I work full time (40 hours a week) in a geotechnical lab (testing soil, which has nothing to do with health care. lol), have 3 children and I'm looking forward to entering my last semester of the program. I was told the same thing. I didn't like hearing it from so many people and even seeing doubt on the faces of people that were too polite to say it. I actually transferred school because the first school I was at wasn't supportive and when I told them my situation, the nursing program advisor laughed and said it's not possible. I transferred schools before entering a nursing program. Since I've entered the program I'm currently in, they've changed the wording on the application to state that students should not work more than 20 hours a week. I'm normally an 'A' student, however nursing courses are more difficult that previous classes and the tests are completely different. I've completely 3 semesters of a full course load making B's in theory and A's in clinical and other extra nursing courses. I graduate in 131 days. (Yes, I have a countdown) Here's what has worked for me:
-Be extremely organized. I have an excel file for each semester. I have a tab for keeping track of grades (I have everything calculated down to how much each class quiz, exam, lab, etc., is worth towards the final course grade). I keep track of assignments and when things are due.
- Again with the organization- In my excel file, I create a calendar right after semester orientation. I put on there class times, topics, lab times, and then add in my clinical dates and times. Then I share it with my classmates so they'll have it also. Then I take my personal one and add things that I need to remember for work and home. I've made it a priority that an A in class is not worth the sacrifice of never seeing my 3 children or attending their school functions. So I'd add those in. If the event was during class or clinical or if I knew I had an exam coming up that I need to study for, then I skip it and ask my husband to take pictures for me. Basically, I put my life on a calendar.
- Make time for studying but be flexible. That's one thing I've learned through this whole thing. Even when you have studying on the chart to do at a certain time, you might have days when you just need a break. I know I did. I tried to stick to my schedule and the stress mounted so I skipped studying one night and the rest was definitely worth it.
- I record the lectures and listen to them while I'm driving or walking.
- I have a study group and instead of finding a time for everyone to meet and a place, we video chat. That way, we have everything we need at our fingertips without having to drag our entire home library out with us. Also, I do mine from home so if something comes up with my kids, I can go take care of it and then come right back (it's about the same time as taking a bathroom break if you meet in person).
- I use my lunch time for homework, reading texts, studying, or working on care plans.
- Everyone learns differently and studies differently. It's not a popular thing to be told, but you'll just have to play around and figure out what works best for you.
I hope I was able to help a bit. It CAN be done. I've always worked while in school so I don't know how much more difficult it is than not working, but I understand being in a situation where the only choices are to do it or to drop school. If being a nurse is that important to you, you'll find a way to do it while still feeding your family. Good luck in school and I look forward to seeing you post with R.N. behind your name in a few years. :)