You CAN be a parent and a student nurse at the same time
18th Oct, 2018
It's safe to say that taking care of kids is no easy task. Now, throw studying to be a nurse into the mix, and you've got one ridiculously busy schedule! If you're already a student nurse struggling with endless essays, assignments and placements, you may be scoffing loudly at the idea of looking after little ones as well as battling through a demanding Nursing Degree. Maybe you're already a parent considering a career in nursing, but the thought of all that extra work is putting you off? Lisa Thomas has been there, done it and got the 'super-nurse-mum' t-shirt.
"As a married mum of three girls, aged 14, 13 and 11, I often get asked how I manage to juggle being a wife and mother with the demands of a nursing degree course. Not easily is the answer! But it can definitely be done and here's how..."
1. Find your people
You need a good team of people on your side. People who know what you're going through and people you can talk to after a bad day who'll understand. People who don't know what you're going through but will still be there for you with a hug/cake/coffee (or all three) when needed.
2. Don't be afraid to ask for help
You will not look weak for doing so. No-one is going to give you a medal for doing it all on your own. I could not have gotten to this point in my course without the help of my husband and other family members.
3. Make time for yourself
Everyone knows the saying 'you can't pour from an empty cup', and it's so true. Do not underestimate the importance of self-care. Try not to spend all of your time working or doing things for your family. Factor in some time for you too, to completely switch off and relax.
4. Keep your body fit and healthy
I know this one is difficult, but one thing you do need as a nursing student is stamina. If you want to get through those long day (and night) shifts on the wards and still have the energy to leave your bed on your days off, you need to fuel your body correctly - go easy on those sugary carbs, increase your protein intake and find something active that you enjoy doing. If you can find something your kids will enjoy doing too, even better! We often go walking together on the weekends.
5. Batch-cook your meals
Meal planning is brilliant - I'm a big fan of slow cookers and batch cooking. That being said, there's no shame in keeping a couple of healthier microwave meals in the fridge every now and then for when you're absolutely shattered and need to make something quickly. You can batch cook some great recipes for the kids too, which is always handy when you're in a rush or have fussy eaters at home.
6. Online grocery shopping is your best friend
You can literally do it in your pyjamas at home, any time of the day or night, and it's cheaper because you'll only buy what you need. It saves so much time when you're already running around constantly.
7. Be resilient
There are going to be times when you don't see your children or your partner very often, especially when you're working long shifts on placement or completing an assignment (or both). You will probably feel awful for it. Please remember that this too shall pass; it's only for a short time and there is an end goal in sight.
8. Keep a journal
Every time something good happens whilst you're studying or on placement, no matter how small, write it down. Perhaps you learnt something new? Maybe a patient said something kind to you? Write it down and read it during wobbly times. It will help.
Enjoy it! The time will fly by; you are doing something amazing and making a real difference in the lives of others.
Lisa Thomas is a third-year nursing student (adult branch). She is married with three children and lives in South Wales. Follow Lisa on Twitter: @LisaanneT_
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