If you have children and were considering advancing your nursing career, you might be thinking that it’s not realistic.
The problem is that you may be missing out on opportunities by stagnating.
You may also grow tired of your current position and crave something more fulfilling.
Advancement is often what keeps nurses in the field, and not advancing could eventually turn into career suicide.
The good news is that there are ways that you can advance your career today, even as a parent, and technology is one of the reasons it’s becoming easier.
Let’s take a look at Advancing Your Nursing Career as a Parent.
Have a Family Meeting
Before you even start looking at schools, you will need to sit down with your clan and let them know that things are going to be a little different from now on.
You also have to brief your partner on changes in duties if there are any.
Maybe they will now be in charge of picking up the kids from school or daycare.
You have to make sure that they’re ready so that there isn’t any friction or misunderstandings.
If you have little ones, let them know that mommy and daddy have to go back to school and that there will be some changes in schedules for everyone.
The younger ones may take more time to adapt, but they will eventually.
Consider Looking at Online Options
Next, we would suggest that you look at online programs.
If you have a master’s degree, you can find top-rated doctor of nursing practice programs online from some of the country’s most respected institutions.
You could get your credentials in as little as 18 months and some will allow you to follow your classes on your own time.
If you have a bachelor’s, you can also look at some of the bridge programs that are available out there.
Some will allow you to get from your bachelor’s to a DNP much faster than usual.
There are also bridge programs for registered nurses if all you have is an associate’s degree.
One of the great benefits of online learning is that you’ll still be able to be close to your kids.
If you have a partner and they work a different schedule than yours, you will still be there to look after the kids if they’re not too young.
This also works if you’re single if your work schedule allows you to handle your daily parental duties.
If it doesn’t, you can always ask your employer if they would be ready to put you on a part-time schedule or one that would be more accommodating.
Be Realistic with Yourself
You also have to make sure that you don’t overload yourself.
You may think that you’ll be able to handle working during the day and going to school during the evenings, but you have to know your limits.
You can always try it first, but if you notice that you can’t keep up, we would suggest that you either go part-time with work or your studies.
Another thing you should do is check when your peak studying periods are.
You may think that taking classes during the evenings would be easier for you, but you could actually have more difficulty concentrating during that time.
For instance, you may feel more comfortable waking up and studying when everyone is sleeping.
This could give you a chance to get a jump start on the day and work in a quiet environment.
We’re sure you already have some idea of your most productive periods, so you could try to squeeze courses or homework during those.
Have a Master Calendar
Now that you have a clearer idea of what your schedule is going to be, you need to have a joint calendar so that all family and personal events can be viewed easily.
This will prevent you or your partner from being blindsided and will eliminate excuses if one of you is.
You want to include important events such as exams, doctor’s appointments, recitals, etc.
You can also be even more granular and add your school schedule on there.
Encourage your children to add events themselves so that nothing slips through the cracks.
Use Nap Times Smartly
We know you may be tempted to use nap times to take a nap yourself, but this could a prime time to squeeze in some work.
This could be a great time to finish an assignment, study for a test, or take care of important chores around the house.
The more you’re able to do during that time, the less you’ll have to do either late in the evenings or early in the mornings.
Be Ready to Sacrifice Some Things
Even if going to online classes makes things easier, you will have to make a cross of some of the things you used to do.
You will need to look at all your activities and which ones may have to go to.
Some should maintain a priority, like getting some exercise for instance.
Anything that is essential to your well-being should stay. But you may have to cut on some visits to family or nights with friends.
If you had a particular activity that you loved doing with your kids, you shouldn’t eliminate them completely, but you may have to cut back.
This is again where having a good family meeting and plan will be important.
Schedule Time for Your Couple and Family
With that being said, you should also make time with your partner and family a priority.
This means that you should allocate time every week to them and them only.
If you can’t, then it might be because your schedule is overloaded.
You should also reserve at least one date night with your significant other each month.
Hire a babysitter and have fun so that your professional and school duties don’t start chipping away at your marriage.
Advancing your career as a parent is not an easy task, but thousands are in the same situation as you and are thriving.
The most important part is making sure that you are ready for the challenge and that everyone in your family is as well.
Check out these 3 Ways to Progress in a Nursing Career.