Your dreams of becoming a nurse might seem like they conflict with the realities of parenting. However, becoming a nurse can certainly help you as a parent. You’ll probably make enough money to take care of your kids, and you’ll obviously know how to handle any first aid situations that come up. Fortunately, you can learn how to balance parenting with going to nursing school.
Balancing Nursing School With Parenting
Nursing school is very demanding. So is parenting. That doesn’t mean they have to be in conflict, however, if you do things right:
- Discuss Things With Those Around You: Talk about the pending changes to your lifestyle with your kids and partner. Let everyone know what is going on. The younger kids are, the longer it will take them to adjust to new routines.
- Know When Your Peak Study Times Will Be: By this point in life, you should know whether or not you’re a morning person or a night owl. Your studying will go better and faster if you work with your circadian rhythms than against them.
- Get Organized: A master calendar is crucial to keeping everyone organized. Even if you have a personal calendar, your family needs to know your primary nursing school schedule and events, especially exams. Family members need to contribute work trips, school events, doctor’s appointments, recitals, sports, and anything else.
- Figure Out What Can Go: Your kids might see you as a superhero for what you can do and what you know. You might even feel like a superhero just handling being a parent. Still, you’re just a person, and you can’t do it all. Prior to starting nursing school, you need to look over your entire life and figure out what activities are going to be cut. Some hobbies might have to be dialed back or even given up, you might not exercise as much, and extended family or distant relatives might not see you as much.
- Maximize Nap Time: If your kids are still little ones, then you know the bliss that happens when nap time hits. Getting a nap yourself is tempting, but you might be better off knocking some items off your list. Do some homework, get some studying done, finish a chore. It’s the middle of the day, and you’re more alert now than you’ll be in the morning or evening.
- Have a Support System in Place: You probably found out fast that raising kids takes a village and not just parenting. You’ll need this as a nursing student. Try to build one with the people you know and rely on before nursing school, but also find other parents once in a program. You all can share tips and ideas and maybe even babysitters. Study partners with kids make it easy to keep close schedules.
- Schedule Partner and Family Time: This needs to happen every month. You need to carve out time for you and your partner, and you also need to block out time for the whole family. Keep your love life alive, and keep love alive in the entire home.
- Think About Part-Time Schooling: Full-time nursing school isn’t always easy, and sometimes it’s not even possible. Part-time schooling is available in many areas. It will take more months to accomplish, but you’ll have a lot less burden every week. Online nursing programs also lighten your load even more while letting you proceed at your own pace and enjoying more schedule flexibility.
- Rearrange Your Work: If you have to personally maintain an income while parenting and doing nursing school, try to opt for anything that leaves you flexible in terms of schedule. Do remote work if you can, or switch to part-time work.
- Create a Study Space: You need a physical space that’s for just you and your education. Create it, use it, and don’t let anyone interrupt it. Make sure your kids even understand not to bother you there except in the event of an emergency because your homework is just as important as their own.
What if I’m Already an RN?
Nursing school isn’t just for people looking to become nurses. If you’re already a registered nurse, then you might want to check out any number of FNP programs to take your career to new heights.
When you move into being a family nurse practitioner, you can work in environments truly focused on people. This advanced practice registered nurse role is one that requires a master’s degree. Once you have it, though, you’ll be even more sought after than you were as an RN, and you can explore a wide variety of sub-specialties to suit any particular medical interest you have.
Nursing School Loan Forgiveness
While nursing school can lead to potentially more income than you may have made before, you first have to pay for that nursing school. Most programs are not cheap, but with the right tips, you can do it. Forbes has good advice on comparing the many nursing school loans you might have available to you.
One thing you need to consider is where you might be willing to work after becoming a nurse. High-need areas are places many nurses go to in order to get student loan forgiveness. This works well with federal student loans. These can be discharged free of taxes after 120 payments through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. You can qualify for this through full-time work with the right government agency or nonprofit organization.
Even some private loans can be forgiven. Working in an underserved community through the Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program can take care of 85% of your balance in three years. There are also state-level programs to repay private loans.
Being a Nurse Helps Your Kids More Than You Know
Becoming a nurse won’t just mean being able to provide for your kids financially. You’ll also show them how to be someone who makes a positive difference in the world. Hopefully, you’ll inspire them by your example in pursuing their own dreams of contributing to the world in their own eventual careers. Seeing you graduate will help your kids understand how important their own graduations are.