Going back to Nursing school after years of having been out of school can seem like a daunting task, especially if you are already busy raising a family. Most wonder how they will juggle all the responsibilities they have at home while also meeting the demands of a rigorous nursing curriculum. While it may be challenging, it is not impossible. Here are a few tips on how to survive nursing school when you have little ones and a spouse depending on you at home.
It is very important that you make your family aware of the new journey that you are starting. Let them know how important going to nursing school is to you and how it will help the family in the long run. Be sure to make them aware that a large portion of your time will need to be shifted to this new endeavor but also make sure to reassure little ones that these changes will be temporary. Knowing what to expect will help everyone adjust to the changes nursing school will bring.
Make your family active participants of your nursing school journey. Have your kids test you using flashcards. Explain complex concepts to your spouse and have him or her ask you questions about it forcing to test your knowledge on the subject. Have family members take on more responsibilities around the house. Delegate simple chores to your kids. Also, involve family members outside of the home such as your parents, your in-laws, and siblings. Let them know about all your new nursing school demands and ask them how they might be willing to help. Some may be able to help kids with homework on a regular basis; while others may be able to help by keeping them occupied on certain weekends, freeing you up to study. You will be surprised how helpful some family members will be. They may have not gone to nursing school, but many of them may have gone to other schools and will be very empathetic to your needs.
Many nursing students nowadays are also parents and spouses and are dealing with some of the same struggles you will be dealing with. These students with similar domestic situations can make great “study buddies” since they understand these challenges. They may be available to study at the same time you are and will understand the need for a study friend that helps you study; not a person who distracts you from your studies. You may also be able to take turns watching each other’s’ kids so that each of you can take care of personal errands or have some much needed alone time with your spouse. School study buddies will be able to encourage each other in all things academic as well as personal, and may be a key to your overall success.
Life around you does not stop because you are in nursing school. You will get invited to what seems like a million events. Holidays will be approaching every month. You will want to get ready for them, decorate the house, and be at every event. You will want to be at every little league game, ballet class and school play that your child has. And while all these things are important, the truth is that more time must be devoted to studying for your nursing courses than to your personal life in order to be successful. It then becomes important to be disciplined and pick and choose which events you can go to. Select one to two social commitments a month but dedicate the rest of your time to your studies. Remember: nursing school is temporary. Once you graduate, you will be able to attend all the events and enjoy every single fun filled family moment. It’s a short time sacrifice that will eventually lead to your academic and eventually professional success.
Nursing school will become your world. You will be studying every free minute that you have. From laminated flashcards in the shower to answering practice questions on your smart phone apps. There are times when you study all day and still might not do as well as you thought you would on an exam. There are times when you will want to be there to put your children to bed but will not make it home in time from the library. You may not be able to be the “Super Parent” or “Super Spouse” that you want to be. You will feel worn out and overwhelmed. Don’t get discouraged by these moments. The truth is that any road to great achievements is filled with tough times and sacrifice. Just keep reminding yourself why you started on this journey in the first place.