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Working During ADN Program


I'm applying to Saddleback College's ADN program that starts this fall 2020. If I get into this program (tuition free), I would be commuting about one hour each way for clinicals (I currently live in San Diego and will be moving to Perris). So, I work in San Diego, but think that doing clinicals and working in San Diego (16-24 hours per week) would be very taxing and I would get burned out quickly.

I've done the whole full-time work and full-time course load for years. My mental health is a priority and I want to do well in these courses, aiming for straight As as I intend to obtain more advanced degrees.

What are your thoughts? I would budget for rent (250/month), car payment with insurance (400/month), food and no other bills, though am not forgetting about books and other fees for the nursing program (which would be about $2,500 per year). I do also gig work like UberEats, Postmates, and Amazon, and the money can be pretty lucrative (though it won't be as busy as where I'm moving to this Summer).

Would like any and all input. Thank you all!!

LovingPeds, MSN, APRN, NP

Specializes in Clinical Pediatrics; Maternal-Child Educator. Has 11 years experience.

I did not work more than 12 hours per week while undertaking my ADN so I can't speak to that; however, I did work full-time (36 hours/week) while working on my Master's with a one hour drive each way (so 42 hours for 3 nights work). I also averaged 16 - 24 hours per week in clinical with a one hour drive each way and on an opposite shift schedule (days). That was typically 62 - 72 hours per week before opening a book to study and I had to open that book before even thinking about sleep. This was not easy and by the last semester I was taking that acceptable absence due to low census at work every chance I could get just to relieve the stress. All that said, is what you're asking doable? Yes. Is it worth it? Not always, but only you can decide that.

Nursing is not going to be like the classes you've had before. They're going to train you in a whole different way of thinking about your test questions. Some people feel the material is fairly easy for them. Others really struggle to get it. It's hard to give you advice on this without first knowing how well you're going to do in your nursing classes. If you're doing well, by all means work as planned. If you're struggling and can afford it, then it's probably best to spend those working hours studying.

Good luck!

Nurse SMS, MSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development. Has 10 years experience.

Lots of people work through nursing school. It is hard, but doable. You will need a flexible job that will be open to changing your hours based on your clinical rotations.

So many of us have lost jobs or almost lost jobs over clinicals. You can't miss them. And the problem isn't so much you showing up, but if your teacher doesn't show up. I've had a few emails "Clinical is cancelled tomorrow, we're doing makeup on Wednesday." Meanwhile, I'm 1 callout away from being fired for callouts to go to clinical, and I work on Wednesday.

The coursework, I could work 2 full time jobs and pass.

Your job's flexibility is extremely important. Now, you have some advantages, you're not that likely to have a blizzard shut down a school in san diego. But that's something you need to prepare for, if clinical is cancelled and you have to make it up on a day you have to work, is that going to make you lose your job and have to live on the street? Doubles on any days that your school typically avoids clinicals are your friend. So is the closing shift on days that you have classes. Ultimately, you're going to do what we all did and between school and work, run 7 days a week while you're in classes. It's doable, it's not as bad as it sounds. But having a flexible job gets rid of so much stress.

Nursing school itself isn't that hard that you can't work. It's the time conflicts that make it ridiculously stressful.

Only you will know the answer to that. So many programs from one school to another are different, what those programs require with lecture, clinicals, labs etc.

I worked 50+ hours a week through the entire program (graduated this week) and yea it was a challenge, but I needed to work. It's doable with a support system, especially if you have a family (I do).