Jade D: Studying nursing as a parent

Coming onto the Adult Nursing course, one of the biggest questions on my mind at the time was ‘How am I going to manage a full-time course with placement when I have a child?’ I knew that so many other people manage it but it was definitely something that I worried about in the run-up to starting the course as everybody’s lifestyles are completely different and individual.

Eighteen months into the course and I have to say, though, that I am managing fairly well with my own circumstances. I am a mother of one and my daughter is three and a half now.

Arranging childcare can be stressful, especially when you are being given shifts at all times of the day and night and every week’s timetable is different to the last. However I have found a few things that really help me arrange my work and my family life appropriately.

  1. The university timetable shows you your scheduled lectures a whole year in advance from September to September. As a student in a March cohort this was only six months to begin with, but even that amount of time gave me a great help when looking at my theory weeks and what times I finished or days I had off.
  2. I applied for tax credits. In my first year my daughter was too young to get the 15 hours of nursery time free from the Government so I had to fund her nursery myself. However, my own personal monetary circumstances meant that I was entitled to apply for the childcare element of Working Tax credits and they fund up to 70% of childcare costs for those who are eligible. Now I am in my second year, my daughter receives her 15 hours free but I do still pay to have her in for more than her 15 hours and tax credits funds 70% of that cost for me. I also have to pay for her to be there through the school holidays as these are not included in the Government funding and we do not get the same level of holidays as other courses or schools do.
  3. I work as a Student Ambassador for the university. There may be people reading this blog who have seen me working events like Open Days, interview days etc and I use this as a small sideline of earning to help add to my financial situation. There is definitely scope for you to work a few hours each week if you want to. Many people do have jobs alongside this course but everybody needs to be very careful as you can never take time off theory or placement to work and you still need time leftover to study and go about your normal life. It is a very difficult balance sometimes but the reason I love the Ambassador work is because I can pick up a couple of days each month that fit into my timetable or turn them down if they don’t.
  4. I am very lucky that I have a supportive family. Whenever I am on night shifts, her father is always there to have her and the hours of his job means that at the moment he is in a place to drop her off at nursery and pick her up. This will change when she starts school and we will have to rethink our arrangement as the time comes in my third year. My daughter also spends a couple of days a week with some of my family members which has been invaluable for me. Knowing she is safe with people that know and love her and that it costs me nothing is a real load off my mind.
  5. NHS Bursary has a section to apply for regarding dependants and childcare. Because I get tax credit funding I do not fit the criteria to receive this support, but every application is different to each individual so I would advise looking into this.

Overall this course can be quite challenging when it comes to arranging life and children around your workload, however it is definitely worth it. It is something that everyone should really think about strongly and investigate before starting though, as so many people find that they cannot make it work because they didn’t look into their options properly before starting.

My advice to everyone with children looking to become a nursing student is to talk to your families and see what can be arranged and look into all the different types of support that are available for you to apply for and hopefully receive.

Good luck everyone!



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