Wednesday, June 19, 2024
HomeEducationHow to Juggle Nursing and Further Your Studies

How to Juggle Nursing and Further Your Studies

Choosing to further your studies as a nurse is an excellent decision. You will gain more career opportunities, allowing you to earn a higher wage and work in your chosen specialty. As exciting as this opportunity may be, it doesn’t come without its challenges, especially if you’re working alongside your education.

Fortunately, you will find success if you stay organized, work hard, and follow the right advice. Here’s how to juggle nursing and further your studies:

Study Online 

Going to university and attending work can prove too much for some nurses, especially if both areas are far apart – you might spend more time traveling than working! To avoid this, why not choose to study an online course?

Studying online comes with many benefits, including the chance to choose your work environment, fewer travel costs, and more time to yourself. There are plenty of online courses for nurses out there, so whether you want to become an FNP or a nurse anesthetist, you can do so without having to attend a physical classroom.

Have a look at Marymount University for online nursing programs to advance your career. Not only will you boost your career opportunities, but you’ll also ensure your nursing role isn’t compromised.

Let Your Manager Know 

As someone who has previously advanced in a nursing role, your manager will understand the extent of your obligations. So, instead of keeping your studies to yourself, let your manager know that your time is stretched thin. While they may not be able to reduce your hours, they might be more understanding when you say no to working extra hours or taking over another’s shift.

Not only that, but your manager may even provide you with great advice on advancing, especially if you plan on becoming a nurse manager yourself.

Choose to Go Part-Time 

This isn’t applicable to all nurses, but if you have the option, going part-time will lessen the load. Your first option is choosing a part-time course, which will take you longer to complete but will give you more time on each module.

The other option is to ask to go part-time in your nursing role. There are a few obstacles here, including reduced pay and your manager saying no, but if it’s possible for you, then it’s worth looking into. If it manages to improve your studies, then, in the end, it would be worth it!

Study on Your Commute 

Your work commute doesn’t have to be empty hours – use the time for extra study. This is especially helpful if you get the train, bus, or a lift to work, as you could pull out your study books and go over the notes you have made.

This may not be as easy if you drive to work, but there is a way around it. If you’re cramming for an exam, instead of listening to the radio on your way to work, you could record yourself speaking your notes. It’s a simple way of getting more information into your head while using your time wisely!

Speak to Other Nurses 

The best advice you can find about juggling nursing and studying is right in front of you. Many of your co-workers have been where you are now, so why not ask them about their experiences? Even if they didn’t go down the same path you are on now, they might be able to provide some handy tips to achieve your goals.

Manage Your Time Wisely 

When it comes to studying while working as a nurse, it’s all about managing your time wisely. This is easier said than done, especially when it feels like all your spare time is taken up by nursing.

Start by creating a schedule at the beginning of each week. By doing this, you make sure all your time is going to something productive, even if that’s just some time to yourself to rejuvenate! You could also look into reducing your morning routine. If you spend a full hour getting ready in the morning, for example, there are probably ways to cut down on that time, such as taking a shower the night before or making your clothes easier to find.

Make the Most of Your Breaks 

As a nurse, your breaks are essential. While you should always take some time to relax, while you’re furthering your studies, you need to make the most of every minute, including your breaks.

Instead of scrolling through your phone or catching up on the latest news on your breaks, why not spend the time studying? By taking your textbooks to work and catching up on the latest assignments, you might even give yourself a spare hour to relax at home.

Keep a Study Diary 

A study diary will help you keep up with your assignments, classes, and deadlines. Purchase a physical one and keep it on you at all times so you can refer to it wherever you are. This way, when someone asks you for your time, you can easily see whether you can spare it.

You should also schedule your studying hours and stick to them religiously. After all, it is better to spread your studying time out rather than cram all the material in at the last minute!

Utilize Technology 

Technology is a massive help to all students and workers, especially those who study online. By using tech, you can keep up with your course mates, create schedules, keep your health in check, and research on the go. There are plenty of apps for students, so have a look at some of the best and use them to go alongside your studying.

Create a Study-Friendly Space 

Sometimes, it can be tricky to get into the zone, especially when you’ve just returned home from a ten-hour shift. One of the easiest ways to focus is to have an area entirely dedicated to research and study. Don’t worry if you don’t have a separate office in the home – you can make this space anywhere, from your bedroom to your kitchen table.

