Balancing a Nursing Career, Family, and Education
In celebration of the American Nurses Association’s National Nurses Week, Spotlight on Walden asked Dr. Phyllis Morgan, coordinator for the Family Nurse Practitioner specialization in the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program, for tips on how nurses can better balance their career and personal demands along with their pursuit of advanced degrees.
“Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is critical to minimizing the stress and anxiety that can come with the challenges of school, work, and a busy home life,” Dr. Morgan says. “Although it may seem challenging at first, make small changes to incorporate a healthy diet and find time for exercise to improve both your physical and emotional health.” Whether it’s taking a short walk outside to get fresh air or enrolling in a yoga class, exercise is a well-known stress reducer that contributes to your overall well-being in more ways than one.
“Having a strong support system of family, friends, and supervisors will help with the emotional challenges of your hectic life,” says Dr. Morgan, adding that if the stress and anxiety of balancing everything seem to be too much, consider talking with a mental health professional or counselor who can help tailor a plan of action to you and your lifestyle. “Nursing students, in particular, must protect their time and develop a schedule that will allow a balance between work, school, and family life commitments while still carving out valuable study time,” Dr. Morgan says.
Having a flexible job schedule can be beneficial for some nursing students, and using institutional resources that support student success is imperative. Study groups are critical to helping nursing students make the most of their educational experience. A small group of three or four peers can help a student better comprehend information and prepare for exams while also serving as additional support and providing potential career networking opportunities.
Being a nurse is a demanding enough profession on its own, but being a student too can make an already hectic schedule seem like a daunting challenge. But with the right attitude and support system, completing a degree in nursing is possible.
“Spend a few minutes taking stock of your schedule, and think about how implementing one or more of these tips can help you better balance the many pressures of your career, education, and family life,” Dr. Morgan says.