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Working During Nursing School

Students   (1,091 Views 11 Comments)
by cloud0_07 cloud0_07 (Member)

389 Visitors; 23 Posts

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Hello!

I have been accepted into a local 2 year ADN program and I am thrilled!! I am not able to quit working entirely, so I am going to apply to a position as a CNA on the Med/Surg floor for 24 on the weekends, two 12 hour day shifts.

I'm a little worried it might end up being too much and take away from my studying... Has anyone else done something similar? How did you balance the workload? Any advice?

Thanks!

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1,048 Visitors; 41 Posts

I've continued to work part-time while in my ADN program, and while it's not easy, it's doable. I mean, if I didn't have to work, I wouldn't! But I need the $$ and especially the health insurance. I have classes about four hours a day two days a week, and clinicals about 5 hours a day another two days a week. I'm getting A's and loving my clinicals!

Two 12s might be exhausting and make Monday morning classes kind of a drag. But lots of people do it. A lot depends on what kind of student you are and what else is going on in your life. I'm divorced and have no social life, so it's pretty easy... :D

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RNperdiem has 14 years experience.

211 Likes; 1 Follower; 28,996 Visitors; 4,114 Posts

That is the same shift I worked. It worked well for me, and I was able to pick up extra shifts during vacation time.

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41 Likes; 10,235 Visitors; 1,372 Posts

It depends on your academic ability but I think you have a good chance of making it work. Just realize you won't get much studying done on your weekend. So if you have an exam on Monday, you should really be prepared for it before Saturday. Also realize that you won't be doing much socially, at least on the weekends.

But it's only temporary. Enjoy the journey!

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6 Likes; 808 Visitors; 41 Posts

I worked 4 to 5 8 hour shifts a week throughout nursing school. I think the idea of working on med-surg on the weekends sounds great! Not only does it leave your weekdays open, it exposes you to healthcare, gives you the opportunity to network for a job after graduation, to pick the brains of the nurses in providers as you learn, and maybe even learn on the job from nurses who want to support your education.

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silverbat has 22 years experience and works as a Care Coordination.

12 Likes; 17,516 Visitors; 607 Posts

While in school for LPN, i worked 40hour weeks went to school 8-5 5 days a week. And between the two I drive 20 hours per week. I was thrilled with 2-3 hours sleep at a time!! I had a hubby and two kids 11 and 12 at the time. Boy howdy it was tough!!!

in school for ASN I worked full time and the classes were part time through Regents college. I did take 3 years to complete my degree, but in doing that, I had very little student debt.

It can be done.

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Cupcake2018 has 1 years experience.

4 Likes; 157 Visitors; 18 Posts

Honestly, I'd find a per-diem CNA job or two. There's plenty out there. Per-diem will allow you greater flexibility. For instance, if you have one week where you're going to have a couple of exams and a paper to write, then perhaps, you'd pick up less hours. You can make up for the loss during weeks that are more 'slow'. If you can't get health insurance going this route, then maybe you could check out the Market Place to see if you can find an affordable plan that covers your needs.

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1 Like; 12,595 Visitors; 424 Posts

If you are really only going to work two days on the weekend, that will be ok, but keep in mind your test may be on a monday. Also, dont fall into being that person that always says "yes, i can come in to work since nurse X is too drunk to come in today". If you do, they will be calling you about three times a week, and you will fail nursing school. If you make it to last semester, i'd quit work about two months before graduation to make sure pass.

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66 Likes; 1,607 Visitors; 360 Posts

I'm a little worried it might end up being too much and take away from my studying... Has anyone else done something similar? How did you balance the workload? Any advice?

Thanks!

I have class 4 days a week, and work 12 hour shifts the other 3. It's not that hard, it's just life. Tons of people who don't have parents or a husband/wife to support them work and get through nursing school. It's all down to maturity. Are you grown up and responsible enough to do this instead of going out partying every night.

Forget this section of the website, don't come back to it until you're in school and have questions. People here will convince you that every minute outside of class needs to be spent studying to just barely pass. They'll convince you that it's impossible to have a life outside of nursing school. They're going to tell you that it's the hardest thing you'll ever do. For most people, probably none of that is actually true.

How you balance the workload? Calm down, don't panic, and just study when you need to while you have time. It's a science based program, you have to be able to trust yourself. Every science is based on doing rather than reciting. You know how you learn, learn that way and ignore study tips that don't work for you. If you don't learn with flashcards, then making 100 of them is a complete waste of time. If you don't know, there's learning assessments you can do for free online, and tons of study tips for that learning style all over the internet. You'll be fine. If common sense is a strong point for you, nursing school will not be as hard as the horror stories. Med/Surg will be annoying because it covers literally everything possible, but as long as you relate everything to the fundamentals and focus on it progressively instead of just random new knowledge, it's not really that bad, and working as a CNA on a med surg floor, you'd pick up a ton that you'll see come up in your learning.

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53 Likes; 1,492 Visitors; 100 Posts

I definitely think you should take the job. I worked three 12 hour shifts/week, as a nurse tech first on med-surg, then transferred to ICU. my wife and I had our first child, and I did my ADN as well, all full time. 4.0 GPA. Totally doable. It will help immensely with your first job. I got much better experience during my ICU night shifts as a tech than I did during my clinical rotations while in nursing school. DO IT!! I got 4 ICU job offers straight out of school, and my work experience had a LOT to do with it. If it ends up being too much you can always back down on your hours or just quit. Don't know until you try, but nursing school really isn't rocket science. Some of my science pre-reqs were harder. Some of the classes are a little time consuming, but they're really not academically difficult. All about work ethic, less about inherent intellectual ability.

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3 Likes; 6,022 Visitors; 298 Posts

Nursing schools may say you shouldn't (some say can't) work during the program, but the reality is that most of us need to.

And those who aren't working at a paid job are probably doing something else, like being a parent to young children. I luckily didn't have to work during my ABSN program, but I had two young children, and my main study times were the two three-hour windows a week I got when YDS was in part time preschool. I'm fairly certain my working classmates had more uninterrupted study time than I did. But I still made it through with a high GPA because I made studying a priority and did a bit here and a bit there. I got my texts as e-books, so I could always read on my phone for 5 or 10 minutes here or there. I studied after they went to bed. I pulled a few all-nighters to get some big projects/papers done, but not on a regular basis.

You'll be fine working the weekends as long as you prioritize study during your free time. As a CNA, you'll learn some of the basics, like how to take blood pressure and what normal/abnormal values are.

Just being on the floor assisting nurses, you will get exposure to a lot of things your non-working classmates maybe won't get to see, or only see a time or two, during all of nursing school. I know when I have a CNA who is studying to be a nurse, I often explain to him/her what I'm doing. For example, when I'm doing a urinary catheterization on a female patient, I often need someone to hold the legs and possibly a light. If you're my CNA, you're going to get a front row seat, because you're probably helping position the patient, and I'll narrate as I go. If I've got a gaping sacral pressure ulcer, I'm going to need someone to help hold the patient on his or her side, and I'll walk you through what I'm doing and why. Not every nurse explicitly teaches CNAs, but many nurses do narrate what their doing for the patient's benefit, so if you keep your eyes and ears open, you can learn a lot. You will do a lot of personal care for patients, and start to get good at identifying different skin problems to bring to the nurse's attention.

Bottom line: being a CNA can make you a better nurse and a better student than if you didn't work, provided you make the time necessary to get your studying in.

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