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 to work while in nursing school, 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 as well as figure out how to have a healthy school/work balance and still have 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 a job that understands your biggest commitment is your schooling. An added plus would be a job that lets you hone skills that will be beneficial to nursing and that gives you an introduction to health 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.
- Orderlies, who help behind the scenes in a hospital or health care facility. Typically orderlies help sanitize various rooms, determine patient needs, and sanitize equipment for use. They also escort and transport patients to treatment rooms to receive x-rays or patient treatment.
- 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.
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 life-saver. 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 NCLEX-RN exam. 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 the commute time it may take you to get to these places around a job, you’ll also want to block off time to study for the program as well as for the NCLEX.
Classes and Coursework
Our Accelerated BSN courses are available in two formats: online and on-campus. Both formats offer the same curriculum, the only big difference is the delivery. For the on-campus option, you may need to schedule time to get to and from class, park, and have discussions or follow-ups with your instructor/classmates. If you’re online, you’ll still need to allow time for classes, completing online modules, and watching videos. No matter which ABSN path you are on, you’ll want to schedule a significant amount of time for studying as well.
Skills and Simulation Labs
You’ll also have skills labs and simulation labs that build on your coursework. At labs, you’ll meet with classmates and instructors at regularly scheduled times to learn how to apply safely and effectively such foundational nursing skills as:
- Nasogastric tube placement
- Head-to-toe patient assessment
- Wound care
In simulation labs, you’ll take your nursing theory knowledge and skills practice to the next level and “try on” the role of a nurse and all it entails — problem-solving, collaborating, and thinking on your feet — without the risk of harming a patient. You’ll also have the chance to discuss the experience in an open, honest debriefing session with your instructor and peers and receive constructive feedback on your approach.
On your schedule will also be time for your clinical placement rotations. Clinical placements are one of the most important components of the Notre Dame of Maryland Accelerated 2nd Degree BSN curriculum because they offer first-hand perspective and experience on how to deliver safe and effective patient care. In our ABSN program, you’ll work with patients and their families Under the supervision of a highly qualified clinical instructor in a variety of clinical settings and areas of nursing practice including:
- Medical-Surgical Nursing
- Advanced Medical-Surgical Nursing
- Psychiatric/Mental Health Nursing
- Community Health
- Clinical Placements
Because of NDMU’s close proximity to some of the region’s most prestigious health care providers, we’ve developed a robust network of practice partners within the area which our students can hone their clinical judgment. While we can’t guarantee specific clinical placement locations, you can expect to gain valuable real-world experiences at any of the following clinical sites local to the Baltimore metro area:
- Anne Arundel Medical Center
- Franklin Square Hospital
- Howard General Hospital
- Johns Hopkins Bayview
- Johns Hopkins Hospital
- MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital
- MedStar Harbor Hospital
- MedStar Union Hospital
- Mercy Medical Center
- Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital
- Sinai Hospital
- St. Agnes Hospital
- UMMC Midtown Campus
- University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC)
- University of Maryland St. Joseph’s Medical Center
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 some exercise and connecting with your cohort for support are all great practices to promote your well-being.
Curious about what to expect from your first semester in nursing school?
Are You Ready to Jumpstart Your Career in Nursing?
Accelerated nursing school is difficult, working while in nursing school even more so. Nonetheless, while generally not recommended, it’s possible to do — and the payoff to your future career as a nurse will have made it all worth it.
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 and get started today!