Can you be a parent and in nursing school at the same time? Well, mom and dads, there is good news for you: Many successful nursing students and graduate nurses are invested parents, juggling a job and family skillfully and successfully.

Nursing school is not easy, as you’ve probably heard. It requires a lot of sacrifice and dedication to stay on top of your classes and carve out set time for studying. You’ve probably researched how many hours of study it takes and worry that you won’t see your kids very much. Your next question may just very well be whether nursing school and pursuing your passion of becoming a nurse is worth it.

Is becoming an RN worth missing out on some big moments in your kid’s life? Is nursing worth missing your ten-year-old’s soccer game and being deemed (for the meantime at least) “the WORST mom/dad EVER?” Is nursing worth putting your baby to bed then staying up for three more hours to study before finally falling asleep in the early morning hours?

According to our learners and graduates who are parents, the answer is a resounding YES!

There will be times you can cuddle your babies, and times where you need to study. It’s a give and take. You will still be their parent. You will still love them, and they will still love you. Not only that, in 20 months (for our ADN program) or 32 months (for our BDN program) you will be the “BEST mom/dad EVER” when you can spend time with them and put a roof over their heads and food on the table – because you are a registered nurse.  

 

Our current learners who are parents provided a few tips to keep in mind.

 

Build a support system

Having a support system is crucial to completing the program and should be in place even before starting school. You need people who will make you dinner in a crunch, who will drive your kid to soccer practice because you have a clinical, and who will support you when you need to study.

Stephanie Ray, a learner in our ADN Program, said, “I have 5 kids (kudos to you other mommies with kids!) and travelled the entire time 3.5 hours from my town in NV to the St. George DDC. And worked full time. A support system is your best bet. Mom, friends, hubby, etc.”

Jerica LeFevre, another learner in our ADN Program, seconded saying, “It’s stressful. I have great support that peps me up when I want to quit.”

Accept that there will be sacrifices

Everything comes at a price, so be prepared to make sacrifices for your education, including family time.

“Unfortunately no, you will not have every waking moment with your child especially when you have to travel,” said Ray. “My suggestion is to block out time. Get up [before your child] and study an hour or 2. Naps are your best friend! Study during naptime. Make your crockpot, Instapot, and oven your best friend, that way you can study while dinner is cooking away. After dinner, bathtime, and then bedtime stay up another hour or 2 (or longer if you can handle it).Take days off and RELAX with your family. It’s okay to take some time or you will get burnt out and have emotional breakdowns…. TRUST me I know this. Unfortunately, families have to make sacrifices.”

Billijean Osterhout, who is in the LPN advanced placement program, agreed, saying, “It’s hard. Plain and simple. You won’t see your babies A LOT! I have 4 kids and while I have the help of my husband, my kids have been in daycare more than I would have liked. My youngest was 10 months old when I started full on clinical crazy hectic schedule. I’m not going to lie, it sucks not seeing my babies…but if all goes well 2 more semesters and I’ll have my RN (I’m doing accelerated ADN as I’m a LPN). The outcome is worth it. It sucks but it’s for the best and before you know it you are a RN and able to provide more financially and time wise to your kids.”

 

Don’t wait

Do you really want to wait another 15 years for your kids to be out of the house before becoming an RN? You will have the same dilemma in a year or two, so start now, and you can be working as a nurse in a year or two.

“Do it while you have the chance,” said Osterhout. “It’s taken me 10 years to go from LPN to RN and I wish I would have done it sooner! Don’t be the person who thinks ‘I could have been doing this for 10 years already.’ There is ALWAYS going to be an excuse to not get it done, trust me…I made them! BUT, my excuse to go back is my kids and their future! Good luck!”

“It’s SOOOO worth it,” said Ray. “I started this journey 10 years ago doing 1-2 prerequisites at a time, and never got into a program. Dedication is the key! Otherwise you will fail. You have to want this. In a little under 2 years I am finally done.”

“Don’t wait. It’s difficult, the most difficult thing you may do, but so worth it. Just remind yourself it is for your kids too, so you can provide the life you imagine for them,” said Maranda Hammack, alumna of our ADN program. “My youngest was 2-3 while I did the 16-month ADN, & she would at times throw my homework and push my computer trying to get attention–it will emotionally kill you–and then it will be over. You can do it.”

 

Remember you are doing this FOR them

LeFevre said, “I have a five year old and had a baby in the middle of this last semester. It was hard but if you are determined enough you can do it….we do what we have to as mothers to provide the best for them.”

Stephanie Ray, another learner in the ADN Program said, “Ask yourself why are you doing this? Me because I wanted to give my children a better life, be more financially stable, and show my children that working hard it worth it in the end. Best wishes to all of you who are embarking on this journey!”

