Single parenthood is a challenge. Add starting an entirely new career on top of that, and you end up with multiple busy days and little time for relaxation. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible, though, and with a little organization, you can start the nursing career of your dreams even when single-handedly caring for your little one. Here are seventeen tips for a nursing career as a single parent.
- Choose an Online Degree
Single parents have little time to spare, making it difficult to attend school and get the qualifications you need to become a nurse. Fortunately, you can find online RN degrees, where you can study, communicate with your professors, and take assignments all from the comfort of your own home. That way, you cut down on travel time and costs, allowing you to spend more time looking after your kid.
Once you complete your BSN or RN degree and attain your nursing license, you can then go on to apply for online NP programs to advance your career even further. Remember – being a single parent doesn’t mean you can’t have a fulfilled, advanced, and lucrative career.
- Keep Up with Your Professor
When studying to become a nurse, it is crucial to keep up with your professor no matter what is going on. It helps to inform them that you have a child at home, too, so that they understand if you have fallen a little behind on the reading. If you are struggling to keep up, make sure you contact your professor straight away, as they will be able to put you back on the right track. As long as you’re open, honest, and determined, you will get through your nursing or online np programs.
- Choose Work Experience Close to Home
You will be put on a nursing placement at some point during your studies, and this is a crucial part of your education. It can mean more time away from home, though, so if possible, ask your tutor to place you somewhere close to home. That way, you are never too far away from your kid.
- Look for Part-Time Courses
Life isn’t a race. This is especially true for parents, as you want to savor every last moment you have with your child. To ensure you don’t miss out on too much of your kid’s childhood, consider choosing a part-time nursing course with online np programs instead of a full-time one. Not only will you spend more time with your little one, but you’ll also have less pressure on your shoulders.
Better yet – choose a part-time online degree. It will be much easier to fit that around your current job and your childcare obligations than a traditional full-time degree. This is handy for single parents, as they often don’t have too much money or time to spare.
- Look for Help with Childcare Costs
There are often schemes you can use to help out with childcare costs. Seeing as you might need to pay for more care than others, especially if you are working and studying at the same time, it’s sensible to make the most of these. Look into childcare resources for students, and you might just end up saving a whole load of money.
- Consider Your Future Prospects
You might know you want to become a nurse, but do you know where you want to work and what kind of nurse you want to be? It’s OK not to have a clear idea at the beginning, but if you want to go on to study online np programs or other specialized master’s degrees, you’ll need to know what nursing career you are aiming for.
Have a look into different nursing careers and what they entail before making any final decisions. For example, you might have always wanted to become a certified nurse-midwife, but it’s better to know all the details before you pay for advanced education.
- Study While Your Little One Sleeps
It’s understandable if you don’t want to sacrifice time with your little one for your studies. To avoid this, try studying when your little one sleeps. Children often need more sleep than adults, so while they’re getting those three extra hours than you do, take the time to sit at your desk and catch up on any reading. This works even better if you choose an online course like online np programs, as you’ll be able to catch up on classes during the evenings, too.
- Seek Advice from Nurses
Throughout your nursing studies, you’ll meet plenty of nurses, and many of them will have valuable advice to give. If you run into any nurses with children, don’t be afraid to ask them how they managed their career with a little one running around. Even if they don’t have anything new to teach you, just knowing that other nurses have been where you are now is a great motivation booster.
- Sign Your Kid up to School Clubs
Childcare doesn’t always have to come in the form of a babysitter or nanny – have a look at what clubs your kid’s school has on offer and sign them up to the ones they are interested in. Not only will it give you more time in your day, but it will also enrich your kid’s childhood. After all, what child doesn’t want to spend their time playing sports or practicing music with their friends?
- Find Solace in Your Reading
You started a nursing career for a reason, and the chances are, you genuinely enjoy what you are learning about. Instead of seeing your studying hours as extra work, find solace in those quiet moments where it is just you and your book. Squeezing in an extra five minutes with your textbook can be seen as a win, especially if your kid has been fighting to fall asleep.
