Getting a Master's degree with a young baby?


#1

Ok, so I've been going over this situation in my head for a long time but feel really lost as to what's right or what's best.

I think I feel called to receive my Masters in Nursing to become a nurse practitioner. I received my bachelors 5 years ago and do enjoy nursing, but over time I've been seeing in myself how I would probably make a better Nurse Practitioner than the Registered Nurse I am now. NP's can see patients much like a doctor and can order tests, interpret test results, write prescriptions, etc. They work under a doctor but generally have more freedom than a physician assistant for example. It is an awesome job and demand is going through the roof because they are cheaper to use than physicians and since they are nurse's they tend to have great bedside manner and the patients really enjoy that.

But I just gave birth 7 months ago and wonder how going to school with a newborn is like? I'm looking at programs that are 100% online b/c I think that would be my best option. I could go to school part time but it would take longer than the 2 years it takes if I go full time.

Has anyone here ever attempted school, either undergrad or graduate schooling with children, particulary ones less than a year old? Is it doable? My husband is behind me 100% and will do whatever it takes to help me complete the schooling. I'm just worried that if I start I won't finish from demands of being a mother and would've wasted the time and money. Also, I keep thinking in my head that since I'm a mother now I have no business going to school and should be happy where I'm at. I dunno, I feel so lost as to what I should do. :shrug:


#2

Hi there. I had a huge smile on my face as I was reading this. I too, am an RN and am proceeding with trying to go back and finish medical school. I was in pre-med when we got married but when we had our first baby, we decided I would stay home with her with every intention of going back to finish one day. Now, 11 years and 6 babies later we “think” now is the time. The fact that your husband is behind you 100% is just so awesome (mine is also). It will never be a waste of time and money to further your education even if for some reason it gets post-poned again. And just because you go back to school, it doesn’t mean that you are not happy where you are at, and your little one will still get huge amounts of love.

I say go for it. We need more caring practitioners and I’ve read some of your posts and your “advice” is awesome. Much luck and prayers for you as you sort through this.


#3

[quote="Momofmyangels, post:2, topic:205051"]
Hi there. I had a huge smile on my face as I was reading this. I too, am an RN and am proceeding with trying to go back and finish medical school. I was in pre-med when we got married but when we had our first baby, we decided I would stay home with her with every intention of going back to finish one day. Now, 11 years and 6 babies later we "think" now is the time. The fact that your husband is behind you 100% is just so awesome (mine is also). It will never be a waste of time and money to further your education even if for some reason it gets post-poned again. And just because you go back to school, it doesn't mean that you are not happy where you are at, and your little one will still get huge amounts of love.

I say go for it. We need more caring practitioners and I've read some of your posts and your "advice" is awesome. Much luck and prayers for you as you sort through this.

[/quote]

You have no idea how much this means to me! I'm about to cry LOL. :) Thank you so much for the support. Part of me thinks now is as good of a time as ever to go to school, babies and kids are busy no matter how old they are. :shrug:


#4

[quote="gam3rchic, post:3, topic:205051"]
babies and kids are busy no matter how old they are. :shrug:

[/quote]

Absolutely! Perhaps now is the time, before baby #2 or 3...arrives!


#5

I too would say go for it, it is totally doable. I am a law student right now. Luckily my Dh worked a swing shift so we didn't have to get a baby sitter (though I must say that was really tough on me, having to watch the baby and try and do homework at the same time). Mostly I waited until the baby would go to sleep to do my work or while I was at school. It is difficult and I was tired a lot, but I still pulled off decent grades. When my first was born I only took a week off before I went back to take my finals. This time I am not due until after fall finals and then get all winter break off with the baby. Also grad school tends to be very flexible for those with families.


#6

GO FOR IT!

You have the support of your husband...
You have a flexible solution with classes at home and online...
You aren't pressured for time...

So what's your excuse again? :shrug: :D :D

Prayers that this is a successful endeavor for you!


#7

Just for reference, my father got his Master's in civil engineering starting with a toddler and gaining an infant in the process, and while he was driving trucks for a living. It seemed to work out for the best our family, though I understand things were a bit rough financially at the time (though not so much anymore). I don't know if the nursing degree is more demanding time-wise or not, but I am confident that it can be done - especially if you're already working as a nurse now.

