How to Balance a Nursing Career, Kids, and Still Complete an Executive Program
Being a working parent is hard. Throw in a degree on top of it all, and it can seem downright impossible, especially if you are a working parent who has never found the whole parenting part of your job natural or easy.
Kids are resilient, but they can also be selfish and self-absorbed. This means that paying them less attention to focus on your degree can feel like inviting disaster into your life, but it doesn’t have to. There is no reason to protect your kids from reality. You are going to need to spend some time each day working on your degree. They are going to have to get used to that.
You can be a great parent, even working and even studying. Juggling it all is a challenge, but with this guide, you can balance them all.
Choose the Right Degree for Your Goals
There are so many different ways that your job as a nurse can take you. All roles that are well paid will typically require you to achieve an MSN if not more, though you should always start by getting your BSN so that you can keep your options open as you go. Kids can change your goals, but with a BSN you then can then work towards becoming a Nurse Practitioner or obtain other certifications for a variety of nursing specialties or even become an educator if that is what you want. There are many ABSN programs out there, and once you have your degree in hand, you have options to customize your career as you need to, but every step you take beyond that needs to be right for your personal ambitions. If it isn’t, and you feel like it is a waste of time, then your personal life, professional life, and working life are going to suffer.
With a BSN in hand, you have control to customize your career as you need to, but every step you take beyond that needs to be right for your personal ambitions. If it isn’t, and you feel like it is a waste of time, then your personal life, professional life, and working life are going to suffer.
When looking at degrees, you will always want to ask yourself:
- Does this help me achieve my dream?
- Is this possible?
- Is the campus too far?
- What support services are there?
- What are the financing options?
As a parent, there are many thigs that you need to consider when choosing a degree, starting with whether it is worth it. Online DNP nurse executive programs aren’t strictly necessary per se to achieve a nursing executive role, but if you want to cut through the competition and become CNO, then it is one of the best routes that you can take.
You need to be able to justify the effort to yourself and to your family. Only then can you work hard to see it through.
Start Updating Your Routine Before You Start
Once you have enrolled in the right degree, you will often have a little while before the degree itself starts. Typically, there are two start dates a year. The more time you have before it begins, the better. You have a lot to change with your routines before you begin to help support your efforts and parent your kids.
Improve Your Morning Routine
Nothing, absolutely nothing, is going to replace a good night’s rest. With irregular hours this can be difficult to achieve, but by keeping your morning (and bedtime) routines consistent you can wind your mind down through pattern recognition.
For example, if you listen to the same soothing song or playlist before bed, your mind will associate that with sleep, and you’d be surprised to find how sleepy you can get on-demand just with that.
In the morning, try to wake up with the same routine. Drink a glass of water, do some light exercise, eat breakfast no matter what time of day it is. Routine helps our bodies adjust no matter their circumstances.
Read Medical Journals on Your Commute
You will want to study on your commute in the future, so try to start reading medical journals now. You can use text-to-speak options for new and online journals as well, so you can do this even if you are driving and need to be hands-free.
Set Up a Study Space at Home
You need a place to work that is dedicated only to that one task. As a parent, you cannot spend more time outside in a café or library, so you will need to set up space at home.
Get Your Kids Used to “Study Time”
Make this space sacred. If you are at the desk it is “study time”, and you are only to be bothered for emergencies. You may need to reinforce this with time-outs if your kids don’t get the hang of it right off the bat, but don’t feel bad. You could even have them do chores during this time so that you all have free time later.
Your kids deserve to have your attention, not your split attention. By having study time where you are more or less off-limits, you can focus, get your work done, and then be a parent that is present and engaged.
How to Study Better, Even on the Go
To study better, you are going to want to do these two things:
- Write up your own notes that explain the critical information in ways you best understand.
- Make it easy to learn on the go by using text-to-talk tools.
How to Be a Great Parent
We have already brushed on the importance of being “on” when you are studying. Take this further by organizing activities your kids can look forward to. If you have more than one child, this will need to be split up into two ways:
- One-on-one time
- Group activities
This doesn’t need to occur every day. Once a week, you can have one-on-one time with each of your kids, and you can spend the Sunday doing something together as a family. Don’t be afraid to ask your kids for advice as well. Being listened to and seeing you try to take their suggestions to heart is a great bonding opportunity.
How to Be a Great Nurse
To be a great nurse, you need to focus on your own health and use what you learn. Reinforcing your education with your workplace will help solidify your learning and help make it feel like it’s all worthwhile.