new nursing student/mother of 2/wife needs help with time management

  1. I just started the ADN program four weeks ago and am having a difficulty finding time to study. I graduated from my schools Patient Care Assistant program in May of 2008 and did not have too much trouble with managing my time. Back then my husband and I both had full time jobs and only one child. This time around I quit my job to concentrate on school, and we had another baby. Luckily my husband was able to find another job and I have family members to babysit my 2 1/2 year old son and 8 month old daughter when I am at school. I have school during the day Monday through Thursday, which should leave me ample time to study, however, as all parents of young children know, you can't just leave them with their toys or the television and have no interaction with them and you can't ignore the household chores or expect your husband to cook after he has done two full time shifts of work. The only time I really have to study is after 9 or 10pm (which usually ends up with me falling asleep on the couch with notes still in hand) or about an hour before class starts. We just had our first Anatomy and Physiology test, which I passed, but didn't do as well as I wanted. Anyone have any tips or tools for helping me manage my time??

    Thanks,

    Jen
  2. Visit jcbalat profile page

    About jcbalat

    Joined: Jun '09; Posts: 2

    11 Comments

  3. by   pharmgirl
    Here's some tips that have saved me.

    1. Schedule time to study. Just like an appt. Set up a certain time for family and a certain time for study. If possible have your family members keep the kids for an extra hour or two after class and then spend that time studying. Put the kids to bed and break out the books. You have to make time for it, just like a dr. appt. Make an appt and don't break it.

    2. This may sound a little OCD but it worked for me. Spend one saturday or sunday a month cooking. I bought those plastic seperated plates at Walmart and made homemade TV dinners. I spend one day a month cooking meatloafs, casseroles, lasagne or whatever. Plate them up with your veggies and freeze. They are a quick easy way to provide a good dinner for the family when you are either not there or when you just don't feel like cooking.

    3. I kept my sanity last year by declaring my house a "no study" zone. My family knew that once I came home, I was theirs. No distractions, no books. When it was time for me to study I would leave to go to the local diner (btw, they all now know me by name and are a great source of encouragement LOL), or go to the library or the local park is also a great place. There have been many days when I would leave bright and early to go to the park and my husband would meet me with the kids for lunch and an hour of play and then it was back to studying. Anywhere but home. One of the reasons was I found that if I was home I was easily distracted by the dishes needing to be done, laundry needing folding and before I knew it my 5 minute break was 2 hours later. It was too hard for me to focus.

    4. As far as study tips, this is what has worked for me. I read all the chapters and highlight. Then I go back and take notes from my highlights. Then, if possible, I make flashcards from my notes. 3 days before the test I will get together with girlfriends and study. 2 days before the test I go over any "a-ha!!" moments that my girlfriends and I had and anything i feel rusty on. The day before the test I DO NOT study. I get a good nights sleep, eat a good protein rich breakfast and do not go to school until 5 minutes before test time. There are too many nervous nellies trying to cram the last bit of knowledge in the brains, so I dont bother with it, I stay away. I don't need to absorb any of their stress.

    Also, on this note, if you are able to make flashcards, or at least write things in a small notebook that you can keep in your purse, you can pull it out while you are standing in line at the grocery store, or waiting to get gas, or wherever you have a few min of down time.

    5. Try not to feel quilty. This is the hardest one. You are going to school to benefit your entire family. School is temporary and family is forever. You need to do what you have to do now in order to be successful as a wife, mother and nurse later on. There is no easy way to balance all the hats that we have to wear. The only thing we can do is put our big girl panties on and suck it up and get through it. Keep your eye on the prize. You sound as if your family is 100% percent behind you which is the biggest obstacle to overcome and because of that you are ahead of the game.

    Good Luck to you!! You can do this!! Keep your eye on the prize
  4. by   Zoe*aka*studentnurse
    HI

    WOW pharmgirl wrote a great post. I can't top that

    *I also put study time in my diary - I'm lucky that our boys are in bed by 7pm so I usually try to study from 7.30pm - 9.00pm but with small breaks (like right now),

    *I also have a big cook up - usually every second Sunday. I bake heaps of school treats and do at least 7 meals to freeze.

    *I love to make up my own cards with important things to know. I'm studying for my final a&p exam (exam 20th June!! ARR getting closer), and have made heaps of little study cards.