Some simple ways to create a study-friendly space include:

  • Removing distractions
  • Installing great lighting
  • Keeping it organized
  • Placing flashcards on the walls
  • Making sure the internet connection is strong

By doing this, once you sit down in your study space, your brain will be ready to focus.

Look After Your Health 

Juggling nursing and studying will sometimes take its toll on you, and you cannot ignore this. By ignoring your health, you could end up stressed, irritated, and burned out, which could, in turn, lead to poor grades and underperforming at work.

Of course, this is the last thing you want, so put the effort into taking care of your body and mind by exercising enough, eating a healthy diet, and engaging in self-care. While you have a lot on your plate, you must also prioritize your physical and mental health, as this will help you perform to your highest standards.

Be Realistic with Your Schedule 

With so much to do, you might be tempted to cram your schedule with studying, work, and extra studying. While you should fit as much in as you can, it’s not helpful to overestimate how much you can get done within a week. By doing this, you could end up crashing and then feeling overwhelmed because you haven’t completed what you intended to do.

Instead, when writing out your schedule, be realistic about how much you can get done. Keep in mind how much you usually complete, how much downtime you need, and how intense the workload is. For example, it’s probably not wise to put down five straight hours of complicated textbook reading!

Forgive the Mistakes 

You’ll inevitably make some mistakes. After all, you have so much on your plate! Don’t worry, though, as a couple of silly errors in your studies or at work won’t be detrimental to your whole career, as long as you notice where you went wrong and make an effort to not do it again.

Make the Most of Your Mentor 

Your mentor could prove incredibly valuable during your studying and working journey. Everyone needs guidance at times, and your mentor is there to provide you with that, so make the most of them. When you’re feeling stressed, overwhelmed, or you just have a question, go to them and see if they can help. After all, it is part of their role!

Keep Your Goals in Mind 

There is no denying that some days you’ll feel like the work is too much. Performing your best, shift after shift, while keeping up with higher education is no walk in the park, even for the most organized of individuals. During these moments, you must remember why you started and keep your goals in mind. By remembering where you’re heading and that this amount of work will not last forever, you’ll find the motivation to push through.

Keep in Touch with Your Tutor 

Your tutor is there to help you through your studies, so make the most of them by speaking to them often. If you have any questions about the source material, don’t shy away from asking them, as they could explain it in such a way that makes it click.

If you’re studying online, that doesn’t mean you can’t form a great relationship with your tutor. While you might not be able to knock on their office door, they will be only too happy to respond to your emails or even schedule an online face-to-face meeting with you.

Form a Study Group 

You can gain a lot from studying as a group, especially when your time is stretched thin. By meeting up with your course mates, either online or in-person, you can share notes, seek advice, and ask about the material you’re unsure of. Plus, you’re more likely to make life-long friends by meeting up regularly, and nursing friends are always the best to have!

Schedule a study meeting once a week so you and your course mates can get together and boost your knowledge. This is also perfect for those times you’ve missed a lecture, as your friends will help catch you up.

Be Present at All Times 

No matter how many classes you attend or how much over-time you do, you will not succeed unless you are focused. Rather than giving too much time, you should focus on making sure the time spent studying and working is as productive as possible. Being both physically and mentally present means you will retain more information, perform better work, and take more from the experience.

Be Open 

Do not tell your tutor you’re all caught up if you are behind, and don’t tell your manager you’re more than happy to take overtime when your schedule is already full to the brim. Be open about what you can manage, and if you are experiencing problems, let people know about it. Don’t worry – they won’t think you’re incapable if you admit you are struggling, as they understand how intense your obligations are.

The same goes for your friends and family outside of nursing. Let them know how you’re feeling, and they will be more understanding when you have to say no to plans or when you need an hour-long rant. Remember – the people in your life are there to help, so let them!

Enjoy the Ride 

Nursing is an intense, challenging, and wonderful experience, and you should enjoy every minute of it. This moment of your life is dedicated to setting up your career, so thank yourself for putting in the effort and make the most of it.

One day, you’ll look back and smile at all the knowledge you attained, all the friends you made, and how much you achieved during this time. You’re doing what a lot of people couldn’t – helping people while studying an advanced course, so remember to take pride in your work and studies and reward yourself when you can.

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