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How to Build a Successful Nursing Career as a Working Parent

As a working parent who dotes on their kids yet wants to maintain a successful career, you have probably considered numerous jobs that could offer a healthy work-life balance. Whether you are a stay-at-home parent looking to return to the working world, you or your partner have been made redundant and require a new job, or you are simply fed up with your current profession, a career in nursing can help you achieve the ideal lifestyle. Becoming a nurse is an accessible career choice for people with children. There are plenty of nursing professions to choose from, you have an opportunity to branch out and grow, and you can become qualified in your own time. Not to mention, the actual nature of this field means that you will gain invaluable knowledge about how to properly care for your family and keep them healthy. Here is a guide to building a successful nursing career to help you decide if it is the right move for you.

Achieve More with Further Education

One of the first things you need to know about nursing is that it requires lifelong learning, especially if you want to continuously develop your career. With studies linking training and development with favorable patient outcomes, it is no wonder why education is so important for nursing professionals. In fact, many organizations have made it mandatory for job candidates to possess a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Formal further education is a surefire way for people to stay up to date with nursing trends and keep up with healthcare and medical reports without having to do all of the research themselves. Furthermore, the field of nursing is competitive, and getting a degree in nursing can help you gain an edge over others. Obtaining a degree also shows future employers your willingness to learn new things and displays your dedication to the field.

Get Your Degree

Besides learning more about the field of nursing, it is essential to gain specific qualifications if you want to progress to certain nursing roles. With nursing being a competitive field, it is a good idea to seek higher education to gain an edge over other prospective nurses. Not to mention, different nursing professions require different sets of skills, and to work your way up to higher-level nursing professions, you will need to be educated to an advanced level.

Associate Degree in Nursing

An Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is considered the first education step towards becoming a nurse, and programs take around 2 years to finish. This degree teaches prospective nurses everything they need to know to become skilled nurse, and it equips students with basic clinical skills. An ADN focuses on clinical tasks, such as monitoring patients, performing basic procedures, and maintaining patient records, and it can help those who want to become registered nurses (RN) get one step closer to their career choice. To become an RN, students need to take the NCLEX-RN before applying for state licensure.

Bachelor of Science in Nursing

As opposed to an ADN, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) gives you a more well-rounded insight into nursing, and the curriculum touches on more aspects of the field than just clinical skills, such as public health, management, and evidence-based practice. A BSN typically takes 4 years to complete, and the program exposes students to a variety of topics that range from nursing ethics to physiology. To pass a BSN, students must undergo a clinical placement in a supervised setting. With this degree, graduates can apply for registered nurse positions directly.

Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing

If you already have a bachelor’s degree in a field outside of nursing, you could choose to take an Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) to speed up the process. Using these credits, students are able to train as skilled nurses in 2 years or less. With the sheer amount of nursing programs nowadays, getting an ABSN online is much more achievable than before. Plus, there are plenty of advantages to learning online.

It is important to note that you will have to dedicate yourself to this full-time, so working while studying is not possible. However, as you will graduate within 2 years, this can mean you are reaching your career goals sooner than you would if you went another route.

Online Degrees

With an already hectic schedule, parents already have a lot on their plates, which is why going back to school might feel like an impossible feat. Luckily, with online learning options, getting your degree in nursing can be much simpler. Online degrees give parents the option to study in their own time – preferably after their kids have gone to bed. With program content completely online, parents do not have to physically go on-campus to gain knowledge in the field. This flexible way of learning makes it easier for parents to slot study time around their kids, but it reduces costs like travel expenses and enables you to find a place that allows you to thrive while studying. What is more, some online programs enable you to bypass the years of education and can take as little as 16 months to complete.

Accredited Programs

With a plethora of nursing programs to choose from, it is essential that you do your research and choose a program that is accredited by a trusted institution. This includes the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, and the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission.

Choose Hours That Complements Your Lifestyle

Now that you have an idea of different types of ways to become a nurse, you can begin narrowing down nursing professions to help you decide if the field is right for you. The field of nursing can offer a healthy work-life balance to parents if you know what you are looking for. Although it is true that there are nursing occupations that require you to work long shifts with unpredictable hours, there are plenty of positions that will complement the busy lifestyle of a parent. When choosing a nursing career, make sure you consider where you want to be in the field in the future and think about the hours and shift types that will complement your lifestyle.

