Achieving a work-life balance is crucial for nursing students who are faced with the demanding and time-consuming nature of their studies. Juggling long hours of studying and clinical work alongside employment can be incredibly challenging. Failing to prioritize a healthy balance between personal and professional life can lead to burnout and excessive stress. The experience of maintaining this balance will vary for each nursing student based on their job, family circumstances, and enrollment status. However, there are certain strategies that can help students achieve the desired equilibrium.
Tips for maintaining work-life balance while in nursing school:
1. Stay organized: Managing a full-time job, nursing school, and other responsibilities requires a high level of organization. Make it a habit to effectively manage your schedule and create a calm environment at home.
2. Prioritize your tasks: Recognize that not everything on your to-do list can be accomplished simultaneously. Determine which tasks are essential and focus on completing those. Allow yourself to let go of non-essential tasks during this period.
3. Plan ahead: Anticipate upcoming commitments and plan accordingly. If you have an important exam, consider reducing your work hours the day before or avoiding consecutive long shifts. For family events, complete your schoolwork in advance to dedicate time to these special occasions.
4. Build a support system: Surround yourself with supportive friends and family members who can offer assistance during this demanding time. Seek help from babysitters, a partner who can assist with household chores, or children who can understand the need to prioritize your studies.
5. Celebrate milestones: Take time to celebrate your achievements along the way. Whether it’s completing a challenging shift or passing a difficult exam, reward yourself with something meaningful to stay motivated and focused on your goals.
6. Utilize online classes: Take advantage of online classes that offer flexibility and allow you to work at your own pace. Online programs can help you accommodate your work schedule while pursuing your nursing degree.
7. Maintain open communication with your employer: Inform your employer about your decision to return to school and explain how it may benefit your current position. Establishing open communication can lead to increased support and understanding.
8. Don’t hesitate to ask for help: Reach out for assistance when needed. Let your professors know if you require additional support, utilize student services teams, communicate with your employer about scheduling flexibility, and involve your family in supporting your academic journey.
9. Prioritize mental health: Recognize that balancing work and school can be mentally draining. Make your mental health a priority by engaging in physical activity, confiding in a trusted person about your stress, taking breaks to relax, ensuring sufficient sleep, and seeking professional help if necessary.
10. Remember the payoff: Understand that the hard work you are putting in now will pay off in the future. Obtaining your nursing degree will open doors to leadership roles, higher salaries, and more fulfilling positions. Keep persevering, and the rewards will be worth it.
Nursing students must prioritize work-life balance to protect their overall well-being. By implementing these strategies, students can navigate the challenges of nursing school while maintaining a healthy personal and professional life.
-Kerri Dutton, RN: Owner & Director of LNA Health Careers