Working While in Nursing School: Is It Possible?

Each blog post is dated and contains accurate information as of that date. Certain information may have changed since the blog post publication date. If you would like to confirm the current accuracy of blog information, please visit our ABSN overview page or contact admissions at (844) 319-2107.

Working while in nursing school isn’t advisable, but it may sometimes be financially necessary. First, learn what to expect in nursing school. Spend a couple of weeks as a student to get a better idea of your schedule. Then, look for a flexible job that may fit into your schedule.

nurse's hands typing on keyboard

Your first career choice isn’t always the one you stick with for the rest of your working life. Some people take a dramatic U-turn and switch fields entirely.

If you’re thinking about becoming a nurse, you may wonder what to expect in nursing school and whether working while in nursing school is possible. Let’s consider what to expect and how you can juggle all your responsibilities.

Is Working While in Nursing School Feasible?

Nursing school is like a full-time job. You’ll likely log more hours between coursework, labs, and studying than you would for a standard full-time job. Because of this, working while in nursing school can be challenging and requires careful planning.

Remember that your nursing education is an investment in your future; it may be worth it to make some sacrifices now to pursue your dream career with all the opportunities it can offer.

Although simultaneously holding down a job and attending nursing school is not easy or recommended, it’s understandable that some nursing students may feel they don’t have much choice. Even with financial aid, supporting yourself while attending school can be tricky. If your circumstances require working while in nursing school, here are some options you can pursue while completing your nursing education. However, be sure to put in the necessary planning to juggle all your responsibilities successfully.

In addition, it’s crucial to remember your priorities. Since you want to graduate on time and enter the nursing workforce as soon as possible, you may need to cut work hours or resign if work becomes too difficult to manage alongside school.

What to Expect in Nursing School

Before determining if working while in nursing school is feasible, knowing what to expect in nursing school can be helpful. First, you should know that returning to college for four years might not be necessary to earn a nursing degree. If you meet the admissions requirements at Madonna University, you can earn your degree in as few as 16 months with our Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program.

madonna nursing student practicing on manikin

Admission to the ABSN program requires at least 60 non-nursing college credits or a bachelor’s degree in another area, among other eligibility criteria. There’s no need to have prior healthcare experience or education.

With the accelerated timeline at Madonna University, you can enter the nursing workforce much sooner than you might think. However, the program will proceed rapidly, so treating it like a full-time job is imperative.

Of course, the online coursework in our ABSN program can support your work ambitions by providing extra flexibility to your schedule. In addition to taking nursing coursework online, you can expect:

  • Onsite nursing skills labs to teach hands-on nursing skills
  • Onsite nursing simulation labs to practice responding to clinical situations
  • In-person clinical rotations at area healthcare facilities to build clinical experience

Nursing School Tips for Working Students

If you still have your heart set on working while earning your degree, use the following nursing school tips.

Plan Your Schedule and Know Your Priorities

As mentioned, thoughtful planning and prioritization are must-haves for juggling a job and nursing school. Figure out how much time you’ll need for your classes, onsite experiential learning components, clinical rotations, and studying each week. Add in more time to study than you think you’ll need. Then, decide how much time you’ll have left for work.

It can be tricky to know exactly how much time nursing school will require until you’re enrolled and attending classes. Because of this, consider delaying getting a job until you’ve been in nursing school for a couple of weeks. This way, you’ll better understand how much (if any) time you can designate for work.

Madonna students studying

Look for a Flexible Job

Flexibility will be crucial, so rule out the possibility of working full-time while attending nursing school. Instead, look for a part-time job with flexible scheduling options. Make sure your supervisor knows you’re a nursing student and that you must prioritize your nursing education. It’s best to be upfront about your availability; otherwise, you may encounter scheduling snags later.

Another possibility is to look for a PRN (pro re nata) job. A PRN employee works on an as-needed basis, such as when another employee calls in sick or to cover other staff shortages. A PRN job can offer more flexibility than a part-time job, but the downside is that you might not get much advance notice when a shift becomes available.

Consider Working Remotely

Some part-time jobs may be available with a remote work arrangement. Look for a “remote” geographical filter on job board websites or type “remote” as a keyword in a job search field. Many different types of jobs can be worked remotely. For example, you might find a position as a chat support representative.

Think About Becoming a Freelancer

Another possibility that offers flexibility is becoming a freelancer or gig worker. Freelance work can often be completed remotely. Consider your skillset. For example, if you’re good with graphic design or writing, you may be able to land some related freelance gigs.

A similar option is contractual gig work, such as delivering takeout food or Amazon packages or becoming a rideshare driver. These gigs typically allow you to work only when you want to.

woman holding moving box

Thinking of heading back to school to become a nurse? Check out this blog on how to pursue a career and switch to nursing in 6 steps.

Look for a Job With Lots of Downtime

Working while in nursing school can be easier if you find a job with plenty of downtime and few time-consuming responsibilities. For example, you might staff an information desk at a library that isn’t too busy or be an overnight or weekend security guard. These jobs can sometimes allow you to study when you are not busy.

A Healthcare-Related Position May Be Ideal

Some nursing students pursue healthcare-related jobs while working toward their degrees. This can provide relevant experience that may assist you in your future career, not to mention more work experience for your nursing resume. Of course, you won’t be able to work as a nurse until you finish your degree and obtain your license.

However, there are some entry-level positions to consider, such as:

  • Phlebotomist
  • Surgery tech
  • Cardiac monitor technician
  • Patient representative
  • ER/ICU waiting area reception desk
smiling nursing student

Some of these positions may require some training and certification. For example, becoming a phlebotomist may sometimes require completing a short training program and a certification, although this isn’t always true.

Whichever position you choose to pursue, remember that although working while in nursing school may be financially necessary, it’s essential to prioritize your education.

Begin Your Nursing Career at Madonna

When you’re ready to pursue your second career as a nurse, the admissions representatives at Madonna University are here to help. Your dedicated admissions representative will answer all your questions, review your eligibility, and guide you through the process step by step.

Remember: When you choose Madonna University for your nursing degree, you’ll enjoy the flexibility of online coursework paired with onsite experiential learning. Contact us today to get started!