Working while in nursing school is possible, however we do not recommend it. Balancing a full-time nursing school courseload with job responsibilities can be a lot to handle. However, if you must work, find a job that has some downtime so you can study while you’re on the clock.
A question many prospective nursing students ask is: can you work while in nursing school? While it’s very exciting to be accepted and enroll in nursing school, you will still have expenses like rent, food, utilities, childcare, and other day-to-day costs. It’s not unusual for students to contemplate working while in school to remain financially sound. While working during an accelerated nursing program is sometimes possible, we don’t recommend it.
At Xavier University, our Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program in Ohio makes it possible to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) in as few as 16 months. Our program condenses all the content you’d find in a traditional four-year program into a much shorter timeline, thus requiring a lot of hard work, time, and dedication from students to be successful.
Completing an ABSN program takes significant drive and effort. You’ll find yourself fully booked with classes, labs, clinicals, and study. With these factors considered, can you work while in nursing school? Finding a way to balance all your commitments with a job will be challenging; however, if you need to work during nursing school, we have a few tips that will help.
How to Balance Nursing School and a Part-Time Job
If you do need to work while in nursing school, remember that nursing school is your priority. While your job might have its own demands and pressures, thinking long term about how nursing school is your path to a career will encourage you to put your education first.
Here are some helpful tips you can use to help you optimize your time when you’re working while in nursing school:
- Establish a good routine and workflow for the ABSN program before you start looking for a job. Fit the job around your nursing education, rather than the other way around.
- Be transparent with your manager before accepting a job. Make sure they understand and respect your ABSN schedule.
- If you’re working while in nursing school, your free time will be scarce. This means you will have less time for other activities such as hobbies, seeing family, having dinner with friends, and working out. Try to work as few hours as possible while still meeting your financial needs.
- Depending on what kind of position you take, try to bring your study materials with you to review during down time.
4 Tips for Choosing a Job if You Have to Work During Nursing School
Some people are unable to avoid working alongside their studies. They need to determine how to work alongside attending nursing school. If this applies to you, what methods can you employ to succeed in an accelerated nursing school while working?
Consult an admission counselor about your options before deciding to commit to a job while you’re enrolled in nursing school. Discuss the timetable and what to anticipate from the ABSN program with them. When thinking about getting a job while enrolled in an accelerated nursing program, it is helpful to have a firm grasp of the requirements of an ABSN program.
1. Find a Flexible Position
The secret to juggling nursing school with a job is flexibility. Consider positions where your schedule is flexible. You might need to work less if an exam is approaching or change your schedule to accommodate a nursing school activity. Your employer must recognize and respect the importance of nursing school first. It's crucial to work a job where your schedule is flexible.
2. Get a Job in Health-Care
When considering employment during accelerated nursing school, many students choose to work in the health-care industry as a nursing assistant, patient representative, phlebotomist, or surgical technician. By working in the health-care industry, you'll have the chance to develop some relevant skills and gain experience with patient care. If you're going to work, you may as well work in a position that will contribute to your long-term career goals.
3. Find a Job with Downtime
If you’re able to work the night shift (for example, at a desk job), you may have downtime which you can use to study. A position where you’re not actively doing labor or customer service can allow you to study during quiet periods while earning money. Jobs like gym receptionists, security positions, or front desk work can support this.
4. Seek a Remote Position
Do you possess any additional skills that might qualify you for a remote or independent job? If you have a background in biology, you might be able to find part-time employment as a remote scientific instructor. Consider working remotely as an academic editor or freelance writer if you have a gift for writing.
You'll likely find a way to use your extracurricular abilities remotely. You'll spend less time getting ready for work and commuting if you work remotely. You may be able to choose your own schedule for freelance work. Finding employment that fits these criteria will reduce the impact on your academic work.
Finding the Balance: We Can Help!
Is nursing school hard? The accelerated nursing program at Xavier is rigorous enough without having to juggle additional work. Take some time to get used to the pace of nursing school before starting a job while you're a student. Consider your stress level and mental load, and explore alternative financial aid if your stress level is high or your free time is minimal.
How hard is nursing school? Here are 5 facts about earning your BSN.
Our teachers, instructors, and success coaches at Xavier are dedicated to your success as a nursing student and are there to support you at every step of the journey. Consult a success coach before committing to a job in addition to nursing school. We can work with financial aid to help you assess whether working is realistic for you.
Are You Ready to Start Your Nursing Education?
If you have a non-nursing bachelor’s degree and want to pursue nursing as a second career, contact our admission team and inquire about our 16-month ABSN program. An admission counselor will answer any questions you may have about the program and can help you get started on your application.