Nursing is an exciting career that allows you to earn a decent living. You can work whichever shifts best fit your schedule, and you can find a job anywhere. These are a few of the reasons why so many moms work as nurses. However, it can be hard to juggle family and work while trying to move ahead in your profession. Here are seven tips for moms who want to advance their nursing career.
Have a Plan
Have a clear plan before you do anything else. Know where you want to see yourself in five years. What role do you want to fill? What degree and certifications do you need to be able to work there? Knowing these things allows you to shape your plan for advancement. Doing your research now saves you from wasting time and money on a degree or certification that doesn’t move you towards your end goal.
Once you have that end goal and the plan to achieve it, keep it front and center. Remind yourself of your desired end goals, like an advanced degree, a higher paying job, and easier workload, so that you’ll stick with your plan. This will get you through the long nights of studying after the kids have gone to bed, and it will help get you excited about the job search after graduation.
Establish a Support System
If you’re going to work and take classes, you need to be able and willing to delegate. Maybe it is Dad or another family member watching the kids while you’re studying. You should encourage the kids to do more of the housework and take responsibility for their own homework so you’re not so overloaded. Cultivate a support network so that you can rely on others to pick up the kids from school or take them to practice.
Don’t leave your boss out of the loop. Find out if you can study for classes or take online classes while you’re on your break. If you need more experience in a particular area to be considered eligible for a master’s program or promotion, let your manager know. On the flip side, discussing your educational plans can save you from future conflicts. For example, if they know you’re taking evening or weekend classes, they’ll know not to schedule you to work then.
Master Time Management
Time management is essential for parents juggling school, family and work. You can do it all, but you have to prioritize. You can work, study and spend time with your children. However, you may not be able to zone out in front of the TV or computer for a couple of hours before you go to bed, too. You simply can’t waste time. You can get more done if you intentionally multi-task, allowing you to get more done in less time. For example, you could workout while on the sidelines watching your kids play sports. Or, take your kids with you for a walk so that you combine family time with your workout. Study while they do their homework or take a nap. Combine errands to get more done in less time.
Note that you may not be able to do everything you’re currently doing, and that’s okay. Earning a college degree takes time and dedication. You may have to say no to others’ requests for help, whether they want you to run errands for them or volunteer for their pet causes.
Go for an Online Degree
There are a number of institutions that allow you to get your MSN MBA totally online. Mothers can better balance work, school and family when they don’t have to travel to a brick and mortar institution to attend lectures.
MSN MBA online programs are often more flexible than traditional master’s programs, too, so you can choose the start dates and time slots that better fit your schedule. You’ll also gain access to programs that prepare you for precisely the role you want to fill, whether this is healthcare management or organizational consulting. Choose a certified and widely recognized program, and you’ll hold a credential that may be better for your career than an MSN from the state school down the street.
Don’t Overlook the Importance of Continuing Education Courses
Continuing education courses are a must if you’re going to keep your nursing license. You should take advantage of them to further your career. For example, these classes could give you a strong foundation in content you’d learn later in a higher degree program. Or the material could keep you up to date on best practices and the latest technologies. At a minimum, keep ahead of continuing education courses so you don’t end up risking your current job while earning a master’s that allows you to move into a better one.
Diversify Your Experience
Most mothers can’t take up travel nursing to build a broad network and get diverse experience. However, they can experience other nursing units. This can give you an idea of what various nursing specializations are like, and you should have this before you invest the time and money into earning a master’s degree or certifications specific to that area. Spend time in different nursing units, and you could make yourself more marketable with employers, too.
Join Professional Organizations
A great way to advance your career is to join a professional organization – it looks great on your resume. They provide you with networking opportunities when you’re looking for a new, better job. Know that you can join both general nursing organizations and those specific to your specialty.
They often provide continuing education courses to members. They may also issue additional certifications that can advance your career. A professional organization can also provide mentoring, and guidance from a more experienced nurse could help you advance your career. Furthermore, they’ll automatically connect you to a much larger network and help you forge new relationships.
Moms and nurses are both asked to do a lot, and many women fill both roles. It is possible to balance career, family and education so that you can advance your career and do more for your family.