Studying to become a nurse is hard work, but when you’re trying to juggle it around being a mom, it can be even more difficult. Being a mom is a full-time job, and if you’re trying to improve your career as a nurse for when you return after maternity leave or have decided to move into nursing from your current career, fitting studying around your little ones is not always the easiest of tasks – but the good news is that it’s entirely possible with the right strategies. Today, there’s a bigger number of flexible nursing programs available to study, whether you’re an RN looking to move up into a career as a family nurse practitioner or are moving from another profession and want to get qualified as a nurse as soon as possible. These practical tips will help you balance mom duties and studying nursing at the same time.
Choose the Right Degree Program
Before choosing the right degree program for you, do plenty of research so that you’re sure about what it entails and feel like it’s a good fit for your lifestyle. Getting a clear idea of the workload required and the amount of time you will need to spend studying every week will make it easier for you to plan things around your current commitments. For example, accelerated BSN nursing programs are the best way to get qualified as an RN as fast as possible, but they often demand a high level of dedication and hard work to succeed. On the other hand, if you want to take things easy with your studies and make sure that you still get plenty of time with your kids, a part-time online course could be more suited to you.
Create a Schedule
Right now, it might seem like you have always got something to do, and the idea of fitting studying into your life might seem like a huge task. Coming up with a schedule that works for you will make it easier to put as much time into it as possible. For example, if you are a stay at home mom and your kids are in school or preschool, you might want to find some time to study while the kids are in school in the morning. On the other hand, if you have a toddler or baby, it’s worth putting together a schedule with your partner, so he or she can work with you to make sure that childcare is being provided at your designated study times.
Find Somewhere to Study
When you’ve got kids, studying on your couch is going to be fairly difficult. Distractions are always rife at home and when there are children at home, you’re going to be easily distracted all the time. The best way to combat this is to find somewhere separate to study that you can go to and get work done. If you have the space in your home, consider turning it into a small home office where you can shut the door and focus on your studies without being bombarded with the household at the same time. Some people find it easier to study outside of the home in a local coffee shop or library, or even on the college campus – if you’re studying online but attending a nursing school that is local to you, you will probably have campus access, so take advantage of the facilities when you need quiet study time.
Ask for Help
Being a mom can be hard enough at times, let alone when you’re trying to get a nursing degree and juggling everything else in between. Now is certainly not a time in your life where you should try and do everything alone. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from friends or family when you need it; chances are that there are more people in your life than you realize who will be willing to lend you a helping hand. You’re going to need practical help, emotional support, and sometimes just having somebody to talk to can make you feel a lot better when you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed. Keep your social circle close.
Find Ways to Destress
Don’t feel like you should spend every spare hour you get studying, especially if you are exhausted from the workload. In fact, taking some time to yourself, or spending time playing and having fun with your kids, is just as important as working hard when you are in this situation. Try to schedule some time to relax and have fun at least once every week. Ideally, get a babysitter or leave the kids with a family member or friend, so you can relax on your own and restore some of your energy. Engage in regular stress-busting activities like yoga, mindfulness meditation, and deep breathing exercises to help you feel more in control and avoid stress taking over.
Know When to Slow Down
There is nothing wrong with wanting to slow things down if you reach a point where you feel like everything is getting too much. Becoming a nurse means that there is a lot to learn, and information that you need to be able to take in and understand so that you can provide your future patients with the best level of care. If you’ve chosen an accelerated program and are struggling to keep up with the workload, it’s worth speaking to your tutors to see what can be done to help you. Deadline extensions, study breaks, and the option to change to a less intensive program option are all there for a reason, so utilize them if you feel that you need to for your own health and happiness. It’s always better to work at a pace that suits you best, even if that means waiting a little longer until you qualify.
More and more moms are turning to online learning to gain nursing degrees and more. If you’ve decided to become a nurse or advance your current nursing career and are juggling learning around being a parent, putting strategies in place to manage your time and workload now will make it easier.