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Working Night Shift as a Student

bobcat17 bobcat17 (New) New


I will be starting my senior year of nursing school soon and I just got a job as a PCA. I am SO excited about this opportunity! However there's one thing that I'm really worried about- it's night shift. I will be working two nights a week, one 12 hour shift from 7p to 7a, and one eight hour shift from 7p to 3a. I'm afraid that my sleeping schedule will be so irregular with classes during the day that I'll break out, gain weight, or get other health issues that comes from not having a regular sleep schedule. Do you have any tips on how I can make this work? Thanks!

I worked nights in nursing school. School M-TH, Fri, Sat,Sun off. Worked Fri and Sat nights the 1st year of school. Had to cut back to Sat night only the last year of school. I would advise not working nights mid week(during your school week). It's no big deal, you gota do what you gota do.

I was working this job before school full time. I made the decision I would try to keep it part time. If at any time it interfered with me doing well in school I would quit.


Has 12 years experience.

I worked 2nd shifts and weekends during school and it worked out. Make sure your school doesn't have any rules regarding working before a clinical. My local community college won't allow anyone to do clinicals if they've worked in the previous 8 hours.

Ks mommy nurse

Has 10 years experience. Specializes in SNF, home health.

I just finished and passed my 1st semester of an ADN program. My schedule was, I went to school for 4 days, worked 2 days and played catch up on my 1 day off. Noticed, I said "I passed," really not with the grades that I'm used to. I was bummed at first, but heard that other classmates grades that didn't work, were about the same, some better. So, I'm working my tail off during the Summer to save up for 2nd semester. I really need to focus on school and make it a priority. I mean, I did take all that time (years) and money to do my pre-reqs, driving around to several schools to drop off applications, take entrance tests, interview... all so I can FINALLY be in a nursing program. Balancing school, work, family and anything else is hard. I give props to those that can handle it all.

The trick in working nights and going to school is taking naps. for example when I worked sunday nights, I got out monday morning at 7am and needed to be at school by nine. I would go home and shower and put my uniform on for school. then I would snooze on my couch for 30 to 45 minutes depending on how fast I showered. then lots of coffee. after i came home and napped for another two hours so I could go back to sleeping nights. Also I never was able to work two nights in a row because of school but I worked around it. yes I got white hairs probably looked tired but I worked out and ate healthy. Remember your sacrifice will pay off !!!

Thank you for all of your replies! It definitely helps me believe that it's doable. Best of luck to all you wonderful nurses!

I work 3 12- night shifts (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) I have done it since the first day of nursing school. It's hard and I have days that I go on short 20 min. naps. I never work the night before a clinical day. I also make sure that I take off a day and half before an exam. Other than that I have been able to get through each semester. Flipping back and forth. I have motivation for personal reasons to do this.

You must eat well, take naps when you can. Know your personal limitations. Show a positive attitude and know that if your semester is 15 weeks...you remind yourself that it's only for 15 weeks. (15 Monday's or 15 Friday's...)

While I worked my last 2 years in nursing school. There are a lot to consider. I am a full time faculty teacher who teaches in the last year. If you have a course that is a practicum, I would advise for you to really look at your schedule and balance around school as a priority. I'm not saying it's not doable, but you have to be very disciplined, and you also have to appraise what kind of student you are. I do have students who work multiple hours and don't do well. However, they may be weak in knowledge and synthesis. If you are a strong student in good standings, work around your school schedule. Save your vacation time that accrues for important things that come up like your final clinical rotation. Lump your hours together if you can and maintain your school, study, and rest schedule. Please do not go to the school or clinical having worked the night before as that is not safe. You may say this is common sense, but I've had people do this. This is not professional, and you don't want to jeopardize anything in your last year. Keep your goals close and the end in sight. If you start to slide, back down. Prayers for success.


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