A career in nursing can be a great way to help others while also earning a good salary. But pursuing this career path can be difficult if you’re a single mother, especially if you have children at home.
Fortunately, there are several ways that single mothers can go back to school and pursue careers as FNPs with limited time and resources. In this post, let’s look at some of the most important steps for doing so successfully:
Determine Your Career Goals – To Be a Nurse or an FNP?
There are two main types of nurses, registered nurses and licensed practical/vocational nurses. LPNs must complete a two-year associate’s degree program and pass the NCLEX examination to become licensed.
RNs must earn an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in nursing, then pass a national licensing exam. As per Zippia, there are around 2,906,207 registered nurses in the US. RNs must also complete continuing education courses in some states to maintain their license.
Knowing how to become a family nurse practitioner is necessary as it will decide your destiny. Becoming an RN is often the initial step when planning to become an FNP.
You need at least one year of experience as an RN before taking additional graduate-level courses in family medicine or child health nursing. Many other requirements vary by state. For example, some states require FNP candidates to pass another board certification exam while others don’t.
Consider Taking Advantage of Scholarship and Grant Opportunities
Scholarships and grants can be a great way to fund your education. They often do not require repayment, so they are a good option for single mothers looking to build their careers but may not be able to repay loans immediately.
The application deadlines for many scholarship programs are at the start of the year. The more competitive scholarships will require you to write an essay or statement of purpose. Ensure you read all instructions carefully before submitting your application, as it won’t count if it doesn’t match the requirements exactly.
Remember, you should also look at scholarships offered by your community, such as those sponsored by local businesses like grocery stores or banks. These kinds of opportunities can help you pay for school without having any impact on federal aid limits.
Get an Education at a Good University
You have to have the right education. When you’re thinking about universities, focus on finding one with a reputation for producing well-qualified nurses. Look for online schools if you want to keep your costs low and maintain your job while going through school.
Some universities even offer scholarships for single mothers who want to become FNPs. You might also take advantage of other financial aid options like grants or loans. It will make it possible for you to pursue your education without worrying too much about finances.
Find a School That Has Online Classes
Online classes are a great option if you need to work full-time, have children, or travel frequently. According to Statista, 45.5% of higher education students were learning online in 2020 in the US. You can find one because online classes are trending.
Online programs may be your best bet if you live in a rural area and don’t want to drive long distances for your classes. In addition, if you have children who need care while you’re attending class, online schools can provide it for free or at reduced rates.
Online programs also make sense if you don’t want to spend hours commuting from home every day. However, some online nursing schools only offer one-on-one instruction by distance learning rather than group courses. In these cases, it’s possible that an instructor might not know how well students are doing with their assignments until they complete them.
Apply for Student Loan Forgiveness Programs
As a single mother, pursuing a career as a family nurse practitioner can be challenging. One of the most significant obstacles is the cost of education. Fortunately, several student loan forgiveness programs are available to help make this possible.
The federal government offers a few student loan forgiveness programs. Income-Based Repayment (IBR), Pay As You Earn (PAYE), and Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). Some state-sponsored repayment assistance programs provide grants and incentives for qualified individuals with outstanding student loans.
However, you need to be very careful with the documentation when applying for forgiveness programs. According to data from Education Data Initiative, 30.7% of denied cases are due to incomplete paperwork for public service loan forgiveness.
In addition to these options from the government, some private organizations also offer forgiveness programs for healthcare professionals in underserved areas. These organizations typically have their requirements for eligibility and require additional paperwork on top of your regular application. However, they can greatly reduce or even eliminate interest charges if you qualify for one of their repayment plans.
Take Advantage of Employer Sponsorship and Tuition Reimbursement
Taking advantage of employer sponsorship and tuition reimbursement programs is also a good option. These programs can help you reduce the costs associated with pursuing your education as a Family Nurse Practitioner. For example, if your employer offers a tuition reimbursement program, you may receive a handsome amount per year in tuition assistance.
To find out whether your company has an education benefit program, talk with HR or other staff members responsible for administering benefits. If they don’t know anything about it, they should still be able to direct you toward someone who does. Also, look at their websites or speak directly with representatives from companies offering nursing degree programs that have partnered with them.
Once you’ve found out whether there’s an official program available through one partner institution or another, all that remains is filling out the necessary paperwork.
Go Back to School Part-Time, but Work Full-Time
If you’re looking for an entry-level position as a family nurse practitioner and are considering returning to school part-time, it might be best if you work full-time. It will allow you to get your foot in the door or secure a job while still completing your studies. With part-time study, the goal is to eventually become a full-time student.
You can also pursue two degrees at once (an RN/MSN), which allows for more flexibility about scholarship opportunities that may require one degree but not both concurrently. However, this option does require more time commitment from yourself and those who care about you.
You Can Pursue a Career in Nursing While Fulfilling Your Responsibilities
If you are interested in working part-time, you can do so with a family member or friend willing to take care of your children. If this is not an option, there are affordable childcare options available. Many colleges offer daycare services or will allow you to use their facilities, which may cost less than paying for private care.
It’s tough to become a family nurse practitioner as a single mom. It requires education, certification, and licensure, but it can be the career of your dreams if you have the drive to succeed as a single mother.