i am currently enrolled in an ADN program about to finish my first semester. I am in a position where right now, financially I do not absolutely need to have a job while in school. However, I am considering applying for a job as a Patient Care Assistant in a hospital just to try to get my foot in the door somewhere networking wise, so I have a better chance of getting hired as an RN when school is finished. Obviously, this will impact the amount of time I have to study and may affect my grades.
In your opinions, would someone like myself be better off not working and getting the highest grades possible or would I be better off taking a job with potential networking opportunities at the potential expense of lower grades? I do not have many inside connections in the Nursing world currently. I do wish to get my BSN, which is necessary for many jobs, so I need to get accepted into a program after school. As it stands now, I do not have plans to go for my MSN or DNP after that, but that is pretty far down the road either way. Thank you in advance.
Depends on what kind of student you are - I know people that work part time (around 20hrs a week) and still make awesome grades. I work 2 days a week and I'm still making A's, but it's tough - I don't have a social life at all, and what little time I do have is spent in my books.
Do what you feel you can manage; if you're usually a good student and pick things up quickly, you might find that working 1~2x a week may be okay. If you struggle, then you might need that extra time to study.
I'm 4 weeks away from graduating from my ADN program. I had to work full time while in school (40 hours/week), which meant my two days off were spent in class and at the hospital. A's in my program are very hard to come by and I did pretty well. I made a very high (78-79) C in one Med/Surg and one OB/Peds. Other than that, I've made all B's. I had a very high GPA entering the program, so my GPA is still well above a 3.0.
I also have a 4 yr old son and a pregnant wife at home. If I were single it would've been a breeze.
Quote from Mikespeese
In your opinions, would someone like myself be better off not working and getting the highest grades possible or would I be better off taking a job with potential networking opportunities at the potential expense of lower grades?
Because of that question, I wouldn't recommend working.
There's huge benefits to working in healthcare while you're in school. But since you don't have to, and you honestly feel that it can be that much of an effect on your grades, I'd hold off until that question turns into you saying that you can handle a job while you're in school. You're probably going to go way overboard on studying, and you're going to need that extra free time.
I'd wait on a job until you learn that it doesn't matter how many hours you study in a week, and that all that matters is how efficiently you study. Once you understand that, then think about working, because until then, nursing school is probably going to be too hard.
I worked as a PCA in a nationally renown trauma ICU while in my BSN program, while also raising a toddler and then becoming pregnant with and giving birth to another along the way. I graduated with a 4.0 GPA and got a spot in very competitive new grad ICU nurse residency spot.
I should also mention that my marriage suffered, my hair began falling out in handfuls, and I thought I was going to have a nervous breakdown at one point. So my advice is always to pick a priority or two and do your best at those. Trying to do all and be all may work for some of those folks who are not mere mortals, but if you are vulnerable when really stressed, pick your battles and let the rest fly.
It really depends on a lot of things, such as:
1. How many hours/week would you be working?
2. Are you a good student?
3. Do you have other demands on your time (such as kids)?
4. What is the job market like in your area?
In short, if you are a good student and can get a job that will involve only 1 or 2 shifts per week that would have only a little impact on your time, then you can probably handle it. It might help you land a better job in the specialty of your choice (if that is the nature of your job market.) In a case like that, I would recommend getting a job.
However, if you struggle to get good grades now and the only jobs you could get would involve several hours per week, then the benefit you might get from the job might not be worth the risk you would be taking with your grades. If that is the case, I'd recommend focusing on school and not taking a job.
But I can't tell from your post what the exact situation is.
If you don't need the job and feel sure that your grades will suffer if you pick up another commitment, don't take the job. You cannot become a nurse if you do not pass your courses and graduate, period.
I give you the advice I wish someone would have given me when I was a ADN student. Join a nurse professional association of your interest and attend local chapters events. Meet other professionals who share your interests. Serve on a committee. It is so true it's who you know not what you know.
I agree with them^ I'm haven't started nursing school yet, but as someone who has worked full time and went to school almost full time (10 credits vs the 12 that are full time) for the last 2 years, along with being a single mom of five-I will agree, it totally depends on YOU. Only you can possibly know what you can handle. If you think you can't do it, then don't. Or, wait until you have the hang of things after the first quarter or two and decide then. That way you'll know how badly your needed study time will be impacted. I know so many people who don't think they could handle what I did, yet I did it with little problem and still made time for fun. Nursing school is an entirely different ballgame, so I've changed my schedule to very part time to start with (I'm already employed where I'm staying for the time being and they're being extremely flexible), with the ability to get as many extra hours as I feel comfortable with. Perhaps you could try for per diem?
It all depends on how rigorous your program is and how well you succeed at it. My first term in my program, our director asked a few second year students come in and answer any questions we might have about the program and share some tips. Two of the three second year students had failed out their first year due to working too much (in their own words). My program is very difficult, average test score is about 84. I work Per-Diem, which might be a good option if you can get one. I work holidays and then can call staffing to fill in shifts on weeks that my study burden isn't as high. BSN is a great goal, but you have to get through the ADN program first so that should be your first priority. Especially if you're not having to worry about paying for food and rent.
I'd recommend that between semesters, take the VARK online, and get an idea of your learning style. Then read on how to study for that style of learning, and combine that with what's worked for you in the past.
Here's the thing about real life: a lot of us don't have a choice about whether or not we work full time. We either do it or we're homeless. And we're getting through school. If you talk to nurses, you'll find a ton of them that worked full time through school, some probably graduating with honors. It's not impossible.
The biggest mistake that students make is thinking that more time studying means better grades. It doesn't. 40 hours of bad studying habits will still fail that test, while 2 hours of efficient studying can pass. You need to learn how to learn.
This is only going to get harder as you go for higher degrees. So, in an effort to greatly cut down on the studying time you need to open up room to work if you want to, answer this one question: Why are you spending so much time studying information that you already know?
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