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marilynaalvarez 1,063 Views

Joined: Feb 26, '12; Posts: 7 (0% Liked)

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  • Feb 26 '12

    In rare (and I do mean rare) circumstances it is possible to work full-time and to attend nursing school full-time successfully. I add "successfully" because I've met hundreds of students who failed one or more courses, or who had to extend an additional semester, with the consent of the School of Nursing, in order to graduate with a "C" or GPA of 2.00 because they chose to work more hours weekly than they could endure and still succeed.

    In fact the only 3 people I know of who did it, all needed 5 semesters to complete the 4 semesters of an upper division BSN program because, in each case, by semester #3 the individual's health and ability to learn had tanked. Each had no option to stop working. Each made the choice to reduce the number of credits to a part-time level for a semester in order to keep working and to continue progress toward the BSN.

    Let's do some math: the expectation of any college instructor is that you will do a minimum of 2 hours preparation time for every hour of classroom time/4 hours of lab time. In nursing prerequistes and nursing school courses the faculty's expectation is higher: 3-4 hours of preparation for 1 hr class/4 hrs lab and a minimum of 4 hrs intensive prep for each clinical day. If you are carrying 12 credit hours the prep time committment adds another 36-48 hours easily, or about 60 hours each week.

    If you are working full-time as well, it's not just a 40 hr work week but also the time it takes you to prepare for work, the time to travel to and from work, and some decompression or transition time between your 'work' time and your 'school' time. Say we add another 2 hours per day x 5 days per week to cover that extra time; that's now a 50-hr work week. Total so far is in the range of 86 hrs/wk to just get by and 110 hrs/wk to meet the objectives of work and school. There are only 168 hrs/week, so now you have less than 60 - 82 hrs/wk to do everything else.

    Time for everything else includes time for all the essentials: to sleep (6hrs/night?); to prepare and eat 3 meals/day (microwave everything or eat it cold and don't chew = 1 hr/day); do laundry including your work clothes and clinical uniforms ( 2 hrs/wk); for personal hygiene (0.5-1 hr/day); to exercise 0.5 hr x3 days (if you don't take care of the stress, the stress will take care of you). That's at least another 52 hours a week, leaving a remainder of 8-30 hrs/wk to for all the other timekillers. Think about the time it takes to get to and from school, the time between classes, etc. and you'll see that even if you are clever about multi-tasking you end up exhausted with no recovery time.

    Is it impossible? No, but you need to be prepared for the eventuality that you may need to attend part-time during the most difficult semester or two at your chosen school if you choose to continue working full-time. There are certain basic conditions you must acknowledge about employment as well.

    Your employer and coworkers have the right to expect that you will be awake, productive and responsive every hour you're at work. Creating special conditions for yourself, such as reading text chapters on the job, while others carry your share of the work load will create bad feelings and anger in a hurry. Carrying the load for a coworker whose actions benefit no one else quickly gets 'old' no matter how much you thought they supported your goals. Show some integrity: if your employer agrees and your position permits, see if you can schedule your work on a flexible schedule. If you arrange to work from home, maintain the same productivity rate or better; resist the temptation to claim hours as worked when you spend them studying.

    So, yes. it can be done. Is it worth it? Only you can tell. A point to remember: nursing school prepares you for a career where what you do affects others' lives. Learning well all of the concepts taught in nursing school will aid you in becoming the type of nurse you would want to have care for the most important person in your life. Finally, " 'C' may equal degree" but it does not invariably equal a NCLEX pass or the title "nurse".

    It's a tough choice to make, so be honest, be committed, but also be kind to yourself - whatever you decide.
    'Best of luck in school -