If you’re considering become a nurse, here are some tips for how to juggle an online nursing degree in your busy schedule.
When it comes to working within the health sector, there is a lot of debate between becoming a doctor versus a nurse. In short, doctors are ideal for those who want to work in a career that focuses primarily on the health side of healthcare. And nursing is a career for those who primarily focus on the care side of healthcare. If you want to advance your position enough and become an APRN, then you can earn more than many who chose the physician and doctor side of healthcare (especially those at the start of their career).
These days, nursing is becoming more and more accessible. Basically, it’s a vital role that is becoming increasingly more attractive as a career route.
Why? Because many states today are starting to turn to APRNs to help offset the physician shortage. With greater responsibilities, greater career options, and new avenues of healthcare opening up with the advent of telehealth, it’s no wonder that more nurses are looking to advance their careers, and more people are looking to start their careers in nursing.
Unlike other careers, you cannot advance in nursing without first acquiring the minimal formal qualifications and passing the state exam. This means that every time you want to advance your career, you will need to complete an online degree.
Plus I founded a research based online course on relaxation called The Anxiety Cure.
I love to help people to live their happiest, most successful live. With this in mind I put together this online nursing degree guide.
My goal: I want to help you to strive towards your goals and to thrive throughout the process.
So please refer to this guide to help you juggle that online nursing degree with your career and private life.
A degree is a full-time commitment. A career is a full-time commitment. If you have children or other dependents, this too can be a full-time commitment. Juggling several full-time responsibilities together is no easy task, even if you take each of them on in a part-time capacity. You need help. Doing it all on your own is not easy, nor do you have to.
Your support network should and will be made up of people from various sources. Your friends and family are a great place to start but don’t stop there. You will also want the help and guidance of your peers and educators, of your co-workers and bosses.
Thanks to the online world, you can find support and a sympathetic ear almost anywhere. You can find a forum or group of nurses who are studying and working just like you where you can exchange advice, vent, and at minimum, just feel like you are not alone.
Ask for help, use the resources available to you, and most importantly, know how to prioritize so that you can be there and be present when it matters most.
There are many resources available today. If you find you cannot or don’t have the energy to make, healthy meals regularly invest in a meal service that takes a huge amount of the planning and prep out of the equation. Today these meal kits tend to be around the same price of buying ingredients from the store, and in many ways, they can even more economical as you cut out issues like food waste.
There are laundry services, food services, dog walking services, and more. Yes, these cost, but just knowing where to turn to when you personally cannot keep up with your responsibilities can be a huge relief off of your shoulders.
Don’t forget about the resources provided to you by your institution, either. Your student success coach is there to help you not only with advice but also by connecting you with the departments and services available to you through your university.
A great support network and an excellent list of resources can help you take on more without overloading yourself, but there will come times where you will need to make a choice of one priority over another.
Knowing how to prioritize is a key skill for nurses, and it is also a skill that will make a huge difference when it comes to juggling a degree, a career, and also your personal life. A good way to look at the different priorities in your life is that some are going to be made of glass.
These are the priorities that are time-sensitive, and though you may be able to have a redo (for example, if you don’t pass the state nursing exam on the first go, you can try again later), you don’t want them to break. Other priorities are rubber balls and can be dropped and picked back up without much damage at all.
Choosing what to juggle is also a consideration. Some can juggle a career and a degree; others just can’t or don’t want to. Knowing your needs and your options can help you choose the right nursing degree and path both into nursing and upwards into nursing.
Choosing the right degree is going to play a huge part in how well you juggle your responsibilities. Some programs require you to take them on full-time. But even with a committed dedication to a degree, you still have your health, your personal responsibilities, and your wellbeing to consider.
To help you choose the right nursing degree you need to know your options. Though not exhaustive, here are just a few of the paths into and upwards through nursing for you to consider:
If you are just getting into nursing, then you have a few options. You can take on a degree part-time while working full time, you can study part-time and work part-time, or you can study full time. Make no mistake, regardless of which option you choose, you will be juggling responsibilities.
If working is a priority, then you will need to ensure that the degree in question is designed for working professionals. If you can take time off from work to take on a degree full-time, however, then you will need a different set of strategies as your education will be intensive, with eight to ten hours per day required.
