You’re a single mom and decided to return to school for your nursing degree. You’ve found the perfect program that offers flexible class times, online courses, and a small cohort of students. Now all you need to do is figure out how to make the most of this experience. Here are some tips on how to successfully navigate your way through college while still taking care of your family:
Enroll in a BSN to MSN Program if Applicable
If you are a single mother with a nursing degree and you want to earn your master’s in nursing, enrolling in an online or hybrid BSN to MSN program may be the best option for you. These programs allow working adults to complete their degrees while maintaining their current employment.
The flexibility of these programs makes them ideal for busy moms who have already committed to work while they pursue their higher education. A survey by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing states that in 2020, enrollment in MSN programs increased by around 4.1%.
However, if you’re a registered nurse with an associate’s degree in nursing and want to earn your master’s degree, you may be eligible for an online BSN to MSN-FNP program.
An online BSN to MSN-FNP program will allow learning population-specific care, dealing with healthcare disparities, and assisting with healthy behavioral changes. These programs are designed for nurses who have already earned their associate’s degree in nursing and want to further their education.
These programs provide more job security than traditional on-campus graduate degrees. They can be completed online or through hybrid learning methods that provide access to both online and on-campus materials. In addition, it gives single mothers more flexibility regarding where and when they study compared to traditional graduate students.
Don’t Fall Into the Trap of Assuming You Need Only ‘A’ Grades
It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that you need to be a straight-A student, but that isn’t necessarily true. Nursing is a field where many people struggle with some aspects of it. It’s important to remember that most nurses find their niche and become good after gaining experience, despite not being perfect students.
If you find yourself struggling with a certain subject or class, be sure to ask for help from your instructors or other knowledgeable members of the nursing program staff. They will show you how to overcome any obstacles in your path so that you can excel at your strengths.
You can also work on improving areas where you are weak by taking advantage of resources like tutoring services or working one-on-one with professors.
Find a Part-Time Job That Can Balance Between Work and Family
The best part of having a flexible job is that it allows you to work around your family obligations. For example, if your child has an appointment or emergency at school or daycare, you can take off when needed. It also means you can be there for your children after school and on weekends.
The second best thing about having a flexible job is that it makes it easier for you to get home in time for dinner with the kids after class. Your kids still need their mother as a person who cares about them instead of just being another “working mom.” According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2021, 71.2% of women were employed in families that mothers maintained.
It’s necessary to find not only a job that fits into your schedule but also one that does not require extensive traveling. When traveling more than 15 minutes away from home becomes necessary, consider getting rid of the car altogether and using public transportation instead.
However, according to the US Census Bureau, nearly 23.5 million working women work full-time despite having children under 18 to take care of.
Create a Support Network for Childcare and Family Help
While working toward your degree, your child will likely need to be in childcare. Your best bet is to find someone who is flexible and able to work with your schedule. Don’t be afraid of asking around. Chances are someone you know has a cousin or neighbor who could use some extra cash by watching other people’s kids at night or on the weekends.
Another option is having friends or family members step up as babysitters when you have class over school breaks. It can be especially helpful if your child has special needs. It may not be a matter of paying for childcare but also ensuring that they’re safe and secure while staying home alone with an unfamiliar person.
Celebrate Your Successes Along the Way, Big and Small
When working toward a goal, focusing on what’s ahead is easy. But it’s important to pause and reflect on your achievements.
In addition to celebrating your accomplishments along the way, remember to celebrate milestones as they arise. Remember getting accepted into nursing school, surviving clinical, passing exams, graduating from college, obtaining licensure, and many more.
And don’t forget those little moments when friends offer encouragement or share their experiences and when family members surprise you with homemade meals because they know how busy life is. These things may seem insignificant at first glance, but they’re powerful reminders of why you are doing what you are doing.
Work with a Career Counselor to Make Sure You’re Headed in the Right Direction
As you embark on this exciting journey, ensure you involve a career counselor in your development. A good one can help you identify your goals and how to accomplish them. They can also help you identify the steps to get there, which is especially important when returning to school.
Many people have misconceptions about returning to nursing school after having children. There’s the idea that they’ll have no time and be unable to balance everything, but if you plan and take things one step at a time, it will all work out. You’ll need help figuring out where each piece fits your life’s puzzle.
Above All – Stay Motivated
It’s easy to get down on yourself and say that you will never be able to do it all or that your child will suffer because of your lack of time with them. But, remember, you are not the only one in the world with responsibilities to raise a family. In the US, there are around 15.62 million families with a single female householder and no spouse, as per Statista.
Remember that you can do it. You are still their mother, and they will love you no matter how busy you are. They will grow up in an environment where they see their mother as a strong, determined person who works hard to benefit her family and community. They may even grow up to become nurses themselves.
You Can be a Nurse and a Mother If You Are Prepared and Have Support
You are a mother, not a nurse. It is true, but it may be hard to accept right now. You may have spent your life dreaming of being a nurse, but now that you have a child that relies on you, this dream has been put aside. However, if you are prepared and motivated enough to succeed at nursing school and raise your child simultaneously, nothing stops you from achieving your goals.
It’s important to note that everyone has different needs when raising their children as single parents. However, there are some necessities that every parent should have. Becoming a nurse is a great option for single mothers. It’s an opportunity to provide for your family and be there for them in ways other professions simply cannot offer.