The health and wellbeing of our nurses need to be the priority of everyone. However, it is, at the end of the day, the responsibility of just yourself. You need to care for your health and mental wellbeing.
Nurses work hard jobs, and their roles commonly put them at risk of compassion fatigue. Add in the additional stress and challenges of trying to complete an online degree, often while working, and the risks run high.
Avoiding burnout is the only realistic strategy. Recovering after burning out can be very difficult and cannot be done without some deliberate changes. The body does not like to go through that level of stress.
If you burn out, it isn’t a matter of taking a break and going back in refreshed and ready to go. Often times you will find your stress management is never the same because you are putting your body back into that same situation that caused the issues in the first place.
1. Be Realistic With What You Can Handle
There is a need for nurses everywhere, especially BSN-prepared nurses. If you don’t think you can handle working in your current role while taking on a master’s degree, then something needs to give.
A good alternative is to find work elsewhere. This could be in a different working environment, or it could be in a smaller hospital. Explore your options so that you can find a role that gives you enough of a work/life balance that you can comfortably include an online degree.
Of course, in some situations, there is no compromise. For those that simply cannot do two at once, you will want to sort through your finances and build up a support system so that you can complete your online or campus degree full-time.
There is no right or wrong approach, just the approach that allows you to reach your goals without overloading yourself. This is your life at the end of the day, and you need to enjoy living it if you want to have a career you love at the end of your education.
No one should live with that kind of stress. Not nurses, and not nurses that are juggling their career with their dream FNP master’s degree. It isn’t easy, but it is doable to juggle both and succeed.
To help, get started with these tips. The goal is to fortify your body and wellbeing while also managing your time in a way that doesn’t cause ongoing and chronic stress.
2. Improve Your Health Baseline
If you aren’t already fit as an ox, you are going to want to start improving your health. Some suggestions on how you can improve your health include:
- Be consistent with your sleep schedule, so you get a deeper, more restful 8+ hours of sleep per night.
- Drink more water or other healthy drinks to stay hydrated.
- Do exercises or stretches to increase circulation, strength, and stamina.
- Switch up your diet and prioritize foods that increase energy. Focus on nutrients over anything else.
Improving your sleep quality, diet, and exercise can help give you a baseline to work with. This baseline can help you identify other issues in your health, including mental health issues.
You owe it to yourself to find a working strategy that helps you manage your health so that you can lead the life you want in advance. Do this before you enroll so that you can accomplish your goals with gusto.
3. Create a Routine in Advance
Once you have a handle on your health routine, you will then want to start to structure a study routine. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be a large, daunting chunk of time.
You can complete your FNP MSN in short bursts throughout the day. This follows a similar structure that is available on campuses, and it has many more benefits than just being easier to manage.
- You give your brain time to absorb and process the information you learned.
- Shorter study and learning sessions are less daunting, making it easier to stay motivated.
- Shorter study sessions are easier to commit to around a workday or around your personal responsibilities.
You can even practice and get used to studying around your career or responsibilities by enrolling in relevant online or free courses until you start your MSN.
Use All Available Resources
Go through and understand what available resources there are through your institution. Clinical placement services and a student success coach are two of the standards but don’t stop there.
See if they have career services, essay writing services, mental health services, or anything else. Simply knowing what resources are available can help you get the most value out of your degree.