How to Balance Your Studies with Work as a Nurse

Laughing hispanic nurse wirh file of patient at hospital

A lot of people choose to pursue a nursing career because they are passionate about helping others and want a career that can challenge them. It can also offer stability and a variety of career paths to follow, which is another reason why this career can be so rewarding. While all of these things and more can be incredibly rewarding in your nursing career, another challenge you will face along the road is balancing education with your work duties.

To become a qualified nurse and to obtain your nursing license, you will need to first complete a nursing degree. If you want to pursue specific roles later on in your career, you may need to return to education to get a higher qualification, too. This can sometimes feel a little overwhelming, particularly when you are already balancing a lot of responsibilities on your work placements. However, it is important to maintain a good work/study/life balance for better results and your well-being. Below are a few tips that you might find useful when you are studying as a nurse.

Set Yourself a Reasonable Study Schedule

It is important to set aside enough hours to complete your assignments and study throughout the week, but when you are also expected to work for several hours in a placement position, or if you are balancing an official job at the same time, this isn’t always easy. A good way to keep up with your studies is by creating a sensible study schedule that you have fitted around these other commitments. Aim to do around two hours of studying a day. You might even find that fitting this in throughout the day, like on your lunch breaks, can be beneficial, resulting in your not having to do so much when you may be rather tired at the end of your work shift. Whatever you decide, just make sure your study schedule works for you and is easy to maintain.

Practice Good Self-care

You should also be thinking about how well you are looking after yourself when you are working and studying to be a nurse. It can absolutely get overwhelming at times, and if you are burning the candle at both ends, it will only be harder for you to keep up with these demands. One of the best things you can do when you are balancing a lot is to make sure you are in a good sleep cycle. This will help to ensure that your body is getting the rest it needs so that you can feel a lot more energized and focused throughout the day. It can also help to reduce feelings of stress and irritability. Furthermore, eating a nutritious diet rather than living off of ready meals and take-out can help to give you a boost and make you feel better about yourself. Think about batch-cooking some meals that you can freeze for later in the week if you don’t have much time to cook every day.

Consider Suitable Approaches to Your Studies

It’s also super important to make sure that the courses you choose are going to be suitable for you. This includes considerations like the location of the degree program you’re enrolling in, the professional links it can offer you, and whether or not you can study full-time or need to do a part-time course to make balancing work and studies easier for you. You may also want to think about enrolling in online degree programs, as these are great ways to make learning more flexible and can usually be more cost-effective. Even if you are already a registered nurse who wants to look at getting a specialist degree, you can choose courses like this online FNP program which could be ideal to fit around your work schedule.

Do Spend Time with Friends and Family

While your studies are important and should be prioritized, it’s also important to recognize that you need to have breaks to get the best results. If you aren’t allowing yourself enough time to socialize and relax, you might soon find that you’re struggling with your mental health and even finding it hard to focus on your work. Make sure that you are setting aside time to see friends and family so that you can have some fun each week. This can help to clear your mind and help you feel refreshed, so when it comes to settling back down to study or a new work shift, you can feel more ready to take on these challenges.

Create a Good Study Space at Home

It’s also worthwhile taking the time to create a dedicated study space at home, as it can be easy to find yourself distracted in your living space. Whether it’s choosing to procrastinate with household chores or becoming engrossed in a TV show that is playing in the background, it’s easy to find anything else to do but study. This is why having a separate workspace in your home can be beneficial. Find a quiet room or corner that you can put a desk in, and make sure this area is free from other distractions. Adding some plants can help spruce up this area and could help you to feel calmer and focused, too. Make sure you are getting fresh air in this space too, as this will also help you concentrate. If you do find that studying at home isn’t possible as you keep getting distracted, then think about going to your local library or somewhere else that can provide you with this quiet space to focus on your assignments and learning.

Working as a nurse can offer many rewards and it could be the best choice you ever make in terms of your career. However, you do need to be prepared to dedicate yourself to your studies if you want to become a registered nurse, as well as potentially move into certain roles later in your career if this is something you want. This is why you need to get into good studying habits and find a good balance between this and the other aspects of your life. Use these tips to help you achieve this and help you thrive.

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