You are doing what is best for your family. You can make it. It will only last a few short months! Just think of where you are, and where you could be in 20 months (or less for LPNs!) with a stable career as a nurse. After you become an RN, you can also complete our fully-online RN-to-BSN program, which is only 12 months.

Don’t wait until your kids are older, let them grow up with a nurse as a parent! Keep in mind every time they want you to come play that you are sacrificing now so that THEY can have a better future. You are doing this for them!

The answer is yes.

According to our graduates, the answer to the question “Can you be a parent and a nursing student at the same time” is YES! Can I be a mom and a nurse? Yes! Can I be a dad and a nurse? Yes! Can I do nursing school with a baby? Yes! You can do it! It will be difficult, but it is possible, and it will improve your children’s lives. So don’t wait. Build the support system, make the sacrifices, remember you’re preparing for a better future and jump in.

Learn more about our ADN Program by clicking the button below.

Recent graduate Summe2016-01-30 17.55.43r Kervin is a force to be reckoned with. In just a month, she graduated from Nightingale College, took and passed the state licensure exam, and accepted a job as an RN in Salt Lake Regional Medical Center’s ICU department. She started her nursing education in the Deep South but quickly was relocated westward by the military. However, Summer didn’t let the move stop her from getting her education and becoming a nurse. Here is her experience with Nightingale and some insider tips about the NCLEX.

When did you graduate from Nightingale College?

I graduated from Nightingale College on January 8th, 2016.

Why did you choose to attend Nightingale?

I chose to attend Nightingale College because they had no waiting list to get started. I had previously attended another nursing program in Alabama but was unable to complete my degree before our family was transferred to Montana by the military. I was very anxious to get my classes going again so I could finish my degree. I had also heard that Nightingale College was more military family friendly.

What was your favorite/most memorable moment while you were in nursing school?

What I enjoyed about nursing school most of all was the amazing people who not only became my classmates, but also some of the best friends that I will ever have. Our initial clinical group from 1st semester became extremely close, and we got each other through one semester at a time.

Nursing school comes with a lot of stress among other things. What challenges did you face and how did you overcome them? 

It is not easy at all to balance classes, clinicals, work, family, and try to keep your sanity all at the same time for four semesters. At times, it seemed so much easier to throw in the towel and stop trying your best just so that you can get through. During those times, I just had to step away from school stuff for a while. Personally, I would take several hours to just let my mind let it all go, whether it was by taking a hot bath, reading a book (not a textbook, haha!), or knitting. You have to remember to take care of yourself.

When did you start  preparing for the NCLEX?

While technically I have been prepping for the NCLEX ever since I first started nursing school back in 2009. I began faithfully studying around the last month of school. I intended to schedule a time to take the NCLEX as soon as possible after graduation. I felt like the longer I waited, the more I would possibly forget.

How did you prepare for the NCLEX? 

The Kaplan course that was provided by Nightingale was very helpful. The instructor shows you how to break down the questions and think them through, even if you have no idea what the questions are talking about. After graduation, I did all of the NCLEX practice questions I could find, including the Kaplan website that was provided for us during school. I also purchased a Kaplan practice book from the book store for extra practice while we were on vacation after graduation. My biggest tip would be to practice questions rather than try to cram information.

Share your NCLEX experience. Where you nervous? How did you feel once you completed the exam? How did you feel when you learned you passed? 

I had originally scheduled to take the exam during the last week of January, but after checking the Pearson Vue website daily, several earlier testing times became available. So I opted to go ahead, reschedule, and take it sooner. Going into the exam, I was more anxious to get it over with than nervous about it. By using the Kaplan method for breaking down questions, I felt like I was doing pretty well. And for once in my life, I was thrilled to see select-all questions and charts pop up since that meant that I was getting higher level questions. I was fully prepared to be in the testing room for the entire 6 hours for all 265 questions. So you can only imagine my shock when the computer screen went blank after 75 questions! The testing proctor thought it was pretty funny while she was watching me on the computer monitor when I suddenly sat up really quickly in my chair and looked panicked. My first thought was, “No! I really do know what I’m doing! I can’t be done already! I’m smart, really I am!” I felt like I was going to be sick. The two days of waiting to find out if I had passed was the worst! I was checking the DOPL website constantly to see if my name would pop up when trying to verify my license. Then early in the morning on January 21st, while my husband was getting ready for work, I checked the website again not really expecting to find out anything. But there it was…my full name saying that my RN license was active! I started crying hysterically, much to my husband’s concern, haha! The relief was overwhelming.

Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently when preparing for the exam?

At the time, I kept wondering if there was anything else I could do to prepare for the exam. I did thousands of practices questions, reviewed lab/electrolyte normal values, and attempted to memorize drug names, which had never been one of my strengths in the first place. But I truly feel like there was nothing else I could have done to prepare.