Part-Time VS Full-Time

For parents who need more flexibility, part-time roles are the ideal choice. With a part-time nursing role, parents can usually negotiate the hours so that the job fits around existing commitments. However, part-time roles do equate to a reduced wage, and they are often much harder to find than full-time roles. When it comes to finding a good work-life balance while working full-time as a nurse, it is important to find work in a specific work setting. For example, working full-time in an educational or office environment usually offers more predictable hours than working in a clinical setting. Furthermore, the nature of the role and the type of activity you will be doing in your day-to-day work life should also be a consideration. After all, a nursing role that involves being on your feet constantly can easily wear anyone out, let alone busy parents who need to look after their kids after their shift finishes.

Different Types of Shifts

No matter what type of profession you choose, the shift-type should be a major consideration. For instance, those who work part-time hours might need to work a couple of hours every day or two long shifts a week. Similarly, full-time positions with a suitable shift-type can also be favorable for parents. As an example, nurses who work in education can enjoy shifts that complement their children’s schedules. Additionally, nurses who provide home care have more freedom to create a shift schedule that suits them.

Nurse Professions for Working Parents

Nursing professions can be incredibly varied in terms of the type of tasks performed on a day-to-day basis and the hours you work. Picking the right job for your lifestyle is essential if you want to juggle work and life commitments.

Roles in an Office Environment

Nurse professionals within offices often enjoy consistent scheduling, regular downtime, and good vacation allowances. In these roles, nurses are able to spend time with their kids in the evenings, mornings, and even on weekends. Not to mention, with a 9 to 5 type shift, nurses can also enjoy a healthy social life with family and friends. These types of nursing roles can be found in doctor’s offices and private practices.

School Nurse

A school nurse is responsible for assessing children, prescribing and administering treatment, and alerting authorities about suspected child abuse. The role also involves assisting kids with special needs and helping neglected children cope with socioeconomic issues. This type of position is lower paid than other RN positions, but the role can be very fulfilling for the right person. Parents who want to share similar schedules as their kids will benefit from working in educational settings. Additionally, working in a school also means parents can enjoy long vacations, regular hours, and evenings and weekends with their family.

Consultant

Consultants have the ability to create their own schedule while working in a WFH type of environment. This type of position is excellent for working parents with kids who have many different extracurricular activities. Nursing consultants can pick and choose the type of work they want, which increases their job satisfaction rate. They are also able to negotiate a rate of pay with employers. According to Indeed, medical consultants can expect to earn an average salary of $70,594 per year.

Nurse Practitioner

Nurse practitioners are a type of advanced practice registered nurses (APRN), and they have a wider scope of practice than a registered nurses. Statistically, this role is the best healthcare job in the states and the second-best job out of all other occupations. Besides a handsome average salary of $117,670, which is over $42,000 more than a registered nurse, nurse practitioners also benefit from a positive employment growth of 45 percent from 2020 to 2030. Furthermore, in some states, nurse practitioners have the autonomy to work in nurse-led clinics and provide primary and preventative care to patients without the supervision of physicians.

Other Important Considerations

Besides the nursing profession, the hours, and the shift type, there are many other things to consider if you want to build a successful career in the field of nursing. For example, parents with an accomplished career and a healthy lifestyle should also have access to reliable childcare, and they should have a good support system in place both at home and at work.

Seek Reliable Childcare

No matter what career you decide to go into, the one thing working parents really need is trusty childcare. Without that support in place, parents will always be worrying about their kids when they are away from them. Not to mention, without reliable childcare, they might be late for work sometimes, they will have to leave work early on occasion, and they might even skip work if they cannot find anyone to look after their kids. This is all bad practice in any industry, and it can severely impact career progression. Make sure you have reliable childcare in place in the form of trustworthy family and friends and professional childcare services.

Create an Efficient Support System

Creating an efficient social support system at home is a must for working parents, and juggling home life with work commitments requires excellent communication from all parties at home. A good support system can help alleviate stress and anxiety and will give you something to rely on when life gets overly hectic. Your social support network should include the people you live with, close family, and good friends. Whether you are struggling to find time to study for your online program or you are finding it difficult to overcome a challenge at work, an efficient support network can help see you through the tough times and give you the support you need.

Maintain Good Work Relationships

In addition to an effective network at home, maintaining good work relationships with colleagues and superiors can also help you achieve a healthy work-life balance. To improve your work and home environment, try to keep an open dialogue in the workplace.

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