If you’re trying to complete an online nursing program while holding down a job, you need to discover ways to balance work and earning your RN-BSN degree online. You might struggle to complete your degree on time and with your sanity intact if you can’t find ways to balance work and earning your RN-BSN degree online. Building a support network, dedicating time to your schooling, and setting your schedule with your employer can help reduce the stress of completing your degree.

1. Prepare a Support Network

Building a support network is an essential step when searching for ways to balance work and earning your RN-BSN degree online. Your support network should consist of trusted friends, family members and reliable professionals who can step in to help when there’s simply too much for you to do on your own. They can also provide emotional support when things get tough. For example, a trusted babysitter can help by watching your children while you study. A house cleaner can remove the stress of maintaining your home when your career or schooling doesn’t leave you time to clean.

2. Plan Ahead

One of the most important ways to balance work and earning your RN-BSN degree online is to plan ahead by at least several months. You’ll need to meet several deadlines and milestones in order to complete your degree successfully, and you don’t want to forget about anything or be unable to meet a requirement because of logistics. Make a plan for when you’ll take certain classes, and start laying the groundwork for any internships or practicums you’ll need before you actually need to do them. Planning ahead will also allow you to anticipate any conflicts with your work schedule.

3. Work with Your Employer to Set Your Schedule

If possible, work with your employer before each semester to set your work hours so that you can complete your work and still have time for classes. Online classes are less intrusive than regular classes, but you may still have to work around several events, such as clinicals or a scheduled exam. Before each semester, take a look at your program requirements and anticipate which might interfere with your work schedule. If there are only a couple of events that might interfere, you may be able to simply arrange to take a day or two off. If the course requirements are more demanding, however, you may need to reschedule your work hours so that you can complete your schooling.

4. Dedicate Time to Study

When you’re juggling work and school, you can’t afford haphazard study times. Dedicate a particular time each day to focus solely on your studies. Set aside a specific area in your home as your study, and eliminate any distractions from that area. When your study time arrives, don’t let anything short of an emergency pull you away from your studying. Giving your degree the time it requires will allow you to do well in your classes and can ultimately save you from missing deadlines and repeating classes.

5. Give Yourself Time to Relax

Pursuing an online degree while working can help you avoid debt, but it will likely add to your stress levels. If you don’t take time for yourself, you might find yourself burning out and causing your work or schooling to suffer. It’s important to take breaks in both small and large ways. For example, while you’re studying, step away from your schoolwork from time to time to eat a snack or stretch. After completing major milestones in your schooling, such as completing a semester, give yourself a weekend to just relax and unwind.

Earning your nursing degree while working is a challenge, but you can be successful if you’re disciplined and dedicated. Finding ways to balance work and earning your RN-BSN degree online will help keep you sane without losing sight of your goals.

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