Nursing is a career full of long shifts, hard work, and tough choices. The same can be said for parenting. By combining the two, you are left with a parent/nurse who has little time for themselves. If you are ever in this situation, you’ll probably wonder how on earth you can make it all work while acing your career at the same time.
Don’t worry – being a parent doesn’t mean you can’t develop your career as a nurse. So, if you have nursing ambitions along with a child, read on.
The best way to advance your nursing career is to pursue further education, but this can be difficult when you have a child to look after. So how would you attend classes, go to work, and look after your kid? One of the solutions is to search for online nursing programs.
An online course would allow you to pursue extra nursing qualifications without wasting too much time on transport and in-person lessons. Plus, you can schedule your studying around your other obligations. If you come home from your nursing job at 5 pm, for example, you’d have enough time to hang out with your little one and put them to bed before studying later in the evening. With online nursing programs, your education fits around you.
Make Your Daily Routine Much Simpler
As both a nurse and a parent, you don’t have the time for a chaotic daily routine. While an hour at the gym followed by a one-hour makeup routine might seem ideal to you, when you have so much going on, it’s hard to make it work. For this reason, it’s best to cut down your daily routine so it is as simple as possible. A couple of ways to do this include:
Creating a Simple Morning Routine
Some people spend hours getting ready in the morning, whereas others only need twenty minutes – aim to be the latter. You could simplify your morning routine by preparing your outfit the night before, showering in the evenings, and opting for easy-to-make breakfast foods.
Clearing Out Your Wardrobe
You don’t need to waste time on what you wear each day. To make every outfit choice easier, do a wardrobe declutter. Of course, that goes for your kid’s closet, too!
Batch Cooking Meals
It’ll be hard to fit cooking around your busy schedule. So instead of cooking every day, take the opportunity to batch cook lots of meals when you have the time. That way, when you come back from a long shift, you can put a meal in the microwave and have it ready in five minutes.
Keeping a Small but Close Circle
Having twenty friends isn’t necessarily better than having five, especially if you’re not very close with any of those twenty. However, by keeping your social circle small but close, you don’t have as many people to check up on, and those you do, you’ll genuinely care about enough to anyway. Plus, they’ll be more understanding when you can’t hang out for a while due to your nursing and parenting obligations.
Use Your Nursing Knowledge as a Parent
While nursing and parenting are difficult tasks, there are some benefits, like using your nursing knowledge as a parent. For example, you won’t be conducting a toddler physical exam or looking into medical records at home; you will be able to take some of the skills, like communication, empathy, and patience, and use them to become a better parent. Plus, when your little one is poorly, you’ll have a better idea of how to help them. So, when studying for online nursing programs, remember to keep some information for your kid to learn.
Find a Hobby You Can Do with Your Little One
It’s essential to make time for your child. As much as you want to perform well as a nurse, you’ll regret not making the most of the time spent with your little one if you only focus on nursing. Plus, you’re more likely to perform better at your job knowing your kid is happy.
One of the best ways to ensure you spend quality time with your child is to pursue a hobby together. That way, you both have something to look forward to when you get home from work. Some ideas include:
- Video games
- Board games
You could even pursue a project together. For example, you could place a bird feeder in the garden and then work together to document every bird that shows up in your garden. It’s the little moments like these that your child will remember forever.
Let Your Supervisor Know About Your Parenting Responsibilities
While your supervisor might know if you’re studying online nursing programs or pursuing extra training, they might not know how busy you are with your kid. So, if you are having a hard week keeping up with your nursing shifts and your childcare responsibilities, don’t hesitate to let your supervisor know.
They might recommend having someone cover one of your shifts, or they might even let you go home early one day so you can make the school run on time. While you can’t always expect this kind of treatment, it’s OK to ask for a bit of help when necessary. Of course, you can always agree to make up for the lost time.
Become a Master of Time Management
Time management is a skill you need to master if you want to perform well at work while winning the year. To work four twelve-hour shifts a week, look after a child, and get enough sleep, you need to be very tight with your time. That means having a quick morning routine, cutting down on travel times, staying in more often, and prioritizing responsibilities. It’s a challenge, but it is doable.
