According to statistics from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, a majority of nurses hold a minimum of a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, and over 13 percent hold either a master’s or doctoral degree. The demand for nurses with bachelor’s or advanced degrees is growing, and this is causing many nurses to consider going back to school to jumpstart their career advancement.
One of the benefits of a nursing career is the fact that you can, realistically, work your career before finishing all of your training. If you get an LPN degree, you can begin working while pursuing further training, including the LPN-to-Associate’s degree and then the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. Working while going to school is not an easy task. Before starting on this path, here are some important considerations to make.
Benefits of working while going to school
The benefits of working while going to school are numerous. Some of these include:
- Avoiding debt – While you may not be able to avoid all debt, you can borrow less for your school bill if you have income coming in. The less student loan debt you have, the better your future financial situation will be upon graduation.
- Gaining job experience – Nursing is a career where experience is almost as important as classroom training. If you get experience while you’re getting the classroom training, you will have a well-rounded resume when you graduate. This can help you get a better paying job.
- Learn time management – Nursing is a career where time management is essential. Working while in college helps you learn these skills before your career is on the line. Learning to juggle different responsibilities and projects at the same time is an invaluable skill for your future success.
- Get benefits – Working full time in the right field can mean benefits, including health insurance, retirement and more. If you are an adult learner who can no longer get insurance and support from your parents, this is important. If you are a young learner, starting on those retirement funds early can’t hurt.
Working while pursuing further nursing training has significant benefits. Still, this isn’t a task to take on lightly, as there are a significant number of challenges that working and getting your education can bring.
Potential drawbacks of working while in school
Working while attending nursing school is not for everyone. There are drawbacks that you must consider before making this choice.
- First, working while attending school is demanding. When you tackle both of these responsibilities at the same time, you will constantly have something demanding your attention. If you take longer to learn the material or are easily distracted, you will find this doubly challenging.
- Second, working while attending nursing school can create some conflicts. When you are scheduled to work a shift that coincides with an important test or class, you may not know where to spend your time. You must find a flexible job or a flexible schooling program to make this work.
- Finally, working while attending nursing school is stressful. In many ways, this feels like working two full-time jobs. You will need to be diligent in your time management efforts to ensure you can handle both tasks well.
How to manage working and going to school
If you need to work and go to school at the same time or wish to enjoy the benefits of a career while earning your degree, you will need to learn to balance life at home, school, and work. To make this task a little easier, look for a program that offers flexibility. Online programs that do not require specific times to be “in class” can provide that flexibility.
While you manage the demands of work and school, make sure that you give yourself a little bit of time to relax and have fun with your family. While you may have a period of intense study when free time is at a minimum, take breaks after those weeks to give yourself some down time. The coursework will still be there after you take a break.
Also, make sure you have a strong support system in place before you embark on this journey. Whether it’s family who can help watch your children, friends who will support you even when you are too busy to socialize or a boss who is understanding of your scheduling needs, a strong support system is a key to making this work well.
Working while studying nursing isn’t for everyone, but for many nurses, it is the fastest way to grow their careers. If you find yourself in a position where you need or want to work full-time while attending nursing school, find a flexible online program to make it possible and reduce stress and time commitment challenges.