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If you are a nurse who wants to further your education, you will no doubt find yourself weighing and balancing your current priorities and obligations. It will require commitment, communication and careful planning to maintain a balance between school, work and family responsibilities.
Issues you may need to consider include:
Discussing plans for advancing your education with your employer
Coordinating your employment and school schedules
Family responsibilities including childcare, if needed
Travel time/distance to institutions of higher learning
Method of learning: on campus or off campus?
One of the most important things you can do is talk to your employer before you start school to enlist support. Plan ahead to make sure your working situation will meet your needs -- as well as the needs of your employer. You may want to negotiate and write up a simple statement, to be signed by both of you, which delineates your agreed-upon priorities and methods of handling conflicting responsibilities when they arise.
Communication is an important part of maintaining balance in your life. Talk to classmates or graduates to learn how they juggled responsibilities. Be sure to talk to your work supervisor or faculty member or advisor as soon as you suspect that something might become a problem. Enlist the support of family and friends to help you handle your increased responsibilities. Being proactive will help to keep you headed in the right direction.
To ensure your success, plan ahead and be prepared to take care of yourself, paying special attention to basic needs such as exercise, nutrition, rest, and relaxation. Even though there are many factors to juggle when going back to school, the benefits of increased education are clearly worth the effort.
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