Nursing school (BSN) - two young kids - possible? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 17 Old 10-17-2010, 05:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hello mamas (and papas).

I applied for to start my pre-reqs for nursing school - so waiting to hear on that, but I'm pretty sure I'll get in. I'm currently working on a distance MLIS - which I like very much - but I don't LOVE (I'm a little more than 1/2 way done). I chose it primarily because I didn't think that nursing school with two little ones would be feasible and wanted to be in school ASAP. They will be 1.5 and 3.5 (or a little more) when I start actual nursing classes - so I'm assuming my little one will be mostly weaned by then which would have been my main issue before.

I just have been feeling the "calling" - and I know that's what you have to have and ignoring it because I didn't think it was do-able. I really want to go all the way and get my CNM - I did a bunch of health related stuff in high school and undergrad so I kind of know what I'm getting into.

To those of you who've BTDT, what do you think? I've got GREAT support - my mom and DH are AWESOME, the school is a 30 minute drive, clinicals (when they start) would be about that long as well.
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#2 of 17 Old 10-17-2010, 07:07 PM
 
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Mine are a tad older obviously, but I have other students in class with me who have young ones and 2 pregnant mams as well. I'm a 2nd year LPN student and one of the girls had a baby mid-semester last year even. (I'm transferring to 2nd year RN next year and then transfer from ASN to BSN from that, so I'm just taking a different route to get there so I can start working earlier as an LPN then RN while I'm doing BSN) Its tough, I'm taking 19 credits and have 2 days of clinicals, but I'm making it work while also caring for 3 kids and working outside the house. Not much time for a lot of free time but my DH and I are working together to make sure everything runs smooth at home.

Mom to Joscelyne 14, Andrew 12, and Mackenzie 10 and wife to Nate.
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#3 of 17 Old 10-17-2010, 10:53 PM
 
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I just started nursing school. My youngest dd will be two in November and my oldest will be five in December. It is hard but definitely doable. I have dd2 in daycare fulltime even though I am not in class that much. I use the time that she is in daycare to study so that when I am home with my daughters, I am able to focus on them and not have to try and study.

Good luck.
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#4 of 17 Old 10-18-2010, 12:20 AM
 
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I just have one who is now 3 1/2 and was 1 1/2 when I started my pre-reqs. I'm in my second semester of my BSN program and I've been carrying a 3.8 GPA so far. Dh is also a full time student so we juggle a lot. Ds goes to preschool 3 days a week and Dh and I alternate schedules otherwise. The schedule gets tricky with clinicals sometimes, but it's definitely doable. That's great that you have support, as that can really make all the difference in the world. I only work 3 hours a week (basically just gas money) as a CNA. We live in low-income housing and use state assistance, which we decided was what we needed to do to make our career dreams come true. Dh has at times worked full or part time and has been too hard on our family, so we decided that our time was more important than our money, and scrape by otherwise.

My biggest complaint is that I don't see Ds enough when it's a busy week. I just try to make it up when I have breaks or long weekends and we try to do as much exciting stuff as possible when we have those breaks!

Student nurse Mamma to Kaylum (3/01/2007) and wife to computer nerd DH .

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#5 of 17 Old 10-18-2010, 10:07 AM
 
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I would say it's definitely possible. But a lot depends on your situation and the support system you have.

I just finished nursing school this spring and I have a 4 (almost 5) yr old girl and a 3.5 yr. old boy. My daughter was 18 months when I started school. 9 months after that we adopted our son. It took me 3 yrs to get through the 2 yr program (it was a second bachelor's for me) because I took some time off when our son came home.

I'm glad I have it done, but it was not easy. Quite honestly there were a few times that it was incredibly difficult and I considered not finishing. The school work itself was not very hard for me. It was the stress of clinical rotations with little ones. It didn't help also that my husband's job was fairly inflexible and he worked long hours. But there were times when my kids really struggled with my long hours (we had almost entirely 12 hour shifts, which often meant my leaving before they woke up and coming home after they went to bed) and it was really hard on them.

Also, my school was not terribly flexible or helpful when I had problems. For instance, more than once, I had figured out childcare for clinical rotations and my schedule was changed with a few days notice leaving me scrambling to find something else while the clinical coordinator at my school literally told me that I could drop the class and take it again when I could "handle it". And after I took a semester off when my son came home, I automatically had lower priority for clinical space and so didn't get my preferred hospitals or schedules.

All that to say... I'm really glad I'm a nurse now and we survived it. But if I had to do it all over again, I maybe would have waited until they were a little older.
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#6 of 17 Old 10-18-2010, 11:57 AM
 
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Originally Posted by wek524 View Post

Also, my school was not terribly flexible or helpful when I had problems. For instance, more than once, I had figured out childcare for clinical rotations and my schedule was changed with a few days notice leaving me scrambling to find something else while the clinical coordinator at my school literally told me that I could drop the class and take it again when I could "handle it".
No kiddos for me yet, but I just finished nursing school last year and had friends in school with kids. The issue above that I quoted is what was a problem for the moms in my class. Nursing schools are notorious for changing clinical schedules (or just not posting clinical schedules) until the very last second. Now, part of this is not their problem because they are competing for clinical sites and are at the mercy of the hospitals. But, honestly, some of it is just poor organization. And, it wasn't just my school. Lots of nursing schools in my city and I've heard stories of disorganization from all of them. So, in our case, moms would be scrambling to find child care at the last minute.