Take Time for Yourself
You might laugh at the thought of having time to yourself, but if you want to ace your nursing career as a parent, then it is a must. After all, you won’t perform well if you’re too tired and stressed to concentrate. Even just twenty minutes in the evening before you sleep to meditate, read, or have a bath can be enough to free your mind of external thoughts and give you the much-needed alone time you’ve been craving. Try to see it as a crucial part of your daily routine, like showering and eating meals, and you’ll find you can squeeze it into your day.
Find a Great Nanny
If you decide to apply for online nursing programs while working full-time as a nurse, you might struggle to find the hours to care for your little one. In this scenario, it’s a sensible idea to find a nanny to help out. This isn’t an easy decision, of course, but it could provide you with the much-needed time to advance your nursing career.
Here are a few things you should look out for when choosing a nanny:
How Much Experience They Have
While it’s good to give a new nanny a chance, finding one with lots of experience will give you peace of mind, plus, they’ll have more recommendations.
How Well They Bond with Your Kid
You should always ensure the nanny and child meet before signing a contract. That way, you’ll know whether or not they’ll bond.
How Many Hours They Can Work
You should consider your nanny’s schedule and whether it can fit around yours before hiring them.
How Close They Live
If your nanny lives far away, it might make last-minute arrangements more challenging, so aim to hire someone who lives relatively close by.
When deciding who to go for, you should take a good look at the potential candidate’s references. After all, you want someone friendly and great with children!
Your Gut Feeling
You should never ignore your gut feeling, especially when it comes to your children. If there’s a potential nanny who looks great on paper, but your mind is saying no, move on to the next potential nanny. While the nanny would most likely have been fine, it’ll save you worry!
Keep Pictures of Your Kids at Work
If you find that you are missing your kids during your long nursing shifts, then remember to keep pictures of them at your working station. While it doesn’t make up for spending time with them, it does help you get through a long day.
Call Your Family When You Can
With all the hours spent nursing, it can be challenging to see your family enough, especially if you’re studying for online nursing programs as well. Even if you can’t see your little one, though, you can still call them. If they’ve been picked up by their nanny, babysitter, or partner, make sure you spare ten minutes to give them a video call and ask them about school.
Choose a Nursing Job Close to Home
You’re going to want to save time anywhere you can, and one way to do this is to choose a nursing job that is as close to your home as possible. Not only will it help cut down on your traveling time, but it’ll also mean you’re close to home in case of an emergency.
Say “No” More Often
You don’t have to say yes to all plans when you’re a parent, especially when you are a parent who works as a nurse four times a week! It might be difficult at first, especially if you are a people-pleaser, but it’ll help you, your career, and your child, in the long run, to say no.
Saying no is particularly important when you are studying for online nursing programs and working the late shift at your nursing job. Remember – your friends will understand; after all, you have a little one you need to put first.
Teach Your Kid About Nursing and Healthcare
Why not pass on your knowledge to your kid? While they might not absorb all the details, they’ll come to learn that mommy/daddy helps people stay healthy every day, and they might decide to pursue that for their future career, too. Plus, telling someone what you’ve learned that day is a great way to cement it in your mind, which is especially helpful if you’re pursuing online nursing programs.
Choose the Night Shift
You might think the night shift would screw up your current routine, but it could save it. Not only will the night shift provide a higher salary, but it’ll also make it easier to spend time with your kid. After all, your kid sleeps during the night so that they won’t miss your presence!
Plus, the night shift will help you advance your studies, as you’ll be able to work at night and study for online nursing programs in the morning or the evening. Then, you can sleep when your kid is at school or nursery.
Hire a Cleaner
Striving to succeed as a nurse while parenting is challenging without the vast number of chores that await you when you get home. If you have a partner who has a similarly busy schedule to you and cannot keep up with all the cleaning, consider hiring a cleaner. It’s an extra cost, but it could end up making your life much easier, allowing your time at home to be spent with your kid rather than doing the laundry or vacuuming the living area.
Have a Support Network Available
While you might not want to rely on the help of your family and friends, you must remember that it takes a village to raise a child. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with your online nursing programs, or you can’t pick up your kid one day, ask your support network for an extra hand. Just remember to be there for them when they need it, too.
Remember to Look After Yourself
To thrive as both a nurse and a parent, you need to take some time to yourself. That means enjoying the quiet, indulging in self-care, and putting your needs first from time to time. But, of course, it’s not always doable, so when it is, grab the chance by the horns.
How to Ace a Nursing Career as a Parent
Nursing and parenting are both stressful but wonderful responsibilities. By following this advice, you are sure to thrive at both of them.