What advice would you give to other nursing students and recent grads who are about to tackle the exam?

My biggest tip would be to breathe, take your time, and do NOT psych yourself out. When you start to psych yourself out and doubt yourself, you start to go blank. Remember to think like a nurse! You know what to do. More than likely, the answer is related to ABCs, Maslow’s, or myasthenia gravis.

Now that you have passed, what is the next step for you? 

I am now a Telemetry RN in the ICU department at Salt Lake Regional Medical Center. I worked there as a CNA prior to finishing school and also completed my preceptorship hours in the same unit.  It feels great to finally have RN behind my name. My next step is to complete my bachelor degree, work toward getting my CCRN certification, and possibly a master’s degree down the road.

Have you had an experience you want to share about the NCLEX-RN and don’t mind being spotlighted? Email Emily at Marketing@nightingale.edu with your information. We are always looking for great stories to tell.

 

We asked our students if they would recommend Nightingale College to friends, relatives or anyone else, and why they would recommend it. Here are their answers:

I would recommend attending Nightingale College because…

Blake Miles: “… the staff is great and very involved in my success.”

Kim Barker: “… small classes, hybrid courses and its only 16 months!”

Blake Halladay: “… You get much more quality one-on-one instruction here than at any of the universities in the state.”

Malia Seamons: “… of the availability of teachers and class size. It’s easy to get one-on-one teacher time if needed.”

Bhumika Chaudhari: “… it has small classes so professors pay more attention to you personally.”

Savannah Salvesen: “… you get a personal experience and feel a part of a good atmosphere.”

Cindy Anfinson: “… the instructors are great and easy to work with. Also, the office staff is great!”

Michelle Pattison: “… it has a friendly atmosphere and great instructors.”

Krista Price: “… it is very flexible.”

Adam Nance: “… small class size.”

Diana Jones: “… there is equal opportunity for learning and there is more individualized help.”

Lindsey Thomson: “… there is not a waiting list.”

Emily Sheanshang: “… it’s fast. 16 months and you are done.”

Brittany Paige: “… it’s a hybrid program.”

Shannon Reed: “… the schedule is convenient.”

Megan Smith: “… more time with our teachers, more opportunities to work on skills, and faster to get through program.”

Clayton Green: “… it’s flexibility.”

Sandhya Prasad: “… the faculty is amazing and it’s a hybrid program.”

Nikki Lunceford: “… it has flexible scheduling and online instruction.”

Shay Williams: “… small class size.”

Jeff Rogers: “… it’s very personal and individualized to the students.”

Ian Hansen: “… smaller class sizes, personalized attention from the instructors.”

Shelby Milligan: “… can get into the program.”

Amanda Wilson: “… it is a great school and offers a great education.”

Why would you recommend your college?

We asked the students why they are attending Nightingale College, and here are their answers:

I attend Nightingale College because…

Kim Barker: “… I felt that the admissions department was prompt in responding to my questions and concerns. I Feel that staff and instructors really cared about me and helping me succeed.”

Blake Miles: “… it was the fastest way to get started.”

Blake Halladay: “… I love the faster, more hands on experience. Nightingale has everything I wanted in a school.”

Malia Seamons: “… of the ease of the schedule. I have a young family so I need all the time I can get.”

Bhumika Chaudhari: “… I want to be a successful nurse.”

Savannah Salvesen: “… I like the smaller class size and the welcoming faculty.”

Cindy Anfinson: “… it was fast and easy to get into the nursing program without a waiting list.”

Michelle Pattison: “… it works with my busy life. I’m able to balance my family, my job, and my schooling.”

Krista Price: “… I want to have a better life for my family.”

Adam Nance: “… they accepted me.”

NiCole Kreitlow: “… I am ready to be a nurse – not be a college student.”

Diana Jones: “… I wanted to have a learning opportunity that was both hands on and would benefit me later, not just this textbook nonsense!”

Lindsey Thomson: “… I want to be a nurse! And they gave me the opportunity to pursue my dream.”

Emily Sheanshang: “… of the small class size and short wait time.”

Brittany Paige: “… I want to be a successful nurse!”

Shannon Reed: “… it’s close to home and the staff is wonderful.”

Megan Smith: “… I really want to be a nurse and didn’t want to wait.”

Clayton Green: “… no waiting list.”

Sandhya Prasad: “… there is no waiting list and tuition is cheaper compared to other states like California.”

Shay Williams: “… small class sizes.”

Jeff Rogers: “… It’s very personal and individualized to the students.”

Ian Hansen: “… of convenience, the accelerated program and personalized education.”

Shelby Milligan: “… I was accepted, close to home, very flexible with schedule.”

Amanda Wilson: “… I want to be a nurse.”

Why do you attend your college?