Nursing school to overwhelming

Nursing Students General Students


I'm a 23 y.o. single mother of a 3 y.o. I work full time and attend school at night. The last 4 semesters of school have been very overwhelming for me. It takes 4 semesters to make up one year because I attend part time. My problem is I have very bad study habits, and most nights I'm to tired to study. This past semester I took both bio and chem at the same time. I failed both classes. If I can't pass chem and bio how will I pass the nursing courses. I have little or no support from family or friends. Not only am I slacking on my school work, but also my relationship with my daughter is straining.

I want very much to receive a degree in nursing. But how do I juggle work and school? I was planning on attending full time, but with my study habits I would probably do as bad, besides that how will I manage financially?

Is there anyone who has been in the same situation, what did you do? Can anyone offer some effective studying tips to a working mother? If there is anyone who overcame the same obstacles and succeeded please share your secret. Is there anyone who left work to attend school full time, if so how did you manage your finances? Lastly how can I succeed in school without compromising my relationship with my daughter, and losing my sanity in the process. Any advise will be greatly appreciated.

Thank You



Hang in there! You can do it! I can't tell you that I went to Nursing school while trying to care for a child, but I did work full time while attending Nursing school and I graduated this past spring. I was in a program called a "flex program" (part-time designed for working students) I also had a friend that was in the program with me who was a single mom and she also graduated. I have a hard time studying as well....I recorded all my notes from class on a mini tape recorder and listened to them all the really helped....I even did this in the bath tub! I worked for a Nursing Agency and got a position in home care that allowed me to doze during the night so I could rest for school during the day. My friend put her daughter in Daycare a couple days a week and attended classes then. Finacially you may want to look into student loans and scholarship options. Myabe the school has a daycare for your daughter. You may also want to check your community resources for financial and child care options. Don't loose faith, if you want something bad enough you'll get there! Good Luck!


Specializes in ER, PACU, OR.

Hey Steff, don't give up if you really want it. I was not in your situation, but similar. In high school I had no idea what I wanted to do, got a 2.0 GPA. when I was 26 I went part time at night, while working 40hrs a week during the day. I then married my wife, and started saving my money. Three years later, I quit work and went to school full-time. At times I didn't think I could do it either. I held a 3.0 most of the time, and dropped to a 2.8 near the end. Mostly because I wouldn't compromise a few things. I knew many students in your position, that found daycares, and relied on their parents or friends. I can tell you, if you don't keep it up now, and you quit, it will be harder and harder to do in the future. Don't give up - your better off single right now. Many of the students I knew (avg age 23 - 35), had their marriages strained. Their spouses had no idea what it took, "It's only to be a nurse" attitude. Many were divorced by the end of school. You are young, and don't have the marriage stress. Focus on school and your daughter when you have time. As far as studying, I agree. I taped all my classes, and took notes. I then listened to the tape at home while reading my notes, and drinking coffee. I highlighted the stuff I knew as I went along, and left the tough stuff as is. Once I finished, I went back to all the un-highlighted parts, and did not highlight them until I knew them. Last, the fact is, when it comes to most of the chemistry and biology, you will never need them or use them. They won't be relevent, and the ER docs I work with agree. You need to know alkalines (Bases) acids (i.e. ph related to meds and the body. You will never need to know about DNA, RNA, amino acid chains and stuf like that. It rarely plays a part in the clinical setting. Microbioligy, and A&P were the most important pre-requesites, when I look back. So take them and get done, and move on. One other word of advice. Try to figure out why you didn't pass each class? Some classes are harder than others. I had to take, only one class at times and focus only on that. Some classes are easier. In the summer I took 11 credit hours in 5 weeks and did well. Consider what you are taking, not just the amount or course load.

Anymore questions post them- Later


Well I am a student in a 1 year LPN course and I know what you mean when you say your overwhelmed.I have probably had 100 test already.Now that takes serious study time!

I don't have kids but I have heard some comments the other single moms in class have said about their kids and situations.They have for this next year moved back home because during this course it is very difficult to work and attend school. The 1 yr course has a lot to be thrown at you.

Has your situation improved?? As far as study habits I have been out of school for 22 yrs. I found it hard at first on how to study. But when I went in this course I went in with the attitude to do whatever it took to survive and I have done it. But I also have a very good support system that helps. I just told everyone that it was time for me to do something for me that I have wanted for years,and for years I have done it for them. I also told them for the next year not to expect much from me that if I was going to make the best grades and get what I should from this I have to fully put all my time and effort in this. They understood and know what this means to me.I have people who pray for me all the time and I know thats what has gotten me this far.It's not been easy either but I knew that before I ever started. Anything worth having is somethings hard to get. So just having in there you can do this.

Can you write me and let me know how your doing now. I have on to the verse,"I can do all things thru Christ who strenghtens me."


I hate to sound repetitive, but really "hang in there". I know it seems overwhelming and you feel like you'll never get there but you will. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Take your time, prioritize, and keep trudging on. One thing that might help would be looking into schools that offer family housing. The school I attended offered housing for single moms and families who were in college there and it provided some major financial relief because the price of the housing was comparable to dorm housing and it included all of the utilities. Also available at some schools are childcare loans. A good friend of mine took advantage of the childcare loans and the family housing and she's about to graduate from her masters program. It's tough but there are ways to get help. If the universities in your area aren't very friendly to students with kids, go somewhere else. While it seems insurmountable, there are ways to make it work, and believe it or not, once you get into nursing school, some of the students there can be the best support group you'll ever have. Hang in there and don't give up. You've got it in you!

Specializes in ED.

I'm not a single mom but I do have 3 children ages 4 and under (well the twins are three). When me and my husband talked about college we agreed that I could not possibly work, take care of children, attend class, and study while taking care of the house and all. Not enough of me to go around.

