Is Working While in Nursing School Possible?

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Nurse in blue scrubs holding clipboard

Working while in nursing school is not ideal. Though you can work during the Notre Dame of Maryland University’s Accelerated 2nd Degree BSN program, we don’t recommend it. Between skills and simulation labs, clinical placements, and your coursework, becoming a nurse is a full-time job.

Balancing work and school is going to be tough, so before you decide that working during nursing school is the path for you, make sure you’ve spoken with the NDMU Financial Aid Office to be sure that’s your only option.

Still, we understand the financial aspects of going back to school, and that in some cases it may be necessary to work to make ends meet.

If you do have to work in nursing school, you’ll need to find a flexible job that accommodates your rigorous schedule and figure out how to have a healthy school/work balance while still reserving time for yourself.

Best Jobs for Working While in Nursing School

Because accelerated nursing school should be your top priority while in the program, you’ll need an employer who understands your biggest commitment is your schooling. Going to nursing school and working part-time is a better option than working full-time. Additionally, finding a job in health care lets you hone skills that will be beneficial to nursing and patient care. This list compiles the best jobs for nursing students and includes:

  • Nursing Assistants, who work to provide much-needed assistance to nurses during critical moments. Needed in virtually every setting a nurse might work in, nursing assistants work hand-in-hand with nurses to help nurses in any way that might be necessary, giving you great insight into your own future career.
  • Hospital clerical workers, who work with patients and hospital and health care officials. Hospital clerical workers typically help place doctors’ orders in the electronic system, answer phones, answer questions patients might have, and provide other various secretarial duties.
  • Caregivers, who provide companionship to patients, accompany their patients to important appointments, report on changes in conditions, or assist with the delivery of medication and meals. This can be a rewarding job for nursing students, as it gives them some much-needed experience in interacting with patients and providing essential care.
ABSN student standing in hallway

Balancing Full-Time Work and School

If you’re working and going to nursing school, it’s a good idea to buy a planner or start a spreadsheet. Anything that will keep you on track and organized will be a lifesaver. The Notre Dame of Maryland University ABSN program is going to keep you busy with 56 credit hours spread over four full-time semesters during our 15-month program.

The curriculum is designed to prepare you with the foundational nursing knowledge that will prepare you to sit for the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX-RN). You’ll still be learning the same curriculum as students in longer traditional nursing programs — just in less time.

While you’ll need to manage your time for classes, skills and simulation labs, homework, clinical placements, and commuting, you’ll also want to block off time to study for the program as well as for the NCLEX.

Working During Nursing School Pros and Cons

As we’ve discussed working while in nursing school isn’t ideal — however, that doesn’t mean there aren’t advantages to working if it’s something you’re able to balance. There can be pros and cons to nursing school and working part-time. In the chart below, we will take a look at a few pros and cons of working while in nursing school.

Working during nursing school prosWorking during nursing school cons
Earning a paycheckDrastically less free time
Gaining work experienceManaging schedule conflicts
Building a network of referencesBurnout risk/increases stress

Self-Care While in Accelerated Nursing School

As important as all the above areas are, one thing is missing in that list: you’ll also want to block off time for you. If you’re working while in nursing school, you’re going to be under tremendous stress. Luckily, our program is accelerated, so you won’t have to be stressed for too long, but it will definitely be hard.

During this time, it’s vital to practice self-care and keep yourself healthy. Self-care can help you avoid burnout and support your mental health. Eating right, getting exercise, and connecting with your cohort for support are all great practices to promote your well-being.

Are You Ready to Jumpstart Your Career in Nursing?

Accelerated nursing school is difficult, and working while in nursing school is even more so. Nonetheless, while generally not recommended, it’s possible if necessary. But by focusing on prioritizing nursing school for the 15-month ABSN program, the payoff to your future career as a nurse be worth it.

Notre Dame of Maryland University nursing student working in sim lab

Now that you know a little more about what it takes to work while in nursing school, are you ready to kick off an exciting new career as a nurse? It all starts with a phone conversation with one of our admissions counselors, who can help you determine if you’ll be a good fit for our ABSN program and if working during the program is a viable option for you. Contact us by completing the form to get started today!