School, Work, and Family... HELP!!!!


I need help! I want to go to school to get my ASN, but I have a full time job and make decent money, my husband doesn't make much, and I have an 18 month old son. I was wondering if there is an online program to get your ASN degree. I have heard of excelsior college. Is this a crediable school? Also, if I do end up quitting my job to go to school, is there some type of financial aid or grants or loans or some type of help to pay for school AND living expenses. I have wracked my brain trying to figure out how to make this work, but I just can't figure it out! I have heard of lots of moms and dads going back to school to get their degrees, why can't I? If anyone else is in the same boat as me, I would love to hear from you and how you do it. Or if anyone has any advise on how to acheive my goal of getting an ASN, I would appreicate the advice.

My eventual goal is to become a Certified Nurse Midwife, and you have to have your BSN for that. But I would just like to get my foot in the door with an ASN.

Any help would be appreciated!



401 Posts

Specializes in LTC & Private Duty Pediatrics. Has 8 years experience.


- The online programs are essentially, ASN to BSN type programs or CRA/EMT to ASN programs.

- The clincher being that you are already working in a hospital setting and obtaining your clinical experience. Unfortunately, as a newbie to the nursing/healthcare industry, you will need to do clinicals through a university/college.

- The best you can hope for is an evening/weekend type program.


- Regarding nursing programs. Most will want you to get your pre-requisites out of the way. English, Math, A&P, Micro, etc.

- These you can do via online, community college, formal universtiy. Just make sure the nursing program(s) you are interested in will accept transfer of the credits.


- My advice. Jump into an A&P101 course at your local community college. They may have an evening or weekend session or two. In fact, it might not be too late to register for Jan classes -- but you'll need to do some hustling next week or two.

- The reason I suggest taking A&P 101 at community college. First, it's a requirement of most (if not all) nursing programs. Secondly, cost is cheap (relatively) at a community college. Your total cost should be $500 for tuition & book. Also, some community colleges have on-site day care.

- Use the A&P experience as a test. Meaning, use it to validate whethere you are mentally ready to accept the challenge of nursing school. Use it to build your study skills, and your time management skills.


- Regarding working & going to school. Yeah, it sounds nuts!!!! But, you will learn (about 5 min after walking through doors at the community college), that there are many, many folks in the same situation as yourself. At least you are married - and have someone to lean on in rough times. Alot of single folks are doiing this all on their own (with little kids to take care of as well).


- Regarding time-study management. Yeah, it's a juggle.

- (Mentioned before on other posts). I work full-time day job, teach 2 nights a week. Fortunately, am still single, no kids. I study 1 - 2 hours in AM (before work), an hour at lunch, and 1 or 2 hours a night. Just for the A&P course. Perhaps such a schedule will work for you.


- Do a search on "going back to school" on this board -- you will see tons of oher folks doing the same thing you are planning on. Lots of fgood advice on this board.

- Good luck.

John Coxey


575 Posts

Specializes in CVICU. Has 1 years experience.

Single mom of 1 & work full time. I am doing pre-req classes at a Community college and have applied to start a second degree BSN program. My community college has an ADN program and many people get student loans and grants to do school and live. Look at because this is where you have to submit you info to be eligible for loan money. Next fall I will have to go full time and should be eligible for loans to pay for school and some of my living expenses (enough to not have to sell my house!) If you have never gotten an undergraduate degree before, you could be eligible for pell grants which you don't have to pay back.

You should also start looking for programs in your area. I think you can find a websites that list programs around your should have one and there are some links to on this site.

Good Luck :)


6 Posts

I agree with everything that John has said in his post. It's difficult but possible. I am married have 2 children under 3, along with a 12 year-old I see on the weekends, work full-time, have part-time job and take 2 classes a semester.

The items I have in my favor is that my boss allows me to work around my school schedule and my wife is very understanding that this is a good move for our family's future. I have been blessed by the amount of support I have.

Good luck, if you need support, everyone here is always willing to help!


5 Posts

Hi! I know how you feel. I am a mom of a 3 year old and I am married and have a great paying job, but it is my DREAM to be a nurse. After I had my baby, got the job, I bought a house, 2 cars, you know how it goes, so anyway - I got serious about school and talked with my husband and here is what I did:

I got a second job waitressing 3 nights a week and all tip money goes to my car to pay it off and so does my income tax. Extra money pays off other loans. I applied, took my entrance and passed it, and next year I start the 2 year LPN Program. I will still work the waitress job since Ill only have school 2 to 3 nights per week. Which means extra time with my son, time for school and time to study. And yes there are loans, grants, scholarships, for school. The money is out there. Just talk to the financial advisor at the school you wish to apply for. They can tell you everything you need to know about that.

So good luck!! I hope it all works out for you:p


29 Posts

WOW! Thanks for all the great responses. I checked in to what you said about the evening and weekend classes John. There is a lot more than I expected. None around my area, but who knows what the future holds after I get my Gen Eds. done. It sounds like you all work hard to accomplish your goals, which is what I plan on doing. Maybe I could move somewhere closer to a college that offers a night and weekend ASN degree.

I know that I could get grants to help pay for school, but do you know of a particular program, grant, loan, scholarship, etc., that provides you with living expenses help? Is there something that you can go on public aid for the time your in school? I don't usually like that kind of stuff, but I think that as long as I'm using it while I'm trying to better myself in school, I dont' think that's a problem.

Again, thanks for the advice!

Specializes in Adolescent Psych, PICU.

If you want your BSN eventually as you goal make *sure* you talk with the BSN school in your area to find out what will transfer. This is so important to do. Go talk to them in person if you can or at least call or email them.