We searched for what ever resources we could find that could help us. At the time the oldest was 1 1/2 and the twins were 5 months when I first attended college. I found WIC to be a pretty good help, at least we had milk and cereal in the house. Then I got day care vouchers for them to go to school full time. That way, I can try and study while they are at school and I devote most of my time at home to them. I qualified for some pretty hefty pell grants which go a long way at a community college. This year I also got a scholarship which will pay for all books, supplies, tuition, and any other school related expense (up to $4000).

You have to do some serious time management but its possible to make it. I look at it like this, do I really want to go back and dig up gas pipeline again? Hell no!!! And my kids see me working so hard so one day they will hopefully do the same. I have to be a role model for the girls.

Now, if I can do it (and we were in bankrupcy most of the time as well!) you can do it. Just set some time aside for studying. Nothing else takes the place of studying in that time slot. Beg friends and family to watch your daughter for you for that time.

Specializes in Acute Care, Rehab, Palliative.

I can say that I am almost in the same spot. I am taking a part time registered practical nursing program part time ( 2 nights/week, all year round ). and it will take me 4 yrs to finish as the course is 2 and a half full time. I am a single mom with 2 girls (11 & 13 )and I have experienced the same things. My girls are older so they are more understanding of school taking up so much time and attention but it is still tough on things.I used to feel too tired to study at night too but I pushed myself to bring out the books anyways and tried to find time to study earlier in the day ( lunch break at work was worth an hour of studying). Have you tried to find any study buddies to form a study group with?

I have also done that and it helps. A friend of mine found someone to tutor her in math since she was struggling and our school also offers free help in most subjects. Most of my teachers will make themselves available before class starts to give some extra help too.

Not to sound like a broken record or anything, but hang in there!:p If you persevere you will reach your goal and set a wonderful example for your daughter. Best of luck.

Specializes in Med/Surge.

Are you attending a four year or ADN program? Go talk with your counselor at school-there should be some resources with in the community to help out with the finances/day care etc. Apply for as many scholarships as you can and PELL grants and if those don't come through try student loans. You can get the kind of loans that you don't have to start paying back until you are out of school. Is there a hosp in your area that teaches as well (you could work, but they will help pay for your school)?

Although I am not in the exact situation I can somewhat relate to your predicament. When I was getting my prereqs I worked ft, had a then 6 yo dau. and when I started NS also had a 2 yo son. My husband drives a truck across country so is rarely ever home. I quit work right before NS b/c I knew I couldn't do it all and be successful in school. But, I also had a good support system.

If you can PM me I can give you study tips. How I studied when I had the kids was I would try to have them in bed by 08:00 and then I would read, make notecards, etc for a couple of hours then go to bed. I have also always been a morning person so I would get up at 5 am and do another 2 hours of studying. I would also take my notecards with me wherever I went and study them when I had a chance.

For time with your child, since she is 3, you could get a special calendar and a particular "sticker" and put it on the calendar and tell her this is when Mommy can play and make it a special time with no phones, no interuptions and then she will have something to look forward to as well as you? That works with my son who is the same age. We do whatever he wants-blow bubbles, read, or just play with his cars.

I am really sad for women in your position with out a good support system doing everything you can to make something out of your life and better your future. As much $ as our country spends on those that could get an education but choose to sit there should be some way to help the ones who are trying to be a positive contribution to society.

I wish you the best of luck and admire you for what you are trying to accomplish. PM me if you want my study tips!!

I know exactly where you're coming from! I'm 28 and a single mother of a 9 and 6 year old. I have no contact with their father and all of my family lives 2-3 hours away. I've gone to school full-time for almost three years now while working 20-30 hours a week. I've been able to survive working part-time because of the assistance I get with my housing and food from various government programs. I don't know what they have available where you live but you should be able to get some assistance with your monthly expenses because you're a single mom and a student. I know that if I didn't get the financial help that I get I wouldn't have been able to make it. I've also taken out extra student loans to help cover my daycare bill. As far as studying goes, it's just learning process. I didn't know how to study very well at first or how to balance my time but I finally got the hang of it after a while. I absolutely hate getting up early but I find that I'm too tired most evenings to study so I force myself to get up at 5am almost every day. It really stunk at first but now I'm used to it and I'm not taking any time away from my kids because they're still sleeping. I know it all seems overwelming but hang in there. I just found out on Saturday that I got into a BSN program and I start this summer. See, it can be done!

Specializes in NICU.

I know how you feel about the workload. I'm married, but have a bunch of kids ranging from 17 to 4 months and it's hard to fit everything in!

I made notes from the texts and lectures on 3 x 5 cards and carried them everywhere. I just ignored the teasing I got :rolleyes:. I also found it worked to study away from home; that way when I was home with my children I was able to focus on them. I also tried to be early to appointments, class, etc; that gave me a few minutes uninterrupted time to study. I swear, I passed most of my classes in increments of 20-30 minutes of studying. Wear headphones, even if they're turned off, and people will be less inclined to interrupt :chuckle.

Don't watch TV, cancel the paper, and decide that if anyone feels your house is too messy that they are welcome to come and do something about it!

Just don't give up. . . life only gets harder. I wish I had persevered and finished when I was younger. You can do it!!!


Your life sounds stressful.

May I make a suggestion? Why not wait until your daughter is in 1st grade and attending school full time? I did this with my kids - waited until the youngest was in school.

They grow up very fast - enjoy these years. And you are young yet - only 23.

I'd put school on hold for awhile.

Of course hindsight being 20/20 . . .. we all should have gotten our education before we had kids. Which is what I pound into my kid's heads.

Be gentle with yourself - you have a huge amount on your plate. There is nothing wrong with taking a break and enjoying your child.


+ Add a Comment