As for the other, I'm not typically one for the warm and fuzzy stuff (which you can probably tell by the fact that I call it "warm and fuzzy stuff"), but I would think that even actually-no-doubt-about-it being happy where you are shouldn't prevent you from getting a masters if you think it would be good for your family and make you happier, much less thinking you should be happy where you are now.

Personally, I'd go for it if you think it'd better for you and your family. It may or may not be difficult, but it's certainly possible, not to mention that being a nurse practitioner is a worthy goal in itself. We need 'em.


#8

[quote="gam3rchic, post:1, topic:205051"]
I think I feel called to receive my Masters in Nursing to become a nurse practitioner. I

But I just gave birth 7 months ago and wonder how going to school with a newborn is like? I'm looking at programs that are 100% online b/c I think that would be my best option. I could go to school part time but it would take longer than the 2 years it takes if I go full time.

Has anyone here ever attempted school, either undergrad or graduate schooling with children, particulary ones less than a year old? Is it doable?

[/quote]

the answer will obviously be different for every woman, for every family, for every baby, for every degree program, but yes, myself, 2 daughters, 2 sisters and numerous other colleagues have found this is excellent timing for going back to school. But you have to be in good health, well organized and motivated, have the support of your husband and family, and of the institution you attend, and the wherewithall to do it.


#9

I am also an RN with an advanced degree. Although I am not an NP, my program ( CNS) ran parallel with the NPs for much of the 2 years so I saw what they went through. Just a couple of thoughts.

I cannot imagine a completely online course for NP degree. You will need to spend a great deal of time on the physical exam and diagnostic courses and practicums. These cannot be learned online.

Do you plan to practice more than part-time? It takes time to become competent following school (you know this as an RN). You need to see lots of patients and different conditions and it's harder to build those skills as a part timer. If it's an office setting it can also be very long hours and you stay until the patients have all been seen. That can be hard with young children who might not be as flexible with your work schedule.

Just my thoughts as someone who got a degree recently. Meshing an NP career with motherhood and having babies depends a lot on the type of NP you will be and where you will work. Try talking to several NPs or young women MDs who are doing it to see what they have to say about balancing career and babies.


#10

Go for it!! while you only have one, and while your husband is behind you!

I earn my BSN while caring for my mom (which isn't the same as having a toddler, that's for sure). The only help I got was from hired help to watch mom while I was in class or clinical. I'd come home from clinical and the hired caregiver would leave, and if mom needed me, I had to be there. It was hard, but it was doable. If your husband is committed to helping you, you should be well on your way!

I don't think it's selfish for you to want to take a step further towards being a nurse practitioner. I'd recommend that you go to a school that also allows for some online courses, rather than doing online courses only, because it will be harder to be structured. Plus, when you're around, you'll be called to do things at home. I think you really need to get out of the house so that you're not called. Though online courses are great if you have the discipline.

Nurse practitioners are sorely needed, and if you have the calling to be one, you will bring a lot back to the community as well as your own family. I hope you do it!!! :)


#11

My coworker just got her master’s degree, with 2 small children and a full time job. She commuted 30 miles to the university after work. Her husband was very supportive and I think that makes a big difference.


#12

If you wait until, say, this child goes to school, by that time other perceived barriers may arise, so if you have the support you need, go for it.


#13

thank you everyone for your input, i really appreciate it!

as far as it being an online only course, there are a lot of clinical hours that are done not on the computer, so I guess I shouldn't say it's online only. all the book work is done online, but for clinicals I would have to find a preceptor (another NP or doctor) and do clinicals with them.

I'm looking at online for it's flexibility and the fact that when I got my bachelor's I was the kind of student that never showed up for class. :blush: i preferred studying on my own, I HATED the structure of class LOL. I know that sounds weird, but I hated having to be somewhere at a certain time, I liked doing my work on my schedule. It all got done and I graduated with honors. So I figure online would probably be a better fit for me. :shrug:

@momor, thank you very much for your post, I loved the insight you had. I think I'd go full time b/c I just want to get it done! I don't want to stretch it out longer than I have to. I like the idea of talking to other young NPs, I hadn't thought of that.


#14

[quote="gam3rchic, post:1, topic:205051"]
Ok, so I've been going over this situation in my head for a long time but feel really lost as to what's right or what's best.

