One of the best parts about being a nurse is the ability to advance your career through simple, clear-cut pathways. You don’t need to argue your way into a better position. You don’t need to fluff up your resume or hope that the next person doesn’t have more qualifications or worse, a connection.
As a nurse you are always in demand. You know exactly what you need to qualify for more advanced roles. Nurses as a whole are already one of the most in-demand positions, and by 2030 it is estimated that over 1 million will retire, further increasing the need for new nurses at all levels.
With the exception of the CNA qualifications, all future qualifications can be done entirely online. From your BSN to your MSN, you can work and study and not miss a single beat. The only thing that can trip you up is your own health and time management, so follow these six top tips to help you successfully complete your nursing degree while you continue to work.
Choose a Great Online Program
The best way to complete your next nursing degree while maintaining your current job is to opt for online learning. Compared to night school, online learning allows you to complete your education at your own pace, all while taking advantage of more advanced learning tools.
What’s more, you can choose from the top programs in the country, not just what is offered locally. There are some great family NP online programs at a top university like TWU, which will allow you to learn from and work with some of the top educators in the country.
Choose the best, not just the closest, and make sure that it is designed to help support working professionals for the best start.
Work with Your Employer
You have a lot of bargaining power when studying to advance your nursing career, especially if that promotion will be from RN to APRN. Nursing shortages are felt throughout the country. The loss is so acutely felt that you may even be able to get your employer to pay for your education on your behalf.
At the very least, you can ask for more consistent schedules while you are working and advancing your education. Consistency is key to help you build up a practical routine. If you work some nights and some days, then you won’t be able to create a consistent routine that will enable you to work through your courses on schedule.
With the help of your employer and a more consistent work schedule you should be able to build routines that allow you to work, study, and enjoy downtime. Never underestimate downtime in this cycle; you will burn out if you push yourself too far.
Prioritize sleep, set aside a section of time to study, and try to combine activities for revision. If you can change your commute to public transport, for example, you can study on the go. If you drive, try to create voice notes for revision you can listen to on the way to work.
Create a Study Space
You can go to the library or a café if you prefer, but no matter what you need to have a designated study space. Try to choose a space that is not located where you relax, otherwise you will have difficulty getting “in the zone” when you need to study. By choosing or creating a productive space you can learn more in less time, and thus free up more chunks of your day where you can just relax and unwind.
Prep to Protect Your Health
Eating healthy is imperative for a strong mind and body, and the best way to ensure you continue to eat healthy even when your schedule gets busier is to prep meals in advance. Have friends and family come over to help you if needs be; just try to have your fridge full of healthy meals for the week to come. You’ll save time, money, and prevent food waste.
Learn Your Best Way
We all learn and retain information in different ways. The very nature of an online program helps you learn through text, online lectures, and hands-on work. Just because there are a variety of learning tools, however, doesn’t mean you should stop there if you are struggling. Reworking what you have learned into a medium that helps you remember information best is one of the best tips you can use to succeed in your degree.