If you worked FT during nursing school...

Nurses General Nursing


How did you do it?

I'm starting an evening/weekend ADN program Monday, and I work standard office hours. I went over my syllabi last night to make a calendar for each class, and I was overwhelmed with anxiety -- I can't fathom how I can possibly manage all the reading, studying, assignments, lab practice, etc. along with all the things I have to schedule separately, outside of class and clinical time (ATI exams, ChartSmart, return demonstrations, etc.). I know it would be ideal to quit my job and somehow "make it work," but right now that's not an option, so I am doing my best to prepare for what lies ahead.

I would sincerely appreciate any tips or advice from those RNs who have successfully worked through school and lived to tell about it. Thanks!


I worked fulltime and had a one year old. Theres not much sleep to be had thats for sure! Study when n where you can and your body will adjust to less sleep. U think of it as week by week and dont focus past that.

I worked per diem, every weekend. Technically not full-time. But 2 12's EVERY Saturday and Sunday can be pretty busy.

I also didn't sleep much, and had a hubby and 3 year old at home.

But you do what you gotta do.

Specializes in Psych, LTC/SNF, Rehab, Corrections.

I worked doubles on the weekends...16 hours.

Also helped out on some evenings. Few hours here and there.

You study when you find the time. During breaks, you re-read what you've just been lectured. That's 15 minutes of study right there for every hour of classtime.

When you get home at night? You can hit the main points and be done with it all.

I just graduated with my BSN but for my junior and senior year I was going to school fulltime, doing clinicals/externship, and then working as an aid full time at night. My days and weeks were extremely structured and I studied at every free moment and ALWAYS kept my planner on me and even set reminders on my phone for random things all the time.

Make time for yourself to do whatever you like to destress (I like to run) and completely zone out so you don't get burnt out. Get adequate sleep and stay healthy. Never lose sight of your goals, and I always would tell myself, "this is only temporary"... good luck!

I worked an IT job (full time + OT) while going to t FT EVE/WE nursing program. Honestly, I used the weekend to catch up on all studies and assignments. I went straight from work to my evening classes. It was tougher during the first semester because we had more classes that term.

I also had kids at home (teens) and a hubby in Afghanistan. You can do it. You do have to choose school over anything else though. During term 3, my youngest (HS) daughter asked, "When are we gonna do things together again?" I honestly replied,"August 2010"...my graduation day.

Yes. Part of the time I worked full time. Actually, I only stopped because I was not able to continue on the schedule track I had in place fitting in work hours separate from clinical hours.

Specializes in ER/ICU.

I start the nursing program in October. Part of my preparation was to quit my job at a very busy urban ems service and go to a much slower rural service. I work two 24 hour shifts a week and they are working with me on my shift days so that working doesn't interfere with class or child care. I have two kids, ages 8 and 12, and a great husband who works 60 hour weeks. We're busy all the time, but we're committed to getting me through school. You do what you have to do to make it. Good luck!

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Your standard office hours may be the problem. Find a place that has evening and weekend shifts available and it will be easier to fit it all in. Bonus if it is in a hospital...great experience and your foot is in the door. This is what I did and it worked out nicely.

Thanks for all the responses -- the tips as well as the shared experiences. I feel encouraged just knowing that so many other people have managed to work FT and not fail out of school. I started freaking out when my "How to Survive NS" book didn't suggest anything other than quitting one's job in the section about working while in school (not helpful, fyi). True, working a demanding job will be a distraction, but homelessness would be an even bigger one, so... Off to work I go.

FLmomof5 - My schedule is going to be like yours (minus the kids!), straight from the office to school plus every Saturday and Sunday. I am going to remind myself that if you did it with kids, certainly I should be able to do it without kids.

MedChica - I appreciate the tip about using class breaks to study. You are right: even just 10 minutes of each class hour will add up.

Your standard office hours may be the problem. Find a place that has evening and weekend shifts available and it will be easier to fit it all in. Bonus if it is in a hospital...great experience and your foot is in the door. This is what I did and it worked out nicely.

My nursing program is evenings and weekends. I agree that a foot in the door in a hospital would be a good thing, but I don't think trying to find a new job and taking a significant pay cut would be wise as I start trying to navigate NS. I'm glad things worked out well for you, though.

Thanks again,


I worked fulltime and am a single parent through nursing school. It can be done, it just takes planning, and diligence.

I managed to work full time through nursing school. I did nights on a behavioral health unit which worked better than I expected. On slow nights there was plenty of time to study. I did often cheat myself out of sleep and slept through many classes, but I graduated with pretty decent grades.Having a calendar is essential to track your assignments and due dates. Be prepared to study any time. I had my laptop with me almost everywhere. I could pull out study outlines while I was at the park with kids or waiting at the doctor's office. Don't forget to eat and sleep, it isn't pretty if you do.

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