    I thought I had great time management before I started this nursing degree, but boy oh boy, I've almost finished my first semester, and I now know what time management is all about:wink2:

    take care, Zoe
    p.s I'm a mum of 3 under 5yrs, working full time but lucky enough to have my hubby as a stay at home dad.
  5. by   tabacue
    I haven't gotten into a nursing program yet, but I have been working on pre-reqs. Last semester I had Chemistry, A&P1 and Interm. Algebra. Somehow I managed a B in all of them. I am 32, mom of 3 boys (10, 3 and 1) and I work "two" jobs - full-time at a construction company and I am a realtor.

    I would love to be able to schedule time, but I just can't do it and I, like you, tend to fall asleep once I try to study after the kids go to bed. I do a lot of studying/homework on my lunch hour. The thing that helps me the most is that I take my books wherever I go. If I am at the drs. office, I bring one in. If I only read one page, that is one page I wouldn't have gotten read. I take the kids to a park and bring one out while they play and while everyone is watching tv, I am reading (a little harder with the baby). If we go anywhere, I am reading while someone else drives. Not an ideal way to do it, but you'd be surprised how much you can get done.

    Good luck - I feel your pain and know that I will be in the same boat HOPEFULLY in August.
  6. by   jcbalat
    WOW! Thanks pharmgirl, zoe & tabacue for taking the time to reply! I will definitely keep all your tips in mind!
    pharmgirl...Fantastic tips! I think I say "keep your eye on the prize" to myself everyday! hahah.
    zoe...wow, you have ur hands full! My husband can't wait till I get a job as a nurse so he can be a stay at home dad
    tabacue...Good Luck to you too! I agree it's hard to read w/ the baby! I'm thinking of just reading my A&P book to the kids to kill 2 birds w/ one stone! They get read to & I get to study! LOL
  7. by   rntobe7733
    The other posters hit the nail on the head when it comes to scheduling time to study. I think that the key is communication with your hubby regarding when you're really going to need backup. My best advice is to keep a planner with all of your tests and assignments, and that way you can tell the others on your "support team" that you've got a lot going on on specific days, and that you'll definitely need some help with the children on those days.

    Little bits of time are like pennies that seem meaningless, but if you put them all together you can buy something awesome (like a sundae off of the McDonald $ menu Use these bits of time to organize yourself, or even get started on assignments that "aren't due for awhile." Use extended breaks between classes, or if you get finished with a test early and have 20 minutes or so, use them to get actual work done. This also helps to take away the stress of the grouping and saying "what did you put for question 8?, Aww man, I thought it was C!" As a parent, you really do have to make the most of those little chunks of time. Sometimes my 1 and 3 year old will be playing together beautifully. I just keep my ears open, (and the eyes in the back of my head!) and let them do their thing

    I don't know if I'm the only one who does this, but I LOVE to take my books to the bathtub with me I don't feel at all guilty setting some time aside for bathing This makes for long baths, but when I'm nice and relaxed in a hot bath, I get clean, AND I get some decent reading done. A little crazy, but I actually enjoy it!

    Best of luck in your endeavors!
  8. by   thegiver
    Im taking all this in too! Im a mom of 4 kids ranging in ages from 4-14. I also work part time in the evenings, but only for 2 hours a night, and alternate weekends 5-8 hours a day. And Im going to have to keep on working!
    I just got accepted into our community college for RPN (Im in Canada) after working on the pre-reqs for the last year.

    Great post idea Jen!
  9. by   JBGC4
    The above posts were perfect!!! I would also think about setting up notecards. This is an easy way to study while you are cooking, sitting at a stop light- heck you can even take them to the grocery store! Another thing- CROCK POT! I bought a huge crock pot cook book for the upcoming 2 years. It's perfect b/c you don't spend a lot of time cooking and you can purchase the liners that allow very little clean-up.
  10. by   looking4wrd
    Wow, everyone's tips were so amazing! It was fun reading them all. I am so fearful of going back to school and trying to balance single parenting, working full-time and school. If you can all do it there's no reason why I can't, right? I really think I'm afraid of losing my mind in the process, but a lot of these tips are lifesavers! I've had so many questions answered and fears laid to rest on this website. I love it!!!!!
  11. by   *guest*
    Quote from pharmgirl
    here's some tips that have saved me.

    1. schedule time to study. just like an appt. set up a certain time for family and a certain time for study. if possible have your family members keep the kids for an extra hour or two after class and then spend that time studying. put the kids to bed and break out the books. you have to make time for it, just like a dr. appt. make an appt and don't break it.