- Ask Your Family for Help
Not having a partner around to help care for your kid is a huge struggle, especially when you’re trying to change careers. With the help of your family, though, it becomes a whole lot easier. Let your parents, siblings, aunties, and uncles know that you are interested in becoming a nurse, and they might offer a helping hand now and again, whether that’s picking up your kid from school or bringing over a takeaway when you have no time to cook.
Remember not to take your family’s kindness for granted, though, and treat them once you are settled in your nursing career.
- Make New Nursing Friends
The larger your support network is, the better. When attending nursing school or online np programs, make an effort to introduce yourself to everyone early on and keep in touch with them throughout the semester. Friends are a lifeline as a nurse, as they’ll help you get through the days when the work feels far too overwhelming.
- Make the Most of Your Time with Your Kid
While you should focus on your career, it is just as important, if not more important, to make the most of every minute you have with your kid. After all, you’re going to be busy, and you don’t want your child to feel like they don’t have fun with you anymore. Some ways to do this include:
Planning a Trip Together
By planning a trip away together, you have something you can bond over. When you’re together, you can discuss all the cool, exciting things you’re going to do. Plus, it gives you something to look forward to!
Pursuing a Mutual Hobby
Having a mutual hobby means you always have something fun to do when you hang out. It can be anything, from painting to dancing to bird-watching, as long as you both enjoy it.
Lots of Talking
It’s important to be interested in your kids’ life away from you, such as at school and their friends’ houses. By telling your little one all about your day, they’ll be more likely to open up and tell you what they’ve been up to. Even when they grow older and a little more distant, it’s still important to pursue those conversations.
- Take Some Time Off Your Current Job
While it’s not always financially or professionally feasible, take some much-needed time off if you ever get the chance. It doesn’t have to be a long period – if you have a big assignment coming up, for example, an extra day off from work can give you the time you need to research, read, and write your way to an excellent grade.
- Create a Quiet Study Spot
You might not have many quiet moments in your life, but it’s important to find a space at home (or at a local coffee shop) where you can study in peace. While it can’t always be quiet with a child around, you can still make sure it’s reasonably silent once they’ve gone to bed.
You should also take lighting, tidiness, and space into account when choosing where to study. By creating a calm and organized working spot, you’ll find it much easier to concentrate on your assignments.
- Focus on Your Goals
To focus on your goals, you first need to define them. For example, do you want to become a nurse practitioner? Do you want your child to get into a good school? Before applying for online np programs or other degrees, you should define both your childcare and career goals to ensure they can work together. Once you know exactly what your goals are, you will be more motivated to work hard.
- Don’t Forget About Your Own Needs
It is easy to forget about your own needs when you have a child, especially as a single parent and even more especially as a single parent who is working hard to change careers. It’s important to consider yourself from time to time, though, especially if you’re reaching burnout. If you ever feel stressed, anxious, or worried, remember to reach out to those who care for you and seek help. It’s also important to eat well, get enough exercise, and engage in activities you genuinely love.
Why Should You Become a Nurse as a Single Parent?
There might be times along this difficult path where you consider why you started in the first place. The truth is, deciding to become a nurse as a single parent is an excellent idea, and while it may not be easy, it will be more than worth it in the end. Some benefits include –
The Chance to Earn a High Salary
There are plenty of nursing careers that offer a high salary, especially if you pursue online np programs. For example, the average salary for a certified nurse-midwife is $112K per year in the United States. That’d certainly help pay for your kid’s tuition!
To Use Your Great Parenting Skills for Good
The skills learned as a parent have a lot of use in the nursing world, particularly empathy, patience, and the ability to calm somebody down. By becoming a nurse, you can use these learned skills for a great cause.
To Focus on a New Goal
All too often, single parents feel like their only goal in life is to raise their child. While this is fine for some, it helps to get a little bit of independence back for others. By becoming a nurse, you can do just that. Plus, you’ll get to meet plenty of friends during online np programs and your work placements.
Nursing is a Fulfilling Career
While there are plenty of careers you can switch to as a single parent; nursing is one of the best ones to choose, as it is fulfilling, interesting, and is a career focused on improving people’s lives. In addition, you’ll be able to go home to your little one each day and tell them that you made the world a better place.
Single parenting is no walk in the park, but that doesn’t mean you can’t achieve your dreams of becoming a nurse. By following these seventeen tips, you ensure both your kid and your career thrives.