All that said, all of the moms in my class made it through (and all of them have jobs now which is a feat in and of itself in today's new grad job climate). I was in awe of the moms in our class. It might not have been the most fun 2 years of their life but they made it work (and this was an accelerated BSN so basically double the workload in each semester).

Me , 36 year old RN and future AP mom in training . I am wife to one wonderful husband and "mom" to one great rescue pup :.
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#7 of 17 Old 10-19-2010, 03:30 AM
 
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It's rough but do-able. Having a good support system, as you do, will help a lot. My DD was 9 mos when I went back to school, and 2.5 yo when I graduated. She says she doesn't even remember when I was in school. I missed her and hated being "there but not there" even when I was home, but it went fast and was worth all the hassle.

“War is peace.
Freedom is slavery.
Ignorance is strength.”
― George Orwell, 1984
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#8 of 17 Old 10-19-2010, 03:53 AM
 
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Since you have great family support, which is key, go for it! The hard part about nursing school is the clinical rotations, for in addition to the 8-12 hours on the floor/unit (usually 2 days/wk per rotation, typically 4-5 lengthy rotations per program), there is a lot of preparation. This includes researching/writing care plans, understanding patho/drugs/treatments, being able to present knowledge/skills to faculty, etc... Also, classwork is often concurrent w/ rotations. But it's totally doable if you have childcare & treat nursing school like a full-time job. Just know that you cannot miss any clinicals, for in some schools they will even kick you out of a program due to absences or insufficient clinical preparation. Nursing school is a little militant, be forewarned.
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#9 of 17 Old 10-19-2010, 05:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the encouragement, everyone. I really need to hear all that - such an intimidating/scary thing to try and undertake with LOs. Have any of you done it without daycare? DD (2.5 now) does a "mother's morning out" program twice a week (we may increase to 4 days) for 3 hours. She's VERY introverted, and I think that this program is a good fit, and I'd be concerned about full-time daycare.

DH is also in school (very similar situation to Gator-mom). So we hope to get flexible schedules worked out. Are clinical rotations pretty random or usually nights and weekends?
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#10 of 17 Old 10-19-2010, 10:27 PM
 
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Thanks for the encouragement, everyone. I really need to hear all that - such an intimidating/scary thing to try and undertake with LOs. Have any of you done it without daycare? DD (2.5 now) does a "mother's morning out" program twice a week (we may increase to 4 days) for 3 hours. She's VERY introverted, and I think that this program is a good fit, and I'd be concerned about full-time daycare.

DH is also in school (very similar situation to Gator-mom). So we hope to get flexible schedules worked out. Are clinical rotations pretty random or usually nights and weekends?
It works well to have us both as students, except for the times when we both have a ton due at the same time. But for us, as it sounds like you have as well, the in-laws usually step in and help us out when we are both swamped!

My clinical rotations right now are 7am-2pm shifts two days a week, every other week. The weeks we don't have clinicals, we have a 5 hour lab. For the inflexible schedules, mine have been very consistent so far. I get my schedule fairly far in advance and they have not changed days on me last minute so far, like some others seem to have experienced. As for missing or being late to clinicals, our schools protocol is you can be late or absent with notice twice and make up the days you missed. If you miss 3 days, then you fail the class. In my program, if you fail a class, you do not automatically get kicked out of the program either. They will hold a spot for us in the next group, which means you take a year off, and then resume the next year. The worst part of clinicals in MO is the preps. They take FOREVER! And they are really meticulous about grading those, so you really have to be thorough. What I do, is I send ds over to the in-laws on the days I know I have a clinical prep to do. I let them know way in advance, and I tell everyone (including Dh) that I will be of no help on those days! If you are good about planning, it will really aid you. Of course there are last minute emergencies, but I think if you have a back-up plan, it usually works out..at least that's been the case for me so far!

Student nurse Mamma to Kaylum (3/01/2007) and wife to computer nerd DH .

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#11 of 17 Old 10-20-2010, 02:33 AM
 
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Clinicals in my nursing program were all over the place. I didn't have kids then. We had two days a week that were clinical days, I could either work a 12 hour shift or just a morning. I see that you are rural, I don't know how rural, but I went through nursing school in a rural area as well and we were required to travel. I did many clinicals at locations 2 hours away or farther at times. It was not optional because we had to travel to get in all the rotations, pysch, OB, etc... It was a 50/50 chance if we would get assigned to the hospital in town or one 60 miles away even for basic clinicals because of low patient numbers. Even when we traveled, we were required to do the full 12+ hour shifts. There would be several of us so we would just get a hotel room for the night. I had some nights, some weekends, every program is so different. My clinical days would also change semester to semester so I couldn't always count on anything staying the same.

