To work or not to work while in nursing school?

  1. Hi all-
    I'll be starting nursing school this fall, and I'm curious how it will be looked upon when I start looking for a nursing job in a little over 2 years but don't have any healthcare related work experience??? It seems like most of the nurses and nursing students I know worked as either patient care technicians or student nurse assistants while in nursing school. I'm a mom of a toddler and my husband is also preparing for nursing school while working full time+, so working does not appear to be a very practical option for me while in nursing school. Will this be a mark against me when I start looking for a job or do new grads get hired easily without having health care related experience? Thanks much for the input!
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    About momma&nurse2B

    Joined: Feb '07; Posts: 24; Likes: 2


  3. by   futurecnm
    I am a stay at home mom of 2 and in my first year of nursing school. Many of my classmates do work in health care and so I am a little worried as I do think they have an edge over someone who has no experience. However, I got a summer intern position which I think will help me out. It will be really hard with the childcare but I decided the opportunity was too good to pass up. I also hope to do something VERY part time during my 2nd year (I will have one child in school every day and one in school every other day). I am looking into some places that let you self schedule and also possibly home health care or another flexible option. If I don't find anything I will most likely do some volunteer work a few times a month at a hospital or nursing home so I have that to put for some experience. I also know someone who has not worked at all through nursing school and is graduating next month who has a job offer with no problems. So, it isn't like it will be impossible to get a job. You also have to look at it practically and you also need time to study. I sometimes wonder how those who work full time do it all!!! Especially those with kids! We had one girl who did work full time, 3 kids, fail out 1st semester so she probably had too much on her plate at one time.
  4. by   Spidey's mom
    I'm hoping you get alot of help here on allnurses because I know for a fact that many of us had NO medical experience prior to nursing school.

    I myself had none - and I got a job prior to graduating.

    It is certainly doable - very doable. Don't worry.

    I've been a nurse almost 10 years now. Amazing . . .

  5. by   anne74
    It's pretty easy to get a job in nursing once you graduate - even without work experience. I wouldn't worry about that.

    Having work experience does help you in your first year of nursing, however. You just don't get enough clinical experience in school. You'll be shocked and how unprepared you'll feel in your first year. But that happens for everyone. Work experience is also nice in learning which areas you want to work in. Also, in my hospital, the new grads with work experience got paid a little more. Not much though - like $.50 an hour.

    I was in an accelerated program where we were encouraged to not work since it was so intense. But I worked as a student nurse for 8 hours a week. It was a nice supplement to my school clinicals.

    If you think it's too tough to work, then don't worry about it. Just concentrate on school. That's hard enough. But if you can squeeze in a few hours, that's helpful too.
  6. by   Indy
    I think it depends on the type of work you might be doing. If it will help you clinically and not take up too much time when you need to be studying, then it should be okay. Everyone is different and has different needs for studying in nursing school. I finagled my finances, and my financial aid, etc. to where I didn't work during school and it helped me immensely; it seemed to take all my time just to do the reading, let alone remember what I read. It wasn't easy but it worked for me. I graduated with no money, no debt, and got a job with no problem.

    Some of my classmates worked either nights or weekends, some of them evenings with the ability to change their schedules every quarter depending on when the clinical days were. They also graduated, so you just have to do what suits you best.
  7. by   momma&nurse2B
    Thanks everyone for the helpful advice! I guess I should have added that my husband works urgent every evening and Saturdays and is often gone on weekends with the National in the sense of the fact that I'm responsible solely for my daugther's care Monday-Saturday, I'm very much like a "single mom" for most of the week. (I don't know how true single moms work while attending nursing school...props to them.)

    I like the idea of working/volunteering during the summer since my ADN program will not have any classes at that time. That would allow me to get some experience without jeopardizing my studies or missing out on too much time with my daughter.
    Thanks everyone!
  8. by   Roy Fokker
    5 days of the week, I scrubbed toilets and mopped up the dormitories.

    I washed dishes 12 hours straight each shift on weekends.

    Those two jobs taught me TONS.
    At the very least, they taught me "interacting with people" and "managing your tasks with the time you've been allocated".

    All responsible jobs teach something. You just need to look at it the right way

  9. by   ranchwife
    I, too, am facing the prospect of working and going to school at the same time! I, however, have no choice. My husband is a self-employed rancher and my job is the one that provides the health insurance coverage on myself, the hubby and the 3 kids at home!! Yes, I would much rather take the next 2 years off from work and concentrate entirely on my studies, but the hubby was diagnosed with a heart condition last november (at the age of 40!!), so trying to get new coverage once I am back working would be dang near impossible!!
    I very much agree with the others....You should have NO trouble finding work when you are done with schooling!! Many of the "newbie RN's" that I have helped train at our little hospital have had NO experience in the health care field, either!!! Yet, they have done just fine!!! Good luck to you and keep us posted on your progress!!
  10. by   chuchie
    I work nights right now and it really works out well for me. Some colleges have evening/weekend classes available for working individuals, but these are the classes that get filled up the fastest so working and then going to school in the morning so far is doing just fine. If you want to look for work that will be flexible for your schooling look into home health agencies, they are usually in desperate need for PCAs to come and take care of people in their homes and will try to be accommodating to your schedule. You would also be gaining some experience working with the elderly/disabled and if you work evening/nights there you can work on your homework while you are working so this is a win/win situation. If you want to work in a hospital or nursing home you will need to go through the proper training to become registered in your state, but this might be worth it if they have the benefits of reimbursing you for your tuition for either your Nursing assisting schooling and possibly your RN/LPN training so look into it! How much you want to work is up to you, just make sure that you are making a realistic schedule for your own needs so you are not getting really stressed out.
  11. by   ann945n
    I would recommend not working while in school if you can afford not to, focus on your studies and keeping your home together, you will have no problem finding a job, you will have 2 years nursing school experience
  12. by   Cobweb
    Believe it or not, being a mom teaches you a lot of nursing skills you will be able to apply right away If you have cleaned diarrhea and vomit, waited at the doctors with a screaming baby with the earache, tried to organize your play group while doing the laundry, cooking dinner, getting your husband set for work, and keeping the baby from playing in the toilet, you already have valuable nursing skills
  13. by   passion4life4alwayz
    i'm new. but i would just like to offer my opinion. (i'm a recent grad)
    in the beginning of nursing school, i did work and go to school full time. boy was it hard! i my oldest girl was young when i first started. then i took a break in the middle to have my baby girl and i tell you.. i tried to work with 2 kids and go to school it was hard!! so my second year, i just focused on school. thank goodness i have a supportive and very significant other. he has really stood by me.
    anyways, i wrote a book (sorry about that.)
    i wish you well in all that you choose to do... but i agree, if you can afford to concentrate on your school work... by all means, i would
    good luck to you!!
    big smiles :d
  14. by   incublissRN
    I had an easy, on campus job during the school year that allowed me to study during down time. It was my "fun" money. During the summers I worked as a student nurse. It was great experience and was enough money to help me make it through the school year in addition to loans.

    I had friends that worked as student nurses during the school year but I don't know how they managed to do that. It would have been too much for me to handle. I spent enough time studying and when I wasn't studying I tried to enjoy my free time!