Preparing your friends and family for nursing school

stories - familyDeciding to go to nursing school is an intensely private decision.

You have to decide if you are willing to spend your time pursuing one of the hardest programs in the medical profession, and if you are willing to dedicate your life to nursing.

When you have finally made that decision, though, you may not realize the impact that it will have on the other people in your life.

You have to think about how your decision will affect the lives of your children, your spouse, your boyfriend or girlfriend if you aren’t married, and your extended family.

The best way to prepare your loved ones is to include them in the process of your decision.

No one lives in a vacuum, but that doesn’t mean you need to ask permission to decide to pursue your dreams.

In the case of family, you will have to discuss with those closest to you why pursuing nursing school is so important.

You will also have to outline the sacrifices and problems that they may personally experience while you are in school.

If you have children, they are your first priority, and you need to prepare them for the upcoming sacrifices they will have to make.  You will need to explain that you won’t have as much time and that they may not see you as often.

In some cases, your child may have to spend more time with family or babysitters to ensure that you can meet your course load.

“Of course, they also have to be prepared to see you less, and you may need someone to lean on when the stress becomes too much.”

You should have a talk with them about why your nursing school is important, and you should always try to be there for them despite how busy you are.

Preparing spouses may require a different approach entirely.

Even if they are initially supportive, your spouse may not understand all that going to nursing school means, such as more responsibilities for children, taking care of the house, and operating independently while you work.

Most spouses – and students! – don’t have the slightest idea of how much time nursing school actually takes, especially if you combine that with a full time job.  You will also have to prepare them for financial insecurity, as if it very difficult to work full time and go to school.

If you don’t have a spouse, you may have a boyfriend or girlfriend, and they need to understand your time constraints, as well.

You need to explain to them that you won’t have the time or energy to spend on date nights or other together time as you will be in class, in clinicals, or studying.

You may even want to question whether you should try to maintain a relationship while you are in nursing school, and this requires you to be up front with your partner.

However, if they are dedicated, supportive, and understanding, they will be more a help than a hindrance in getting through school.

Finally, extended family usually needs some form of preparation for your foray into nursing school.  For instance, your mother or your sister may become the go to person for free babysitting.

It is important to nail down what you need from your extended family members before you just assume they will help.

If you need your family for childcare, then you have to ensure that they are willing to help you and are supportive of your dreams.

Of course, they also have to be prepared to see you less, and you may need someone to lean on when the stress becomes too much.

Having a family around you that knows their role and is supportive can help make the difference between struggling through nursing school and triumphantly crushing it.

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