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Nursing degree and single mum to a toddler?

(47 Posts)
thegreenbackboogie Tue 28-Jul-15 18:02:28

I'm contemplating doing a nursing degree when DD will be 3yo. I don't have support in terms of family and I'm also a single mum.

Would I be unreasonable to do this while she's so little and would it mean missing out on her growing up too much?

I'm a SAHM at the moment but as much as I love DD with all my heart, I need to study/work to stay sane. I just don't want to 'abandon' her at the same time.

Feeling depressed about it all sad

no73 Tue 28-Jul-15 18:08:33

Nope you will be fine, it'll be hard work but fine. I've just topped up my nursing diploma to degree while being a single mum, working full time with extra shifts. My friend is currently studying for her nursing degree and is a single mum to 2 kids one 5 and one 3. There were plenty of single mums on my course.

Go for it and don't listen to anyone else tell you it'll be impossible it won't be.

ThePortlyPinUp Tue 28-Jul-15 18:08:44

I have just completed year one of my nursing degree today. I have 4 dc's who are all school age and tbh I couldn't have contemplated it if they weren't. DH does all school runs and after school care, when I'm at uni I leave by 7.15 in the morning and get home after 6 pm. Placements hours involve long days, nights and weekends. The course itself is very hard going, 37.5 hour weeks with the added bonus of 4000 word assignments. However it is immensely enjoyable and I would definitely do it again.

pickingstrawberries Tue 28-Jul-15 18:09:55

What will you do for childcare? smile

PotteringAlong Tue 28-Jul-15 18:11:08

How will you have her looked after during shifts? Especially night shifts?

NobleLocks Tue 28-Jul-15 18:11:09

I'm in exactly the same boat with dad aged 3 in September!
I start at Brighton university in September and can't wait! The other students I've been in contact with have told me it's totally do able!!!!

pickingstrawberries Tue 28-Jul-15 18:12:43

I think it's great other posters are being so encouraging but at the risk of sounding pessemistic, I think Op needs to hear how it is doable, not that it is doable.

Nothing worse than being told 'well I did it,' then finding out that's because they had parents who could have their children or partners.

LittleprincessinGOLDrocks Tue 28-Jul-15 18:16:44

I think it is totally possible, but you need to be pro active and consider childcare for all shift options. I think it may be a good idea to do your research and see what is available. Good luck with your training x

thegreenbackboogie Tue 28-Jul-15 18:17:16

Her dad could look after her when I do night shifts and any weekend work. I'd be fine with the academic side of things (I hope) as I've already done a degree and was training to be a solicitor before pregnancy.

My concern is the long days like a pp mentioned and hardly seeing her. But at the same time I really, really want to do this and feel like there will never be an ideal time to go for it so why put it off.

I just don't know what to do!

thegreenbackboogie Tue 28-Jul-15 18:24:21

pickingstrawberries is right, I am wondering how I'd do it really.

ThePortlyPinUp Tue 28-Jul-15 18:35:47

I have friends who are single parents that are doing it, some have really struggled with childcare but if you have a supportive Co parent involved it wouldn't be as great an issue. Financially the bursary is good if you have children and you get assistance with childcare. I have found it difficult not being available for dc's important events but tbh it's because I was a SAHM until dd4 started reception. It is really really stressful and hard work but I think once qualified it will really benefit my family and I have just completed an 11 week placement where I would love to work in the future.

Happyringo Tue 28-Jul-15 18:39:15

With family or a partner to help with childcare then yes it is do-able. My DD was 5 when I started. I had no family support. My (now ex) H was so-so, he would help if he was around but was away for large parts of my course. It was hard - sometimes I had to ask placements for family friendly hours when he was away, which goes down like a bucket of sick. And I still remember the guilt of waking her up at 5am to go to childminders so I could start work by 7. And the holidays are not normal uni holidays either - it was a 46 week academic year course, so no school holidays off.

When I qualified I worked on a busy ward for a year, juggling the range of shifts, but it became untenable when ex and I split as I just couldn't do the shifts as a single parent. So I got a job in a clinic. Not 9-5, we had to cover 8-8 over 4 days, but there were no weekends and no nights.

So yes it will be hard. But if you really are determined and have child care in place it can be done (don't think I'd be a nurse again though if I had my time over, but that's another thread!)

rosesanddaisies Tue 28-Jul-15 21:08:18

Our local hospital has an attached nursery open to the general public but mosty hospital staff use it - they are flexible in regards to bookings by the week (as in, you can change it week by week depending on what shift youare given for the day), and also hospital staff get childcare discount. Maybe other hospitals might have somehting similar? (not all obviously, but some might?)

sunnysunchild Tue 28-Jul-15 21:21:31

Hi don't be depressed about it! Organisation is key, Nursing training is a very busy 3 years, academic side is fine, challenging but fine.. You just need to think about those 12.5hr shifts ... Its not easy at all. I struggle with guilt, but I know that my youngest is being well looked after, I'm doing this for her and her siblings.
I'm going into my 3rd year in September..

cleanmyhouse Tue 28-Jul-15 21:31:03

I tried it in 2007, but i had to jack it in because of the shift work, my ex wasn't reliable and my family were hundreds of miles away.
If my ex had been more supportive, it would have worked out fine. The academic side was fine and we weren't in uni all day, a couple of full days and the rest halfs or less. The bursary was good and there was some extra for childcare. I lived on it with 2 kids reasonably well.
If you have reliable support from ex for shift work and can try and work slightly more family friendly shifts with individual wards, you'll be fine.

