Date Published: August 5, 2019
Having a job while going to nursing school can be a big challenge. Between working, attending classes, studying and all of your other responsibilities, it can be easy to get overwhelmed!
Luckily, there are many small things you can do to help alleviate some of that stress and make having a job while being a nursing student more manageable.
Time Management is Key
Managing your time wisely is arguably the most important thing you can do to balance work and nursing school. By planning out your schedule ahead of time, you can make sure you have enough time in the day to get everything done that you need to get done.
One of the best scheduling techniques for working students to try is called time blocking. This is when you ‘block’ off or reserve certain times of your day for certain activities, and it’s a great way to fit in study time around a busy work schedule. Use a spreadsheet, app, digital calendar or a paper planner to set aside specific hours of the day for class, work and studying and homework. During those blocks, focus on only that activity and try not to let your other responsibilities distract you – they will have their time!
If your work schedule is the same every week, your time blocking can stay consistent each week to help you get into a good routine. If your work schedule changes week by week, try to block out your time before the week begins so that come Monday morning you are ready to hit the ground running!
Check out this article for more details about time blocking and examples of how to do it.
Prioritize Your Assignments
Organizing the order in which you do your studying or homework can be just as important as setting aside the time to do it in the first place. Try to complete your assignments in order of when they are due so that you avoid turning in work late, and work ahead if you can.
Another tip? Be sure to note any bigger projects or papers that might require more of your time to complete, and add those to your time blocking well in advance of when they are due. It can be easy to procrastinate projects like these, but you will only be causing yourself more stress by putting them off until the final hour!
Set Aside Time for Physical and Mental Health
Self care is incredibly important to successfully balancing a job while in nursing school. After all, you won’t do well at work or school if your physical or mental health is suffering.
Make sure to dedicate at least one time block each day to focus on yourself. Use this time to hit the gym, read a book, take a long shower, or whatever you like to do to relax.
Related read: How To Stay Healthy During Nursing School
Make Sleep a Priority
When you’re juggling a job and nursing school, it can be tempting to stay up late to fit in another chapter of studying or, more realistically, another episode of Netflix. But countless studies have shown that getting a good night’s sleep is one of the best things you can do for your health and productivity.
This is especially true for nursing students who may be working long hours in the field. One study found that medical interns made almost 36% more serious medical errors when working extended work hours than interns with a schedule that allowed for more sleep. Let this be your excuse to hit snooze!
Rely On Your Support Network
When the stress of nursing school and working starts to get to you, remember that you are not in this alone. It’s very likely that other students in your cohort are in the same boat as you, and feel equally as overwhelmed! Lean on your classmates, friends, and family for support when you need it.
It’s Okay To Ask For Help
There may be times that, no matter how well you schedule your time and prioritize your work, having a job while in nursing school will be a bit too much to handle. Don’t feel bad if you need to take a step back from some of your responsibilities in order to make it all work. Talk to your boss about adjusting your work hours to something that will work better for you, or reach out to a study group to see if you can split some assignments and lighten your workload.
Above All: Remember Your Long Term Goals
At the end of the day, balancing a job and nursing school might not be easy, but it will definitely be worth it. In times of stress, remember why you picked this amazing career path in the first place! Focusing on your long term goals and your passion for nursing can help put everything into perspective.
Ready for more nursing school success tips? Follow our blog for helpful resources that will guide you to productive semester.