From the Cradle to College

How To Survive Nursing School As A Single Parent

Being a single parent comes with many challenges. Making the decision to go to nursing school adds another layer to the complications and struggles of parenting solo. Many people are able to successfully make it through nursing school while raising children alone. Below are some ways to survive nursing school while raising a family.

Look into financial aid.

Financial aid is available in many forms. The first step is to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, known as the FAFSA. Even if you don't want to take out federal loans, filling this form out will also help you find grant opportunities.  

Scholarships are available, but you may have to do some searching in order to find them. These do not need to be paid back if you are able to acquire one (or several).

Grants are also available, though they often require commitment post-graduation. Grant programs are especially common in areas where there is a shortage of nurses. If you receive grant money you may be committed to serving in a specific location for a period of time.

Loans are also available, but they do need to be paid back. You may receive federal loans but private loans are also an option. Many people do not like taking out loans due to the debt that comes with them, but sometimes they are necessary in order to get ahead.

Find online classes.

It may not be possible to have all online classes. Nursing is hands-on and will likely require some in-person work. However, many nursing programs offer online or hybrid (part online, part in-person) classes when possible. These types of classes can be convenient for single parents, as they can be done on your own time.

Surround yourself with people who support and help you.

Having family around that can help with childcare and also provide mental support for you is incredibly beneficial. However, many people aren't lucky enough to have that familial support system. Even if you don't have family around, utilize friends, coworkers or other trusted people to help. Don't be afraid to ask for help! A support system can help with everything from watching the kids to giving you some free time to take care of yourself. 

Have discussions with your children.

Nursing school will likely result in sacrificing other things. Be honest with your children about what you are doing, why you are doing it, and what may occur because of it. Vacations, dinners out, and extracurricular activities may have to be on hold in order for you to reach your goal. The long term, though, will allow or more of those things as you reach goals and progress in your career.

Keep your eye on the prize.

While going through nursing school, you will have ups and downs. It will be very hard, but remember the reason why you are doing it. Keep your motivation up, because the rewards at the end will be worth it!