Many working adults who want to go to nursing school wonder if they will be able to work full time and go to nursing school. Nursing school has the reputation of being rigorous and requiring a lot of time. In this article, I am going to talk about if a person could work full-time and go to nursing school. In addition, I will give my experience as a nursing student who worked while in college.
If you rather watch a video of me answering this question you can watch it here:
Reasons Why People Work and go to Nursing School at the same time
Many people are not fortunate enough to live at home with their parents (who pay all of their bills, tuition, and other expenses) while they go to nursing school. I was not one of the fortunate ones along with many others I know. At the age of eighteen, I moved out and got married. During that time my husband and I both worked full-time and both went to school. We had bills to pay (among other expenses) so we both had to work while we went to college. However, when I started the nursing program I quit working for a while until the last semester of nursing school.
Another reason people have to work and go to nursing school is because they already have a career and want to pursue nursing as second career. In addition, they have children, are single parents with only one income, have mortgages, and other family obligations. So, not working while in school is NOT an option.
Can I Work a Full-Time Schedule (36+ hours) and go to Nursing School?
I am not going to sugar coat it and say “oh yes you can and you shouldn’t have any problems…people do it all the time” because that is not the truth. Most nursing programs, at the beginning of the program, will tell you that you should either quit your current job or majorly cut down your hours in order to succeed in their program.
The reason why is because nursing school requires you to attend lecture classes (expect to be in lecture class approximately 20-25 hours a week), work at clinical sites, complete individual and group projects, and prepare for proficiency exams. All of this alone equals up to 40+ hours in a week and working at a job full-time while trying to pass your nursing classes is very, very difficult. Many people who start out working full-time in the nursing program either cut down their hours at work or flunk out of the program.
How can I work and go to Nursing School?
If you have to work (like most people do) I suggest you budget for the loss of hours and income before you start the program. During the first part of the program (when you have to complete pre-requisites courses) you can work as much as you can handle because the course load isn’t as rigorous as nursing courses. Many people maintain their full-time jobs and complete these courses before they start the nursing program. Another option is to go to nursing school part-time. If you do this you would be able to work while going to school.
While I was in college I worked 30 hours a week during the time I completed my pre-requisites. There were times it was stressful and I was definitely busy all the time but it was do-able. However, when I started the nursing program I soon found out that I could not juggle work and nursing school and make the grades I wanted to make. So I quit my job for about a year and concentrated on nursing school. Then during my last semester before I graduated I got a job working as needed as a nursing assistant (CNA) and then transition to a registered nurse position after I passed my state boards.
My husband and I budgeted for the loss of income and made sacrifices so I could concentrate solely on school.
I know times are tough and juggling family, school, and jobs are extremely tough. However, if you want to become a registered nurse I suggest you go for it and don’t let anything stand in your way. Even if right now you are in a situation and don’t see how you can make it work, things will find a way of making themselves work. In my own life I have had some extreme trials and obstacles where I could not see where my life was going or how I was going to be able to make it work, but somehow things worked themselves out and I obtained my goal.