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Should I work while in Nursing School?

Updated on December 6, 2012

Should I work or study?

As a nursing instructor, I have students ask me if I can help them find jobs while they are in nursing school or write them a letter of recommendation to find a job. I am happy to do both. However, I always like to have a discussion with the student because there are drawbacks to working while in nursing school. Some people don’t have the option to not work during nursing school. This article is aimed at nursing students who do have the option to not work during nursing school.

What if I need to work during nursing school?

If you need to work during nursing school, then you need to work during nursing school. I know that I worked full time and had a family to raise during nursing school. However, I would be lying if I said that my studying didn’t suffer. My work came first because I had to keep my job and feed, clothe and house my family. Working during nursing school can teach one to balance their time and allocate resources appropriately, which are very important skills to have once you reach the nursing floor. Sometimes, working during nursing school makes you a better nursing student because you don’t have the luxury of wasting time, making you a more productive and efficient student and person.

What if I don't need to work during nursing school?

You live at home with your parents or you have a significant other who is willing to support you during nursing school. Should you let them? Yes. Why? Because someday you can return the favor. Nursing school is something that, if you have the time and resources to devote to full time, can be very rewarding and fulfilling. You are going to need to pay for nursing school if you got loans, and the only way you are probably going to be able to pay back those loans is the graduate from nursing school. If you need a job to pay for cigarettes, Starbucks, or make payments on a brand new BMW while in nursing school or any other type of habit, it is probably a good idea to kick these habits now. Save every penny that you can so that you can make sure to pass the NCLEX the first time and get a job. When you graduate and pass the NCLEX, you will have more income to do the things that you want to do. It is better to live like a nursing student while in nursing school than to live like a nursing student when you have become a nurse because you didn’t devote as much time as you could have to nursing school.

Look for grants, loans, etc...

If you are able to take out grants, loans, or get other money to not work while in nursing school, then do it. Take out loans, find grant, apply for scholarships. Do whatever you have to do in order to make studying nursing a full time endeavor. Many of us who had to work full time while in nursing school envied those who didn’t have to work every day and then come to class. If you have a choice, try to make nursing school a priority. Trust me, there will be plenty of work for you when you are done.


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