GraysAnalogy Tue 28-Jul-15 21:35:05

My best friend is currently doing her nursing degree after retraining, an insight to her shifts are as so

- she's expected to travel up to 90mins away
- shifts are either 12-13 hours 3 times a week or short shifts of 7.5 x 5
- have to do 2 weeks of nightshifts in the 3 years
- timetable changes week to week, there doesn't seem to be set days when she's in uni

She's working on NHS bank at the minute too to earn extra money because the NHS bursary isn't enough

I think you'd be probably eligible for childcare costs btw

MissDuke Tue 28-Jul-15 22:00:26

I am doing a midwifery degree which is similar in terms of the structure. I have small children. To be honest, I couldn't have managed without the support of friends and family thus far, and I have a very supportive husband too. He works full time so we have a lot of juggling to do. My hours vary depending on where I am placed, for example community is mon to fri 9-5 which I find the most awkward. The easiest is when I do 3 long days as I can usually choose to do at least one at the weekend when my dh is off. You are expected to work a fair bit with your allocated mentor on each placement so there isn't always much flexibility in your work pattern. On one eight week placement I worked seven full weeks of nights, I couldn't possibly have asked family to have my children for all of that time. Also there is often very little notice as to your hours each week.

That said, I love it and am still feeling very privileged to be here.

MakeHayIsOrange Tue 28-Jul-15 22:02:21

Following as I am hoping to be accepted into a midwifery degree for next September, and I'm a single mum to 3 including one toddler!

Micah Tue 28-Jul-15 22:11:58

It is totally doable- if you have good, reliable, 24 hour childcare.

It's not just nights/weekends, but usually shifts are 7 am-3 pm, or 3pm until the early hours. You'll need someone who can do the school/nursery runs, for example. My DH struggled as his work was set hours, and weren't overly happy that once or twice a week he'd arrive an hour late or leave early as he needed to drop off/pick up.

thegreenbackboogie Tue 28-Jul-15 22:20:58

I've been speaking to DD's dad about it and he said that his work might be able to offer him shift patterns that suit mine so that he's free when I'm not but that's a big might.

I can't shake the guilt and keep thinking that I would be missing out on too much but the alternative is being miserable in a job I don't enjoy. And no job can ever be completely family friendly unless you work from home can it?

I keep viewing nursery or childminders as a bad thing because of my guilt but I think/hope she will enjoy it when the time comes.

GraysAnalogy Tue 28-Jul-15 22:34:44

Don't feel guilty at all, you'll be doing something amazing that will benefit you both.

Plus, depending on the univeristy you can get quite a bit of time off. My friend gets 11 weeks off for summer, but apparently the majority of universities don't do this. They do get things like christmas and easter too. Plus you're never in uni all days of the week.

shouldnthavesaid Tue 28-Jul-15 22:36:14

It's after the degree that I think my colleagues find difficult. The hospital I work in, for example, aren't obliged to do set rotas or flexible hours, nor do they have to give you your rota far in advance. I have my rota up until the last week of August at the moment, but prior to that I only had three week's worth. We can be asked to work any 3 12 hour runs during a week. I think it's common to get a clinics job and then do twilight or bank shifts as and when possible.

I've seen a colleague leave though, because my boss refused to let her work shifts around her childcare. I've seen a couple more post on Facebook asking if anyone can have their kids overnight etc, because they can't get childcare. And night shift can be very difficult - I know one who doesn't sleep between night shifts during school holidays because no one can take her daughter during the day. It's not ideal.

It's doable yes, but you'd need to be flexible about the sort of nursing you want to do once you're qualified - ward nursing might be difficult.

In terms of university, like previous posters say it's childcare during placements that will be difficult - our students are given the same Rota as their mentor, which isn't always easy. Especially if your mentor doesn't mind doing 1 night shift and 2 days a week or something.

Micah Tue 28-Jul-15 22:47:55

One other thing to consider..

Shifts worked really well while dc were in nursery. I had a day off, they did too, and I got to spend a lot more quality time. Late shifts I'd send them in after lunch etc. so in practice they often only did 3-4 days a week. With a full time place it worked really well, plus I could have occasion L shopping days!

Once at school though it wasn't so great. They have to be there, so often I didn't see them bar an hour in the morning on a late shift, then be working weekends too. Holiday clubs tend to be 9-5 too.

iniquity Tue 28-Jul-15 23:08:01

I'm a student nurse.. On maternity leave ATM. I'm on an intensive two year course and haven't found it too bad so far despite juggling childcare and pregnancy.
You do have to do about 50% of shifts with your mentor.. But you might get two therefore if you make a fuss you can normally work the shifts you like providing you experience all shifts if mates and earliest.
The hardest part if the course us juggling childcare... And finances.
But it is an amazing experience and I can't wait to get back into it.
You will see more if your dad then if you were working full time.

iniquity Tue 28-Jul-15 23:08:51

Dd not dad

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