need to not go off on too much of a tangent when studying, keep re-focusing on what you need to know.

Learning extra info is OK, but you will overload yourself so be careful.

Also a wee glass of wine every couple of nights isn't going to hurt either ;)

ADD: I meant to say try buying groceries in bulk and cook things in bulk(and freeze them), so you are not wasting too much time cooking separate meals every day/night. Look for recipes to make quick & nutritious meals as well.

canesdukegirl, BSN, RN

8 Articles; 2,543 Posts

Specializes in Trauma Surgery, Nursing Management. Has 14 years experience.

ADAM-you got in?!?!? YAY!!!!

Try working perhaps 11p-7a and see if you can juggle that. If it is too much, cut back some. Your boss is supportive of your going to school, right?



157 Posts

Try to make a plan that includes leisure time too, ie: for exercise, shopping, a special occasion where you need to go out.

Absolutely. You have to make time for yourself. There are many weeks that I work/have school 7 days a week, for a few weeks on end. I always make sure that I make time for things like time with my horse, a pedicure... something nice for myself :)

Also wanted to add, you have to be really, really on top of your school work. I tried to stay at least a week ahead of myself, if not further. Super hard because I am procrastinator extraordinaire, but I don't have a choice but to be on top of everything right now.