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Nurses who worked through school


Hello everyone. I would like to hear from any nurses who went to school full-time and worked part-time, worked full-time and went to school part-time, or did both full-time! I am wanting to enter an accelerated BSN program since I have a previous BS...but I need to work about 20 hours a week in my tech job, so that the hospital pays tuition. I am already in student loan debt from my first degree and I want to be smart this time around about finances. Any success stories about balancing work/nursing school at an intense pace? Keep in mind I have no children or other obligations to add into the mix :). I want to believe I can do this!!

Dixielee, BSN, RN

Specializes in ER. Has 38 years experience.

You should have no problem if you have no one else to worry about but yourself! I was a single parent of 2 children when I finished my BS in Biology, and still a single mother when I got my BSN. It was not particularly easy, but nothing worthwhile usually is! My children are now grown, married with children of their own, and somehow we all managed to survive and thrive.

We still managed to go to the YMCA to swim together, both kids were active in school and sports, I was a Cub Scout leader and taught Sunday School. What I didn't do much was sleep :) I figured that I could sleep when I died because I sure didn't have any spare time for such nonsense at the time. You should have no worries! Best of luck to you :)

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych. Has 15 years experience.

I did not work while attending a full-time 12-month LVN/LPN program in '04/'05. However, I worked 32 hours per week as an LVN at a nursing home while attending an RN completion program full-time in '09/'10. I worked two 16-hour shifts every Saturday and Sunday at the nursing home as an LVN charge nurse. This schedule enabled me to attend school full-time during the week.

thanks to both of you...you are both inspiring :)

traumaRUs, MSN, APRN, CNS

Specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU. Has 27 years experience.

I also worked full time during my LPN, ADN, BSN, etc..

We had two kids, a very supportive husband and we managed.

I would say if you are going to be doing the accelerated BSN I would not personally work. It is more than a full time position and it's only 12 months.. granted I understand people need money. However, if you are doing the "regular BS" program you should be able to work part time. I would not attempt working full time however. Nursing school is rough! And there is so much prep for clinical, etc it might seem like you have extra time in your schedule (say you have a day off) but you really don't! And this is coming from someone who already has a BS in Biotechnology and went to grad school for Genetic Counseling.. and I was able to work PT with both of those degrees. Nursing school is harder than both of those! Good luck to you :)


Specializes in Ambulatory Surgery, PACU,SICU.

I worked 0.8 2nd shift and employer reimbursed tuition. No kids, but have a spouse and still managed to have a life. Now working and doing rn-bsn online [which is way easier than sitting in a class room and trying to work around a schedule]

I would not do this with an accelerated program. Too many people have said that they had to step back to a traditional program because they could not keep up the pace. You want to give yourself the maximum opportunity for success. I would look for a traditional program if you plan to continue working while in school.

I would be concerned that it is an accelerated program. I worked full time + OT in IT while going to NS full time in the eve/weekend program. Still had a couple of kids at home and hubby was deployed.

I did remember my teenage daughter complaining once. She asked when I was going to have time for HER again. I told her "Aug 2010" (my graduation date)!

Positive experiences only please! I have heard a million times "you won't be able to handle that", or "that's too much work". I want to hear from those of you who did it and succeeded. I don't need discouragement because as nice as it would be to NOT work...it is just not a realistic option for me. I am not willing to accumulate another 60K in debt for my second degree.

NurseCard, ADN

Specializes in Med/Surge, Psych, LTC, Home Health. Has 13 years experience.

I worked full time, went to school full time, AND had a baby my third semester.

I'm not bragging or anything. :lol2:

What helped me though, in all seriousness... I worked three twelve hour shifts on

the weekends. That gave me all week to study, do homework, etc., and go to

class of course. Plus, when the baby came, my in laws played a huge part by

watching her whenever I had to go to class, study, or whatever. I couldn't

have gotten through that last semester without them.

NurseCard- good for you! I am thinking I will work Saturdays and Sundays (one 8 and one 12)...then I get my 20 hours in :).


Specializes in critical care/tele/emergency.

I worked 3 12's on weekend nights in a busy ER and was in accelerated nursing classes. During that time, I had only one child left at home (a teenager) and a very supportive husband. I basically had nothing else going on for that 16 months. It took a lot of prayers, tons of help from the nursing staff (they and the docs quizzed me on every pt through the door!), a few tears and almost no sleep but there was a light at the end of the tunnel and my husband is in it for the long haul. Support from family and friends is essential and dedication to your goal is crucial. It's doable but I have no idea what went on in the world from summer of 08 to winter of 09. :yeah:

I worked full time as a student nurse tech while I was in school, and had no problems. Got good grades and still had a life. But, I tend to work best under pressure. Give me too much free time and I get nothing done!

Edited by ORoxyO

GadgetRN71, ASN, RN

Specializes in Operating Room. Has 15 years experience.

You can do it. I did it- worked 32 hours a week in the OR as a surgical tech and took call on weekends. I managed to graduate with honors too.That being said, it wasn't easy. I have always been a strong student and still it was challenging. Many nights, I made do with 5 hours of sleep. I'm a firm believer that if you want it bad enough, you'll find a way. Many of us didn't have a choice, we were adult students who were supporting themselves.Good luck!! :)

Morainey, BSN, RN

Specializes in Orthopedic, LTC, STR, Med-Surg, Tele.

It's definitely do-able. I worked 24 hours/week evenings and days and went to school at night and on weekends. I didn't have any kids, but I was still broke all the time (paid my own rent and bills :D) and my social life went to non-existent, except for my boyfriend and nursing school girlfriends. I got good grades though, and it is definitely do-able, not fun at times, but it can be done! Good luck :rolleyes:


Has 5 years experience.

I truly think this is going to be an individual thing. Some people can handle it, and others need the extra time to study. It does help to not have other obligations (kids, husband, etc.). Take inventory of the type of learner you are, if you know you needed lots of study time in other courses, then increase that by like 50% for nursing school, and then decide if you will have time for working.

editing to add: since you are looking for success stories though, I was able to do it, like other posters above. During full-time school, I had 2 part-time jobs, and a 2 year old, (accidentally) pregnant my first year, and a newborn my second year. Of course I had the help of my partner. I doubt I could have managed that as a single parent. My grades dropped of course second year, but I still pulled it through with not too much of a hit to my gpa.