November 14, 2017

From Bedside Nurse ➡️ NP Student: Full-Time Student, Full-Time Nurse

Not every individual will have to work during nurse practitioner school. I, on the other hand, had to. I had a newborn and responsibilities in my life that did not afford me the ability to stop working full-time as a bedside nurse. I received my acceptance letter around the same time I found out I was pregnant. Both were a blessing, but I originally wanted to focus on one life-changing event at a time. Life is unpredictable, and when blessings come, you shut up, say thank you, and make it work. And that is what my husband and I did. We sat down and came to the conclusion that night shift would work best for our family. I am going to be honest with you - at first, I wanted to ignore the acceptance letter to nurse practitioner school. I was a new mother! I had no idea what the hell I was doing. I did not see myself being successful at both being a mother and starting graduate school. But mid-freakout, my husband held my hand and said, “You're just afraid, and that's okay, dear. But we will make this work. I don't want you regretting the decision later. At least give it a try.” I wiped my eyes and smiled. I was going to do this.

In the end, I worked nights, and I worked every weekend (I still do). It is the only way I can attend my clinicals during the week and meet my course requirements. Is it tough? Of course it is, but being organized keeps my academics and family life on track. I'm a full-time student, full-time nurse, and full-time mother and full-time wife. There are no gaps or holes. Every aspect of my life is in the green (I hope, haha) and I have a son with special needs. I make sure I stay engaged and present. I'm not some superstar. I am just professionally hungry and motivated. I have never half-assed anything I've set my mind to. If you are like me, you can do this too. The key is to be organized and prepared. My schedule usually extends a month out, and I review my monthly needs with my husband to make sure I have time for studying and exams, as well as pedestrian appointments and date nights. There is no point in failing classes, missing work days, and fumbling family events. You must balance everything, and that takes organization and maybe a little coffee. There will be days when you are tired. I have two friends do this very same schedule, and they manage it well. Some even have more children than I do, and they are rocking it! It all comes down to how bad you want it and what you are willing to do to make it work.

The point of this story is to let you know it is doable. There will be moments of anxiety, and you might feel overwhelmed from time to time. Just take a deep breath, remember why you started this journey, sit down, and get reorganized. Whether you are doing part-time or full-time, being organized is the key. Write your exam dates on a calendar, and write your work schedule down as well. Make sure you honor your commitments, and make sure you have a few days to decompress. The goal is to balance the vital things in your life, and it is possible with the right support system and mindset. I'm not saying this will work 100% for everyone regardless of setting. What I'm saying is that there are examples of people successful attempting the full-time "everything" gameplan. Whether you work or not, the point is that you're investing in yourself and your future. Every individual will have a custom journey. You determine what works for you.