For now don't worry about the nursing program. Just start taking the pre-req's in the evening's/online/weekends. Almost every community college offers the basic pre-reqs (like English, etc) online or take an evening Anatomy/Physio class (just make sure you take the one that will transfer to the BSN program if that is your goal). Start there. John's idea about starting with Anatomy/Physio is a great idea I think.

The good thing about 2 year college's (especailly evening classes) is almost everyone is a working adult with children! I have met such awesome people there and have made great friends!

To see what kind of aid you can qualify for we all have to apply at

It will let you know if you qualify for aid and what type. It depends on income, etc The less you make the more likely you are to receive free aid but student loans are available to all regardless of aid. Your school probably offers some scholarships as well.

As far as getting by while in school most people do have to take out loans. I do not work any more (yahh! lol) so I take out a student loan every semester, cars are paid off and our rent is cheap and we only have 2 credit card payments along with regular monthly bills. You and your husband would have to sit down and see what is the minimum you need to get by and go from there.

Here is kinda what we make to give you an idea if that will help. My husband brings home $1350 a month from his job. Each semester I get a Pell Grant to cover *all* my school expenses (tuition, books, suppiles) and I normally get a check for $500 left over to take home. I also get $500 a semester from OTAG (you get all this when you fill out the fafsa, I didnt have to apply elsewhere) and I get a student loan each semester that is $1700. For us that is enough to get by with and it works well for our situation. We do not qualify for any pubic aid.



550 Posts

You might want to check out the distance learning section above. I believe Deaconess (spelling?) college has an online ADN program for people with no medical experience. Not sure how it works, but it is another option.



29 Posts

Thanks again. I'm so glad I found this site. I would love to do a distance learning program if I could find a school that was more creditable. But I did look in to the night and weekend classes. My husband and I have been talking about moving to florida, so I looked around for schools there and you would't beleive the awesome programs that some schools have down there! For example, Miami-Dade college has a part time evening and weekend ASN program, that you go 1 night a week and 1 saturday for clinicals a week, and you get the degree! I cant beleive how wonderful that is because it allows you to still work a full time job and be with your family, while studying to have a great career! I'm so excited about this now! I just have to finish all the Gen Eds, and off I go to florida!

The only thing about this program is that instead of taking 2 years to complete, it takes 3. For someone who doesn't have a family, it would be better to just go ahead and go for the BSN, but in my case, I think it's perfect! Thanks for the information. You all helped me alot!


Specializes in Med-Tele, ICU.

To Cokegal19,

Good luck in your endeavors - don't let anyone tell you that it can't be done. I left a good paying job when I started nursing school just a few months ago (and just completed my first semester - WOO HOO!). I work Wed. evening 3-11p at an ER (I took about a $5.00/hr paycut) and also Sat/Sun 11a-11p. I could not afford to quit work altogether. I still have benefits through my job because they cost too much with my husband's work. My husband and I cannot live solely on his income (he a police officer, need I say more?) The last few months have been quite humbling - we've really had to scrimp and learn to do without the stuff we "want" and only get stuff we "need". He works nights (6p-6a) and we have a 6 year old son together and he has a 14 year old daughter who lives with us. She is a wonderful babysitter and keeps my son when I'm at work or at school and my husband is working. It's been a bumpy road and won't get any better, but I know that it will be worth it when I graduate! My husband and I only have one night together a week because of his work schedule and mine. I've cried and screamed out loud many times this semester to friends, family, my advisor, etc. thinking that I "couldn't do it" or "why did I decide to do this?" But, I always felt better just venting and it gave me the motivation to press on. My family has learned to live out of baskets (i.e., looking for clean laundry), eat sandwiches, frozen pizza, etc. on those nights that I am too exhausted to breathe, much less cook, and they got used to my new schedule (I used to work 8:30a-5p, was home every night, every weekend, etc.)

I was lucky to get a pell grant and a state grant which covered all my tuition, books, and I had a little left over. I also applied for student loans which have helped supplement my income loss. I also got a scholarship, but had to sign a contract with the hospital who awarded it (it's only for two years - guaranteed job when I get out). Apply for EVERYTHING that you can. I didn't think I'd qualify - thought we made too much money. Boy was I surprised and relieved when I found out how much I was getting!

Again, good luck!


587 Posts

Specializes in ICU.

The first thing you have to do is.......

Cut back on expenses. I am a single mother of a 2 year old and I work full-time right now, while taking pre-reqs. The ASN program that I am going to enter is full-time nights. I am still going to work part-time during the days. I won't be entering the nursing program until Fall 2004, but I am saving my money so that when i cut down to part-time I won't be struggling to pay my bills. In order to save extra money, I had to cut down on expenses. Things that I don't need were cut out. One thing that you could do is make a plan and set a goal to save a certain amount by the time you enter school. (Calculate your expenses to see how much you need to save.) Even though your husband doesn't make that much, all of the responsibility won't be on him while you're in school because you can pay your portion of the monthly expenses with the money saved. That's how your going to survive through school. Paying your tuition is going to come from loans, grants, and/or scholarships. Just be patient and start at the beginning. I am not one of those people with a lot of financial freedom, but I can't let that stop me from accomplishing my goals, and you can't either. Where there's a WILL, there's a WAY. Pray on it and God will see you through it;)


29 Posts

Thanks for all the advice. I am starting my prerequisites now (spring 2004). I am so excited! I found out that the community college closest to me has a night program! (4-10 tu. and thu.) This is absolutely wonderful, since I can still work full time and go to school! It will be a challenge, but in the end, it will all be worth it. I know it!!! I plan on being able to enroll in the spring of 2005. I want to get most of the non nursing classes out of the way so that I can focus on strictly nursing. Thanks again for all the support!

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