Nursing school keeps you busy to put it lightly. There’s preparing for clinicals, studying for exams, and making sure you’re at each class on time. Having a day job on top of it all can add to the chaos, too, but for many students, working during nursing school is a necessity. Fortunately, there are many great options for nursing students that don’t only provide a steady income during school, but also provide learning experience in the field and help them to become more successful as students in nursing school. Discover some of the ways nursing students can stay focused on their studies while still earning an income.
Factors to Consider During Your Nursing School Job Search
One of the biggest factors to consider when looking for a job during nursing school is a schedule that allows the flexibility to work with your changing clinical and class schedule. Your clinical schedule will vary between semesters, and most nursing schools will not allow you to miss many, if any, clinical or class days. Finding an employer who can offer flexibility to meet your clinical and class schedules will be crucial.
Like with any job, income is important. Finding a job that meets your income requirements during school will be an important factor that must be taken into consideration. One of the benefits to obtaining a healthcare-related job during nursing school is that these types of jobs typically have better compensation that other jobs available to nursing students. These employers are also more likely to be understanding of your often-changing school schedule.
On-the-job experience is a bonus for any nursing student looking to start their career in healthcare. While not necessary, experience with taking care of patients can give you extra knowledge and ability that can help you to understand how classroom instruction fits into real-life care and provide you with a better understanding of how to approach your clinical rotations.
Getting your first nursing job will be easier if you already know people who are working where you want to work, such as hospitals and clinics. Meeting and working alongside nurses and other healthcare professionals can not only help you land a job after graduation, but it can give you a chance to take a look into some advanced practice nursing roles so you can decide if a higher degree of education is something that you’re interested in.
Some jobs, such as an overnight nursing assistant position, may leave you with several hours of downtime. Depending on the employer, this can provide you with an extra chance to study for your nursing exams or clinical rotations while still being at work, getting paid.
Jobs to Consider
Nursing graduates often aim to find jobs in hospitals as a nursing assistants. This allows new nurses to work alongside seasoned nurses taking care of patients and provides great, real-life experience. Most nurse managers are very understanding of the flexibility required during nursing school and will typically work with your schedule. Nursing assistant jobs in hospitals typically do not require any certifications or education beyond a high school diploma, although some employers, such as nursing homes, may require completion of a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) course. Typically, the fact that you are studying nursing already will put you in a prime position to obtain one of these jobs. The experience that you will gain, the contacts that you will make, and the level of compensation for this position makes a nursing assistant position one of the best jobs that a nursing student could have during school.
Phlebotomists are specialists in drawing blood and obtaining samples for lab testing. Phlebotomist positions may require a certification, but many employers may offer on-the-job training. Working as a phlebotomist can be a great way to become familiar with patient interaction and working in a healthcare environment, while providing a high level of compensation for an entry-level job. Phlebotomists are typically able to have flexible schedules that work well while in nursing school.
The unit secretary for a nursing unit coordinates communication between doctors, nurses, and other healthcare staff while providing secretarial support for all employees within an assigned nursing unit.. They also help to keep track of paperwork for each patient and help manage the flow of the nursing unit. Unit secretary positions provide great experience and give future-nurses a better understanding of how the flow of work on a nursing unit moves while providing significant exposure to working in a patient care environment. This position can also typically be flexible and work with a nursing school schedule.
Patient sitters help watch patients who are suicidal, homicidal, combative, confused, in distress, at risk of falling, or at risk of hurting themselves or others. Patient sitter positions only require on-the-job education and provide a flexible job opportunity for those in nursing school. Some employers may allow activities such as studying while sitting with patients while others will not. Patient sitters will gain experience by interacting with patients and working in a healthcare environment.
Monitor technicians watch patient heart monitors and notify medical staff when anomalies or changes in a patient’s condition occurs. Monitor technician positions typically only require on-the-job training, and nursing students may be more likely to obtain this type of job than a person uninvolved in healthcare. The schedule can usually be flexible and accommodate the time demands of nursing school and monitor technicians will gain meaningful experience with working in a patient care environment.
Home health aides provide in-home patient care that does not require obtaining a nursing license. Home health aide training can be on-the-job and provides a way for nursing students to gain experience with providing patient care in a home environment. Home health aide positions typically allow for a flexible schedule and provide a good level of compensation.