How the Military Helped Prepare This FNP for a Career in Nursing

Career in nursing

Going back to school while working full-time and raising a family may add a few more items to your weekly to-do list.

Meet Chamberlain students Paulette Smitherman, Rachel Sandy and Marlena Boeni, all of whom work full-time as RNs and balance school, family and careers. The RN to BSN Online Option students recently shared tips for how they successfully manage it all.

1.  Take advantage of downtime to study

Wound care nurse Paulette shared that being an online student has allowed her to use every spare moment to study.

“Since I take my phone and textbook everywhere, I'll read in the car and other places when I find downtime. It doesn’t take long to find your class online and read posts from other students,” she said. “The app has all the features that a full website does."

“I usually do most of my studying/school work on my days off,” said Rachel, who works night shift and has to be flexible with her time. “Before I go to bed I will do a little bit here and there as well.”

2.  Create a set study schedule

Marlena, the nursing director of a 150-bed facility, explained that having a set study schedule at night is what has worked best for her.

“My family is aware that my study time is between 8 pm to 9:30 or 10 pm, depending on what projects, readings or posts are due,” she shared. “Saturday morning, I wrap up my school week and finish any papers or tests.”

A set schedule has also been key to Paulette’s success.

“I study and do homework early in the morning before I go to work; I start my projects and email them to myself. During my lunch hour, I sit at my desk and do my homework,” she said. “If I don't get my work done, I will send it back in an email to myself and I will utilize the time from after dinner until bedtime to complete it."

3. Whether making dinner or running errands, make the most of moments with family

As many working parents know, spending quality time with family doesn’t mean you have to make every moment together a special occasion.

“My youngest is a sophomore in high school so I drive her to school before work,” Marlena shared. “My typical work day is long and I usually stay until after my patients’ dinner, then head home around 6 pm and make dinner for my family.”

Similarly, Rachel also makes the most of moments together with her family.

“I’m married and have a 7 year - old that I either get off the bus at 3 pm or pick up from daycare in the summer. At night, we usually eat dinner together as a family.”

4. Make time to practice self-care

Finding “you-time” seems like the last priority when juggling so many responsibilities, but make it as important as every other task on your list.

“I usually go to the gym about 3-5 days a week to clear my mind. I also like to take study breaks by going on walks or listening to music,” said Rachel.

Marlena also prioritizes time for herself. "I tend to my housework and enjoy the rest of the day swimming after I finish my schoolwork on Saturday mornings or I take a day trip on Sunday," she shared. “I’m taking one class at a time and that is manageable for my busy lifestyle. I’m very happy with my progress. Time is moving more quickly than I expected and I plan on pursuing my master’s degree next!”

Are you looking for more time management tips for nursing school? Check some out here!




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