Doing it without daycare would be possible if you had lots of family support. The study/prep time is quite intensive. We had numerous moms in my program, they all made it through, they did all do full time day care.

There is no way to happiness, happiness is the way.
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#12 of 17 Old 10-20-2010, 12:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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How about any mamas who've done an ABSN option? It's appealing for several reasons -
1. Done in 1 calendar year
2. Post-Bacc status (financial aid)
3. No general Ed - only pre-reqs

But, obviously the time commitment is even more insane than regular BSN programs. Thoughts?

TIA
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#13 of 17 Old 10-20-2010, 12:56 PM
 
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Originally Posted by studentmomma View Post
How about any mamas who've done an ABSN option? It's appealing for several reasons -
1. Done in 1 calendar year
2. Post-Bacc status (financial aid)
3. No general Ed - only pre-reqs

But, obviously the time commitment is even more insane than regular BSN programs. Thoughts?

TIA
Again, not a mama, but I just finished an ABSN program last December. It was an insane time commitment, but it was the best option for me to become an RN. Faster than an associates, at least calendar-time-wise if you have your pre-reqs done. But, unless you have a (pretty recent) bachelor's in a science field, there are a LOT of pre-reqs. Off the top of my head, 2 semesters of A&P, microbiology, pharmacology, developmental psych, chemistry, healthcare ethics, nutrition, etc. You have to have these completed before starting your program as the ABSN programs are solely the nursing courses, condensed into double each semester.

As for the post-Bacc status, since it is actually a 2nd bachelor's degree, I don't believe it is considered post-baccalaureate for financial aid. (In other words, not grad school) Unless, of course, you are doing a combined program that goes straight ABSN to MSN.

For the time commitment, I can tell you that it was very much a full time job. Classes all day at least a few days a week and labs or clinicals a full to half day on the other days of the week. A test almost once a week and a LOT of paper-writing so lots of time needed outside of class. I even had one half-semester where I had class from 8 to 12:30 and then clinicals at the hospital from 1 pm to 11ish pm on the same day.

It was crazy, which was why I was in awe of the moms (and 1 dad) in my class. But, it goes fast, you get very close to your classmates since you are together all the time, and it was over with in 16 months. Our mantra was "you can do anything for 16 months, right?!". All in all, I was grateful for the chance to do it. And, like I said, the moms (and dad) in my class all made it and now have jobs as RNs.

Me , 36 year old RN and future AP mom in training . I am wife to one wonderful husband and "mom" to one great rescue pup :.
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#14 of 17 Old 10-20-2010, 09:48 PM
 
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Originally Posted by studentmomma View Post
How about any mamas who've done an ABSN option? It's appealing for several reasons -
1. Done in 1 calendar year
2. Post-Bacc status (financial aid)
3. No general Ed - only pre-reqs

But, obviously the time commitment is even more insane than regular BSN programs. Thoughts?

TIA
I have a BS in an unrelated field, and have chosen to return to school for my ASN. I looked at both the ABSN and the ASN closely - the ASN "won" because the schedule is more flexible. Because my bachelor's is in an unrelated field, the pre-reqs for the BSN would've taken me quite some time to complete. I have fewer pre-reqs with the ASN program, and the daily schedule is less demanding. I figure I can go back for my BSN after I'm working, and let the hospital/my employer pay for it.

My choices were
1. BSN - lots of pre-reqs (full time), get into the program (full time) graduate in 2 1/2 years.
2. ASN - some pre-reqs (part time), get into the program (full time) graduate in 3 years.
I went with the ASN (and it didn't hurt that the ASN was cheaper!)

Proud Catholic, homeschooling, RN-student mama of
DS 10 reading.gif  DS 8 fencing.gif DS 5, DD 3 energy.gif and a new DS  belly.gif 3/2011
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#15 of 17 Old 10-20-2010, 10:04 PM
 
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I did it with a one year old, and then ended up getting pregnant during my third year (took a year off - then went back). It was a tough journey, but I'm working as an emerg RN right now (BSN) and absolutely love the flexibility, benefits, awesome pay, etc. Wouldn't change what I did for the world!

Full time working mom to two bright and busy little girls! treehugger.gif
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#16 of 17 Old 10-23-2010, 12:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all the encouragement. I'm definitely feeling better about the decision.

@gealach - I guess somehow this program (ABSN) has the post bacc status figured out for financial purposes. I feel pretty lucky there, and that has made it that much more attractive..

Thanks again mamas!
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#17 of 17 Old 10-24-2010, 09:24 PM
 
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I decided to go back for my BSN this semester after taking about 12 years off from school. Basically, I need to start from ground zero with my classes as I didn't do very well the first time around. I'm fine with it. I know it's going to be four years until I graduate but it well be well worth it. My children are a bit older DS 8 and DD 7. I am currently going to school fulltime and working three days a week, too. It's really hard balancing it all but I guess it is what it is. Afterall, I am really sick of waitressing. Best wishes, Mama!!

There are three things I learned about life. It goes on. -Longfellow

 

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