There are a few great options to transition your career into nursing. If you are looking to juggle work with your new nursing degree, then you will need to find either a part-time BSN or an accelerated, part-time BSN that has specifically been designed to be handled by working professionals.
If you want to fast-track through the process and earn your RN qualification in two years or less, however, then you will need to take on the program full-time. There are not only full-time BSN programs you can consider but there are also direct-entry MSN programs that allow non-nurses to earn their RN qualification and graduate with a Certified Nurse Leader certification.
This direct-entry MSN option, however, is still incredibly new. This online MSN degree from Elmhurst University is one of the first of its kind, and its intensive program requires full dedication.
More often than not, taking time out of your nursing career to further your education with an MSN or BSN to DNP program is not going to be an option. The RN shortage often requires every RN on board, and though you are progressing and will be able to offer a greater level of care and services for patients in the future, the healthcare sector simply needs you to work.
This is why many MSN and BSN to DNP programs are designed with working professionals in mind.
Juggling your personal life with an an online nursing degree after a long period of not being in university is a challenge. Juggling your personal life, your career, and a degree is a challenge. Knowing how to properly manage your time and stay motivated throughout your degree is the key to success.
Choosing the right program for your goals and needs is a great way to get started, but if you haven’t been in the swing of learning and studying for a while, then you are going to be in for a shock.
Regardless of which program path you choose, there are a few universal tips that will help you learn better and stay motivated throughout the degree.
Overloading yourself is a fast way to burn out in any situation. When it comes to a degree, especially an intensive one like a direct-entry MSN, the risk of overloading yourself is a very real one. Staying on top of the daily requirements for your degree will make a huge difference in your success rate and your mental health.
Don’t attempt to tackle all of your responsibilities in one chunk. We need to rest – especially when it comes to learning and memorizing. Fatiguing your mind will only mean that new information washes over you, which can lead to repeating lectures or readings when you don’t need to.
By breaking up your routine, you can add in essential breaks and give your mind the time to process what it has learned. Not only can this help improve your comprehension, but it also helps you with memorization.
Making a routine of your study schedule, especially if it is integrated with your working schedule, can also help reduce the energy you use. Every new experience takes more of our attention. Routine, on the other hand, allows us to get into the swing of things to the point where it feels easier, even if the work you do is the same.
Breaking gives your mind the chance to rest, but what you do on your break will make a huge impact in terms of how successful you are in getting your mind off of studying or work. You don’t want to sit at the desk during your break and scroll through social media. Social media is an attention grabber. It does not allow the mind to rest and wander and demands your attention in short bursts that don’t end.
Instead of going on your phone, aim to eat something healthy and rehydrate. If your break is long enough, try to do either some simple exercises or stretches, or even go for a walk.
Nature is an excellent addition to your study routine. Walking in a park or going on a hike works to improve your mood, your health, and even your memory. You can even combine the benefits of nature with your study periods during the warmer months by studying outside.
You will work at home on your degree, but that doesn’t mean you should only work at home or that you should allow your study sessions to take over your home. Find the locations that you personally find most productive. For some, this could be their living room, for others a café or a library.
A few golden options will be your library and your local community spaces. Libraries, in particular, offer a wealth of resources that go beyond a quiet place to work on your degree. You can look at additional readings, ask for advice on content from a librarian, and in general, soak in the atmosphere.
Public libraries are often populated by students, so even if you are taking on an online degree, you can benefit from that productive study environment.
Your brain needs to be healthy in order to successfully understand and absorb new information – and that goes doubly so if you are studying and working. Avoid foods that cause energy crashes and instead start improving your diet with slow-release foods that work to help you stay energized throughout the day.
Staying hydrated with water is another big tip that will make a huge difference in how you feel while you study.
It isn’t just your diet that you need to consider, either. Aim to be consistent with your sleep routine and improve your bedroom so that you can get more restful nights as well.
It is not easy to juggle or manage an online degree, regardless of whether you are taking a full-time intensive degree or juggling a degree and your career. With these tips, however, you’ll be on your way to success, so get started today.
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