Nursing school + working - WWYD?

Nursing Students General Students


I am starting my BSN program this fall. It's a 3 year program, with summers off.

I have the opportunity to take a nursing assistant position at a local hospital. It's a PT postition (20 hrs a week), and it's on midnights, so it wouldn't effect my school schedule.

The thing is, I am married with 2 small kids (3 and 1), so it's not like I can just sleep whenever I want/need to. Part of me says it's only part time, and that's do-able. I am lucky in that I don't *need* to work. I'm mostly interested for the experience (though the money is admittedly nice).

Do you work during school? Have you worked opposite shifts like this? What does a 20 hr work week look like for you? (1-12 hr and 1-8 hr? Or a several 4 or 5 hour shifts? I just have no idea what to expect.)

What would you do?

Specializes in PICU, Sedation/Radiology, PACU.

Just because a job is on the night shift does not mean that it will not affect your school schedule. Are you going to be able to work 11pm-7am and then go straight to clinical or class at 8am? Will you be able to spend all day in class/clinical and then stay awake all night at work? Do you think you'll be able to effectively learn after going over 24 hours without sleep? Will you be able to safely practice as a nursing student or a CNA while you are sleep deprived?

The only one who can accurately answer scheduling questions about this job is the potential employer. The schedules and experiences of others might not be what your job expects of you. You'll have to ask this question before you accept the position. There's a huge difference between one 12 and one 8 hour shift and four 5 hour shifts as far as scheduling.

Does this employer know that you are starting a BSN program? Are they willing to work around your school schedule? If you have clinicals on the weekends, will you still be required to work weekend shifts during that time period? If you need to work less hours in order to study for finals, will they be accommodating? Hospital experience as a CNA is very valuable and can help you secure an RN job after you graduate. However, a PRN or per diem position might be better than a regular position with a minimum number of required hours. As a per diem employee you'll have more flexibility in how you schedule your shifts and which days/how many hours you work. You can always pick up more shifts in the summers, when other employees take vacations.

I really think you need to find out more about this position before you accept it. It's not just a matter of whether or not you can handle working 20 hours per week in addition to school. There's a lot to consider. If you make a hasty decision, you could end up jeopardizing your school performance or getting yourself fired for not meeting the requirements of your job.

I second the pp. I don't believe you know the full expectation your time for class and clinicals. I would do everything I can to learn what the expected time schedule will be as a student in your program. Working overnight is going to bite you in the ***.

What about your clinicals? What about the time in lab? What about the time to go research your patients the day before clinicals? What about the time you need to study?

I would try to find out every possible detail about what is expected of me and my time in the program. I would call my professors, talk to 2nd year students, and try to reach out to other students in your program.

I went through a similar length program. And I had a infant/toddler during that time. And my husband is on Active Duty...he deployed twice during nursing school. And I worked for the VA the whole time (as a student nurse tech and VALOR student) anywhere from 24-32 hours a week during fall/spring and full time during summers. And I graduated Cum Laude. It was rough, but do-able. As long as you have excellent time management skills and find adequate daycare for the times you are in clinicals, need to do homework, etc. Try it. Worst case scenario, you quit your job but gained a couple months experience.

Oh I didn't catch that it was a nights position just now until re-read. I had friends that worked nights and then went to school/clinical the next day. They just slept all day after school. Are you going to be able to sleep? Can you afford daycare or have someone to watch the kids when you sleep? If not, maybe ask if you can only work weekends?

I'm also starting a 3 yr BSN program next month and I will be keeping my job as a CNA. I was working full time but once I got my acceptance letter I immediately told my employer that I wanted to work Fridays and Saturdays and they were fine with that. I work the night shift 11pm-715am in a psych facility and I enjoy it. Luckily, my nursing classes and labs are only on Mondays and Wednesdays so I won't have to worry about having to go to class straight after work thank goodness. That is the whole reason why I chose to only work Fridays and Saturdays. At the psych facility we do get some down time so I can study a little extra those nights. Once I start clinicals and if I receive a weekend clinical my employer is very understanding which I am grateful for. I have worked all throughout college, from the time I started the community college and graduated to now at the university. I don't have to work but I want to and I've always had a job plus I like all the experience I have gained and I truly enjoy what I do. I have a fiance, no kids, no bills really so I've been able to focus more. My work hasn't interfered with my schooling whatsoever and I have maintained straight As. I know that everyone's situation is different and what may be good for one person may not be the case for the next. If my work does start interfering with my schooling then I will take a leave of absence from my job. I personally know people who have worked full time with a family and have done great in a BSN program. It's doable it just will take a lot more hardwork and dedication. It's all up to you and you should really go over what the job will require of you. Hopefully you have an employer that will understand that you will be starting the BSN program in the fall. Best of luck to you!!

I went through nursing school working full time with a 1 year old (when I started school) and a husband. I worked second shift and that was not bad. I never had afternoon or evening clinical except one time in the ED rotation I had to do one night. A lot of my classmates worked night shift. I currently work nights and now that my body is used to being on nights I think that I could do it and school, but those first few weeks adjusting were brutal. Most of my nursing class was non-traditional and worked together to succeed. I'd talk to your possible employer to see how flexible they would be working with your school schedule. I think that my job that had the more flexible boss was more doable during school but my one that was not flexible was not bad either. Communication is key with bosses and teachers. If you tell you teacher that you work and need more than a day notice of changes if possible they will usually work with you. I also told my second boss that I was in school during the interview and so she was willing to be flexible.

I'm in a similar situation. I have decided to take the job and promise myself that if it gets to be too much I will leave the job. I am lucky that I don't "need" to work, but the money and experience seem to be a plus.

That's great for you, but what about the employer. They spend their money and resources to train you. They then give you a schedule, oh wait is it too much? You quit? It's not only about you. If your not able or sure if the work is too much, I would do all I can about finding out what the job schedule, demand, and need is. Please keep in mind that this may be a potential employer later.

I'm in an accel. bsn program (eve/wknd) and working full time. Its brutal but it can be done. If there's a way to work less hours I would recommend it. Its hard to balance the amazing amount of reading, care plans, papers and clinical. I have started taking off the day of or day before exams to have time to study (i never take vacation so i have plenty accrued to use). It has helped me maintain a little bit of sanity. The real key is being super organized and using every possible minute to review/study (bus ride to work, doing laundry at the laundrymat). Best of luck to you!

Working 48 hours a week with a family and a 3.4 GPA. Agreed, brutal but possible.

I'm doing it now! Night shift, school, family, and a husband. I have a 4.0 so far, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed. I'm only working and going to school part time though. And I'm trying to get a VANEEP scholarship from the VA so that I can go to school full time without having to work.

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