What can I do to help a struggling student nurse??

  1. I work with a girl starting her first semester of an advanced nursing program (16mos). She absolutely has to work FT b/c she is a single mom (with deadbeat dad) with three children. She is having to do careplans almost nightly and leaving work to go to school and then picking her pts at 8pm for the next morning. Anyway, needless to say, she is sooo burnt out. She was sick this week, to boot.. As a fellow NS I can commiserate but I am not in an accelerated program, don't have kids with a deadbeat dad, and don't work FT.

    Anyway, I offered her any help with academic stuff and said if she needed a day off to let me know, because my schedule is much more open than hers. Unlike her, I have a supportive husband and am not financially hurting (although it's not growing on trees either). She was appreciative of the offer but did not seem too excited about giving away shifts b/c she needs the $$.

    Ok, my question is...how much can I really offer to help her? I thought about watching her kids, but I guess her mom helps her out there. Then I thought about working a shift for her, but letting her get paid for it. Is this crossing the line, I mean, would it be wrong to suggest that?? I don't know if she would accept, but this is the only way I can think to help her other than doing her homework for her????

    Any suggestions?
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    About Curious1alwys, BSN, RN

    Joined: May '04; Posts: 1,242; Likes: 288


  3. by   gr8rnpjt
    I think it is great that you recognize your friend's situation. It is tough.
    Are you including financial help? Because I think she would really appreciate a grocery gift card or certificate.
    That you want to help her is so great.
    Sometimes it is nice just to have recognition for what you do. Have you told her how much you admire her for her courage and ambition? That would be nice.
    If she is not too proud, maybe you could offer to help with Christmas gifts for the kids.
    Or just give her a gift certificate to the toy store to help offset her (Santas) expenses for the upcoming season.
    You are a good friend to want to help.
  4. by   lizmatt
    Maybe you could offer to take her kids somewhere fun for the day - like Chuck E Cheese / movies etc.

    I know when someone watches my kids for the necessary things - work, actual class etc - I find it hard to ask them to watch them when the time is for me to have time to myself to do something.

    She also may feel like her kids are being neglected in the process, so by offering to take them somewhere fun for the day - she'll get some much needed study time and she will also feel like her kids are getting to do something that there might not always be money/time to do.

    I don't know about the working for her thing - I think that one might be tough to accept.
  5. by   lizmatt
    Oh yeah - the Christmas gift card thing is an awesome idea - I know I have a hard time accepting help for myself... but when it comes to stuff for the kids - it is a lot easier.
  6. by   BSNtobe2009
    To me this is where women SHOULD apply for welfare and exactly where I want my taxes to go. Three kids and no support from the father, she can get a Section 8 housing voucher, and everything else would be free. She really needs to explore that option.
  7. by   rach_nc_03
    I know she's clearly crunched for time, but do you have any way to talk to her outside of work? sometimes people feel the need to keep their 'game face' on while they're at work, especially if they happen to be going through tough times. I know when I had some difficult issues in my personal life, whenever someone gave me some empathy or offered to help me in any way, i just about broke down and cried every time. I was wound up so tight to be able to function at work that I'd just lose it completely and blubber like a baby if I opened up to someone. She would probably *really* appreciate any help you offer, but isn't comfortable being that vulnerable at work.

    I don't know where you live, but maybe you could see if she wanted to go somewhere kid-friendly, but where the two of you can actually talk. A park with a playground, maybe? If you belong to a church, maybe there's an activity for children they can attend and the two of you can have a cup of coffee.

    Where I used to live, there was a Museum of Science that was mostly geared towards children, and it was free- lots of stuff for kids to play with. Parents would come and chat with each other while the kids were doing activities led by staff members- that way they could be in the room to keep the kids within sight, but able to carry on grown-up conversations.

    She might feel uncomfortable accepting something financial from you, but perhaps having a chance to spend a little time with you outside of work could help. At a minimum, she might just need a sympathetic ear.
  8. by   JentheRN05
    I think the christmas gift card is a GREAT idea. Make it to a place like walmart or Meijers some sort of super center so that she can get everything she needs at one spot. If she seems unwilling to accept aid. Find out her home address and mail her an anonymous card just saying 'thinking of you'. You are truly the kind of friend I wish I had, and wish I could afford to be Thanks for being there when someone needs it!
  9. by   CHATSDALE
    check on line for any scholarships /grants that she may be entitled to..many modes of getting money for car insurance, children clothes

    call legal aid and see if they can put some pressure on childrens father to step up to the plate

    any kind of state assistance for baby sitting, food stamps, rent assistance

    womens groups have or know of programs that are intended to help women like this

    this is the kind of women who cannot be left at the wayside, her childrens future is being shaped now, if she doesn't make it there are good chances that they won't either

    give her the card and try and dig out resources which are beyond your capabilites to help
  10. by   scizzerin
    Where I work, each Christmas, we all pitch in to get a 'care package' for one of us in need. We keep it confidential, and no one knows who's getting it, but everyone pitches in and votes who they think it should go to. In the past, we had grocery coupons, movie passes, massage & pedicure package, and Molly Maids. You are very kind to want to help, but I know (like the above poster) that sometimes it's hard to admit you need help. I hope everything goes well.
  11. by   fiveofpeep
    Quote from BSNtobe2009
    To me this is where women SHOULD apply for welfare and exactly where I want my taxes to go. Three kids and no support from the father, she can get a Section 8 housing voucher, and everything else would be free. She really needs to explore that option.
    When my mom was in nursing school her and her hubby broke up--stress from school but back together now....
    Anyways, she applied for welfare so she could take care of us while she was in school and we lived just fine. I think you should suggest that to her too but it is a tough subject.

    PS original poster seems like a very nice person with very good karma hehe. glad to see there are people like that out there
  12. by   santhony44
    I agree 100% that this is where I like to see the assistance programs working- this person won't need it forever and will pay back far more than she ever uses.

    If there is a Salvation Army in your area, it may not be too late for her to sign up for food and toys for her kids for Christmas. This is something else she might accept for her kids if not for herself.

    If she seems embarassed or reluctant to accept help, the anonymous gift idea can work quite well. Send a card with a gift card enclosed, leave an envelope with $10 or $20 in her locker, or even drop a $5 into her book bag on occasion. Even that little bit can help a lot when you are broke!

    If you worked for her you would probably not be able to have the facility give her the money, you would probably have to give it to her yourself, although that's a great thought.

    Maybe you can offer to help with her kids when she's really pressed for time, studying for a test or working on a paper or whatever. Have a movie night at her house or yours with a movie and popcorn. Depending on her kids' ages, have them over to make cookies- something to keep them occupied while she concentrates on school work.

    If she is reluctant to accept help, remind her that she can do the same thing for someone else when she gets through school and back on her feet. Anonymous works great, though!
  13. by   phoenix72
    Quote from BSNtobe2009
    To me this is where women SHOULD apply for welfare and exactly where I want my taxes to go. Three kids and no support from the father, she can get a Section 8 housing voucher, and everything else would be free. She really needs to explore that option.
    I couldn't agree with you more!!! My deadbeat step-brother gets foodstamps and he has no children and works! It's disgusting. I hope she gets all the help she deserves.

    I think offering to help with her kids is a great idea. I know that would be a relief to me. What about possibly taking some casseroles (sp) or reheatable meals? That saves her money and may give her some extra time to just be there with her kids. All in all, I'm sure she takes great comfort knowing that you see how hard it is for her and are willing to help.
  14. by   twinmommy+2
    I would include helping to make her a dinner perhaps one night a week or something, help clean her house, Or just sit with the kids while she studies.

    What a good friend she has in you