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Military wife/mom of 2 - nursing school and peds career really possible?

Pediatric   (2,250 Views 8 Comments)
by DarcyD DarcyD (Member)

679 Visitors; 3 Posts

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Hi everyone! I'm new to the site - stumbled on it while doing research. I'm a 34 year-old mother of two (1 & 4) and a military spouse (Army). I am considering applying to nursing school in a year or 2.

I was a teacher and am a stay-at-home mom right now. Just wondering - is it really possible to attend nursing school while raising two small children? Would I be better off to wait until the youngest hits Kinder? My husband's job isn't very flexible sometimes, and he often travels (not deploys, but is gone fro 3- 7 days at a time. Am I dreaming to think that I can swing this?

Also, I want to work and have a career, but am worried that nursing might not allow me to be felxible enough (considering my husband's job in the Army). Any advice? Pros or cons? I'm very interested in Peds, in a doctor's office or clinic setting (again b/c of hubby's job).

Thanks! Copy%20of%20wink.gif

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880 Visitors; 13 Posts

I too am a Army wife. Started nursing school when my husband deployed to Bosnia. We had 2 elementary/middle school children at the time. It wasn't easy and there is alot of sacrifice. So worth it in the end. I'm a pediatric nurse and love it. Just be willing to spend less time with your spouse, children, eat quick meals and feel frazzled. It can be done, but it also depends on how much your spouse helps. When my husband came home he was GREAT! Did everything he could to help. Good luck.

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2,853 Visitors; 20 Posts

I agree. Having spousal support is important. I just finished nursing school, hubbie is in AF, we have three kiddos middle school to 18 months, the last was born during his deployment and smack dap in the middle of nursing school!!! You can do it just make sure your husband is behind you 100 percent!!!! Good luck!

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Moss1222 has 30 years experience and specializes in Education.

3,500 Visitors; 20 Posts

I am a civilian working as an RN on a Marine Corps base in a pediatric program. There are nurses that I work with who have spouses in the military. So working is certainly possible.

But nursing school is a whole other subject. To answer that question you would have to have exceptional suppport b/c your children are so small. Is your extended family available to help you with childcare? You stated your husband is often not home. The commitment to your studies and clinical time can not be overstated. Nursing school is HARD and TIME CONSUMING.

If you had a realistic idea of the time required and had the help available, then you certainly could do it. But it sure would be easier if your children were in school. Even then it would be hard.

If you already have a degree, there are bridge programs in many areas that are shorter, but I know several friends who have had trouble recently getting admitted into a program b/c it was so amazingly competitive right now. If you didn't have all the prerequisites, this time when your children are small could be spend taking one class at a time to prepare for nursing school itself in a few years. I know schools who require your sciences be within the last five years or they have to be retaken.

And one last thing, would you expect you wouldn't be moving? Different schools have different prereq's and to prepare for one school might not prepare you for another. Find a school that you would hope to attend and ask LOTS of questions.

God Bless! Don't be discouraged if this is something you really want to do-just realize the timing might not be what you are hoping for and enjoy those babies. They grow up so FAST!

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679 Visitors; 3 Posts

Thanks to all of you for the support! I really appreciate it. However, things have changed (as always in the military, right?). We were planning a move for next spring/summer but the timetable has moved up to this winter. The primary focus now is to prepare and sell the house, find a new house at our new assignment, and work out the school issue for 4 year-old who doesn't want to move. She loves her school and friends. The baby is cutting 6! teeth including molars and the 4 y.o. is getting her 6 year molars, too. Needless to say, thoughts about nursing school are on the back burner for awhile. I just don't think I'll be up to it until the youngest is a little more self-sufficient. When I do look at it, I found a program for a Masters in nursing (with a prior degree outside the field) that lets you do a large portion online, and then tailor your clinicals part-time. And it has a good rep.

Again, thanks to all and good luck to everyone of you. We spouses have to stick together!!!

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Meriwhen is a ASN, BSN, RN and specializes in Psych ICU, addictions.

2 Followers; 4 Articles; 59,128 Visitors; 7,869 Posts

I did it with my better half being stationed overseas for a year. I found an excellent childcare provider through the military who understood that my schedule would be very odd and could accomodate it. He was 2 years old when I started NS. I've also had classmates with 3 and 4 kids complete the program. Some were military, some were not. Some had families to help take care of the kids; others were like me and found outside providers. It can be done. It's not easy though...as others have said, NS is very time-consuming. It's hard to balance that and a family.

As far as working now...I found a job with flexible shifts that can accomodate my better half's schedule as well as excellent backup childcare in case of emergency. That took as much effort as finding the job did! The downside: I gave up the benefits...but I didn't need them anyway.

But in all honesty, if you wait for the "perfect time," you'll be waiting forever. If you're waiting until little one enters kindergarten, you'll find out the next week that you're getting PCSed across the country or that she hates her new school and you're getting called in costantly. If you're waiting for your spouse's next assignment to have better hours, you'll find out he's getting sent overseas for the next assignment.

That doesn't mean you shouldn't put NS on the back burner when you have too--right now the PCS takes priority. And of course, you shoudn't start until you feel ready for it. NS is a big committment, after all.

But if you do feel that you might be ready for it, why not start researching and applying to schools out near your destination? If you apply to a degree NS program, you've got a good chance of being able to transfer credits to another school should you have to move before you finish. If you have a degree already, consider an accelerated program. Online programs are also an option too--many are flexible to accomodate different hours.

Or if you're not ready to start NS and/or still need to take classes just to apply, take a prereq or two at your local CC, just to see if you can manage school and kids at the same time. You'd be surprised at how well you'll probably be able to manage it. Take classes in person or online: thanks to the internet, you can move across country and take classes back at your "home" CC. I took all of my prereqs one or two at a time while we moved across country and back--for some semesters, I was a student in two schools at the same time!

And last, as everyone's said, you need your spouse's support even if he's not there physically as much as you'd like. NS is a rough ride.

Good luck!

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ALYJOSHDA7 specializes in Pulmonary and infectious diseases.

790 Visitors; 9 Posts

Hello, I am a military wife also who gave up my previous career when my husband was deployed and my son was born with a medical issue requiring surgery. My husband is now home and my son is doing very well. I have been working as a medical transcriptionist from home just to bring in some extra income. Now both of my kids are in elementary school, my former job is getting automated, so jobs are scarce. I am trying to get into nursing school. My husband is behind me all the way. If this is something you want to do, don't spend too much time trying to figure out how to do it before you start, just go ahead and start when you are able, and things will fall into place. Especially if you have any other military families around to help out. That is the bad thing with all the reservists being deployed today, they are so spread out that it is sometimes hard to get that type of support. My husband drills anywhere from an hour to two away from home, so I had to depend on other friends, which were few and far between, since we had recently moved 8 hours away from home. Don't be afraid to ask for help and don't wait too long to pursue your dream!

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8,637 Visitors; 887 Posts

I think it's very possible and congrats for even entertaining the idea. What I would suggest is that you do most, if not all of your pre-reqs online, it will be difficult but it would help. My sister is a single mom with a 4 year old, he's in daycare for part of the day but with work and spending time with him, online classes was really the best thing for her. It was difficult and took a lot of commitment on her part but she's doing very well (she's going for a business degree). I think it would be the best situation since you move around a lot. If you absolutely have to take some classes on campus that's okay, like Anatomy and Physiology and/or Chem.

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