    2. this may sound a little ocd but it worked for me. spend one saturday or sunday a month cooking. i bought those plastic seperated plates at walmart and made homemade tv dinners. i spend one day a month cooking meatloafs, casseroles, lasagne or whatever. plate them up with your veggies and freeze. they are a quick easy way to provide a good dinner for the family when you are either not there or when you just don't feel like cooking.

    3. i kept my sanity last year by declaring my house a "no study" zone. my family knew that once i came home, i was theirs. no distractions, no books. when it was time for me to study i would leave to go to the local diner (btw, they all now know me by name and are a great source of encouragement lol), or go to the library or the local park is also a great place. there have been many days when i would leave bright and early to go to the park and my husband would meet me with the kids for lunch and an hour of play and then it was back to studying. anywhere but home. one of the reasons was i found that if i was home i was easily distracted by the dishes needing to be done, laundry needing folding and before i knew it my 5 minute break was 2 hours later. it was too hard for me to focus.

    4. as far as study tips, this is what has worked for me. i read all the chapters and highlight. then i go back and take notes from my highlights. then, if possible, i make flashcards from my notes. 3 days before the test i will get together with girlfriends and study. 2 days before the test i go over any "a-ha!!" moments that my girlfriends and i had and anything i feel rusty on. the day before the test i do not study. i get a good nights sleep, eat a good protein rich breakfast and do not go to school until 5 minutes before test time. there are too many nervous nellies trying to cram the last bit of knowledge in the brains, so i dont bother with it, i stay away. i don't need to absorb any of their stress.

    also, on this note, if you are able to make flashcards, or at least write things in a small notebook that you can keep in your purse, you can pull it out while you are standing in line at the grocery store, or waiting to get gas, or wherever you have a few min of down time.

    5. try not to feel quilty. this is the hardest one. you are going to school to benefit your entire family. school is temporary and family is forever. you need to do what you have to do now in order to be successful as a wife, mother and nurse later on. there is no easy way to balance all the hats that we have to wear. the only thing we can do is put our big girl panties on and suck it up and get through it. keep your eye on the prize. you sound as if your family is 100% percent behind you which is the biggest obstacle to overcome and because of that you are ahead of the game.

    good luck to you!! you can do this!! keep your eye on the prize

    this is absolutely fantastic advice/guidelines even for those of us who are not married or without kiddos. i'm tempted to print this out and plaster it on my wall in a frame.

    to original op...i have bad time management skills as well...but shamefully so, because i am a procrastinator. i do not know why i can't get past it. perhaps nursing school will "breed" that right out of me.
  12. by   bebeth21
    I am a single mother of a 2 year old and just started the ADN program. We left the comfort of our home, the help of grandma and grandpa, and my CNA job behind to pursue one of my life long dreams of becoming a Registered Nurse. It's been hard. VERY hard. Trying to get used to a new house and being without Grandma & Grandpa was scary. Starting my son with Daycare for the first time and trusting a complete stranger to take good care of him, was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. I feel guilty every morning I drop my son off at daycare, and he cries to "go with mommy." I miss him every second I am not with him, but also feel guilty that I am not devoting enough time to studying as much as I should.
    It's been about 4 weeks into the program now. I have taken tests in 2 of my classes already. I passed, but did not do as well as I was hoping I would do. The program is intense. We have HUGE stacks of books, infinite chapter readings, online assessments, group projects, etc. Was I crazy for even thinking I could be a full-time student AND a full-time SINGLE mother at the same time?
    I thank you Pharmgirl for your wonderful words of advice. Especially for the "Do not feel guilty" part. When I look at my son's face, I know I am doing this all for him. He may not like leaving me in the morning (and God knows, I hate leaving him,) but I know he'll appreciate this when he gets older. My motivation is my son. Learning to manage my time is something I'll definitely have to work on, but it is something I MUST do. Scheduling time to study and treating it like a doctor's appointment, makes alot of sense. Prioritize, focus, and give it all you've got...I know I will!
  13. by   nickyboo954
    Pharm girl. Kudos to you, love the advise. I too started nursing school with a family and for now a full time Job. I can't wrap my brain around, school, spending enough time with my family and still making enough money so we wont be eating Ramin noodles for Breakfast lunch and dinner.

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