Nursing programs are notorious for being exceptionally challenging and time-consuming. People hear that their life has to come to a complete stop just to keep up with nursing school.
If you are about to start nursing school and have serious doubts about how it will affect your social life, this is the right article for you.
Yes, you can have a social life while studying to become a nurse. Despite the hectic schedule, there is a way to make time for loved ones and keep up with relationships. With the right tools, it is very well possible to live a balanced life between nursing school and family and friends.
This is the short answer, but there is more to it. You might find that your study habits that got you into nursing school might not be enough to pass nursing classes. Suddenly, it takes much more time to study for a test and do homework assignments.
Some concrete strategies will allow you to have time for studying AND a social life. But first, let’s talk about all the things that might make it difficult to have a social life still.
If you are not in nursing school yet, you might wonder what exactly is the hype about
See Also: Why Do Nursing Students Gain Weight?
Challenges to Having a Social Life in Nursing School
Long hours of studying
One of the most difficult things about nursing school is the amount of study material. This is a very significant change to pre-nursing. Your pre-nursing classes required a lot of studying, especially anatomy and physiology.
However, the amount of reading and homework you have to do in nursing school can seem very overwhelming because you will be required to complete these assignments in a very short amount of time.
What makes it more difficult to study nursing material than pre-nursing is that you learn to truly understand the material so you can apply it to various situations.
Studying for nursing goes beyond memorizing what you learned. Often this requires studying the material in multiple ways such as listening to a lecture or rewriting your notes on index cards.
That can take up a lot of time.
Long class and clinical hours
Most programs start out the first semester pretty heavy on class time. You can expect a full-time load on credit hours every semester. Class will be three to five times a week in the morning. On some of these days, you might have to spend time in the lab to practice your skills.
Clinical rotations start a few weeks into the semester and usually are one to two days a week.
Expect those days to occupy most of the day. Mostly clinical days require prep time and have assignments due that you have to bring with you.
Towards the end of school, you will start your preceptorship at a hospital. There, you will follow a nurse for a certain amount of days the entire shift and practice your clinical skill under a licensed nurse’s supervision.
Working a job while going to nursing school is almost everyone’s reality. Finding the right amount of hours to make ends meet, and still being able to have enough time to study, let alone for your family can be a real headache.
Now that we have discussed all the things that make nursing school as difficult as it is, let’s dive into some tools you can use to improve your social life in nursing school.
How You Can Balance Nursing School and Your Social Life
Here are some of the tools that actually help turn things around and allow you to have more time. Even if you don’t implement all tips, you should see some improvement and at least be able to spend some time away from your books.
This one seems obvious, but it is one of the most important skills you will have to learn. Managing your time can make a tremendous difference.
Using a planner is a great way to keep up with all your assignments. Some people stop there and only record their school projects. However, you can have better control over your time if you know how much time you have, including the things that are going on in your life outside of work and school.
Start to put everything in your planner, meaning all assignments, all appointments, and other things that need attention outside of school, and it reveals how much time you really have to do other things such a meeting with family and friends.
Write down the time it takes to do each task, so there are nor surprises.
TIP: be generous with the time you think a particular appointment or assignment takes. Usually, things take longer than expected.
This method seems time-consuming at first, but it helps you see how much time you spend in class and studying. It is easier to prioritize this way and set aside time for what matters to you.
Whether it is date night with your significant other or a play date with your kids, write it in your planner or calendar. Spending time with your family is just as important as your career.
Another habit that will help you make more time for a social life is to establish a daily routine. Try to organize your day so that you have time for your family every day. Use a specific time each day to catch up on things with your family. It could be dinner time or any other time that works for you.
Try to plan out your day the night before and schedule time with your family daily, even if it’s only for a short time. That will almost guarantee for you to be able to spend time with your family often.
Talk to your family and friends about the upcoming changes and make sure they understand that these changes will be only temporary.
Let your friends know that your time to meet will be limited and try to work out a plan for both sides. At first, it won’t be easy to stay connected with your friends outside of nursing school. Still, soon, you will realize it is simply a matter of communicating with that person about your situation and finding a way to stay in touch anyway.
It can be difficult to relate to the intensity of nursing school if you are not going through it yourself. However, try to be patient with your friends outside of nursing school.
Set a specific date and time to meet with them, so they know that even if you don’t see them often, you think about them and want to stay in touch.
Try to integrate your social life into your nursing life. You will spend a lot of time with the people in your class and clinical group, so it would be good to know them more.
One way to do that is by making friends in your class. Bonding with the students in your class will be easier because they go through the same hardships. Meeting with your classmates will allow you to talk to people about things not related to school. Mostly, your classmates have almost the same schedule as you. So it will be easy to find time to meet up.
Another way to combine your student life with your social life is to do things with your friends and family that you would normally do anyway.
For example, you could meet a friend for lunch or go work out together. Combining necessary things such as work out, eating, and other things can serve as a great date to meet friends that you wouldn’t see otherwise.
Call a friend or family member, whenever you do housework or other chores that allow you to multitask.
Do Nurses Have a Social Life?
Once you enter the workforce as a nurse, your free time depends on your accepted job position. Even though most nurses work three days on and four days off, some jobs allow nurses to work five days per week and only eight hours per day.
These job positions are available in hospitals’ procedural areas since surgeries and procedures take place during the week. Outside the hospitals, you will find these hours in doctor’s offices or outpatient clinics.
Regardless, whether you work a more traditional schedule of five days per week, or the famous three day work week, you will have more time on your hands compared to being in nursing school.
All the time that you spend studying, you can spend now with family and friends.