I think I feel called to receive my Masters in Nursing to become a nurse practitioner. I received my bachelors 5 years ago and do enjoy nursing, but over time I've been seeing in myself how I would probably make a better Nurse Practitioner than the Registered Nurse I am now. NP's can see patients much like a doctor and can order tests, interpret test results, write prescriptions, etc. They work under a doctor but generally have more freedom than a physician assistant for example. It is an awesome job and demand is going through the roof because they are cheaper to use than physicians and since they are nurse's they tend to have great bedside manner and the patients really enjoy that.

But I just gave birth 7 months ago and wonder how going to school with a newborn is like? I'm looking at programs that are 100% online b/c I think that would be my best option. I could go to school part time but it would take longer than the 2 years it takes if I go full time.

Has anyone here ever attempted school, either undergrad or graduate schooling with children, particulary ones less than a year old? Is it doable? My husband is behind me 100% and will do whatever it takes to help me complete the schooling. I'm just worried that if I start I won't finish from demands of being a mother and would've wasted the time and money. Also, I keep thinking in my head that since I'm a mother now I have no business going to school and should be happy where I'm at. I dunno, I feel so lost as to what I should do. :shrug:

[/quote]

I'm also a parent with a young baby. I also couldn't do my Masters because I had a child. Everybody's different but being parent also requires you to be a nurse for love rather than money. If you're stifled then why not do a less demanding course, like a City and Guilds in another subject that interests you. But it's entirely up to you.


#15

You are welcome.

At least 50% of my courses were online only or both online and classroom combo. I enjoyed the online courses very much but be prepared for them to actually take more of your time and effort than classroom work. It’s very nice not having the commute though. I also learned more from my online courses. Be prepared to write and write and research and write some more. I attended a local nursing school so that made my experience a little different than a remote online model. It can be a little isolating if you are not able to interact with other nurses so take than into consideration if you are a collegial sort of person.

Most of my online classes required me to do group projects with other online students and there were deadlines which can be very challenging when you are depending on other people to keep up their end of things. Be prepared to have less flexibility than you might think in terms of when you have to be online. Find out if you have to find your own preceptors or if the school will help you. I had to find my own and it is not that easy unless you already have contacts (check out your workplace). It is a LOT of work for the preceptors with little or no payoff for them unless you can find a way to make yourself useful to them.

If you are not too interested in the scientific model and research, look for a program that is an MN degree rather than MS. It will save you a few credit hours too. There is much going on in nursing these days which is well worth checking out before you decide on a program. There is the clinical doctorate track which may replace the NP someday. It seems like those in academia are always agitating for new career tracks.

Feel free to PM me if you have specific questions about going to school online. I loved it, but it is more work than I thought it would be.


#16

Good luck!

I had my daughter at the beginning of my 3rd year of pediatrics residency. If I didn't love-love-love my job, I'm not sure how well we'd cope with the hours and the sense that we'd have a more orderly (and certainly cleaner) household if I didn't have a career. I'd never have made it if my husband weren't fully supportive--and not only my husband, but also our extended family as we need a lot of help juggling daycare, an occasionally sick baby, and long days at work. Right now I work full time (4 day weeks) which is important to do because even after >8 years of post-college training I am still seeing new things every day. I am hoping to cut to part-time in the next few years because doing this kind of schedule with one child is HARD and when we have 2+ it will be even harder. In my practice only one of the mom-MDs with more than one child works full time and a few have left practice altogether.

But since I DO love-love-love my job and see it as a form of service, there's no other arrangement that I can see--and we've spent countless hours praying to discern what God wants for our family.

It's do-able but hard. My advice to pre-meds is usually along the lines of "Do this if this is what you NEED to be happy. If not... well, it's a hard road." I know a lot of female MDs who've made it through training successfully--although all have gotten a lot of logistical support from friends and family. I'd imagine that NP training is similarly tough. Do you know what kind of lifestyle you're looking at after training and how that compares with what you have now?


#17

gam3r I started my MSN when my second was 4 weeks old and my oldest was 22 months. He'd come to class with me:) This was almost 11 years ago so there wasn't much in the realm of online classes either. It took me FOREVER because I was in no hurry and becasue there was only so much time I was willing to dedicate to it becasue of the wee ones, and I was still BFing etc., but I got to done in 4 years. It sounds like it could be great timing for you, and having the online option is great. Go for it!


#18

Thank you again to everyone for your input. I think I'm gonna go for it!!! :thumbsup: The school I'm looking at is full for fall quarter so the earliest I could start is winter quarter. That's fine with me, Collin will be a year old by then and as he's getting older we are getting into a daily routine which will be helpful for when I start school.


closed #19

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