How to Stay in Control of Stress When Getting Your Advanced Nursing Degree

Nursing is a career that can be very mentally, physically, and emotionally draining. Nurses wanting to progress through the ranks and earn a higher position in their career will often need to take an online degree, which can be very stressful when juggled with a full-time nursing career. Online degree programs often provide the ideal option for busy nurses who want a flexible study option that suits their lifestyle and can fit their work shifts. However, while studying online is certainly more flexible and allows you to decide when you’d like to learn based on your everyday needs, it’s an additional commitment and workload that can be stressful when you’re already busy. Managing stress levels is already important for nurses and even more crucial for nurses taking an advanced degree while working full time. Here are some tips to keep in mind to help you manage your stress levels and get the results that you want from your studies.

Nursing Degree

Create a Study Schedule:

Finding the time to study is not always easy if you are a nurse working shifts through the night, on weekends, and other unsociable hours. The best thing to do to ensure that you do not fall behind with your studies is to check your shift schedule in advance and work out when the best time to study will be on a week-by-week basis. When you get your shift schedule, see where you are free to look when you are likely to be energized rather than tired, such as before your shift starts.

Schedule in Breaks:

When you are working long hours as a nurse, it’s so important to make sure that you take some time to yourself to relax and do the things that you enjoy so that you can return to both your work and your studies feeling refreshed, energized, and ready to face whatever is thrown at you. It can be tempting to use all your days off to catch up on studying, but this will only likely lead to burnout and exhaustion over time. Using all your days off to catch up on studying can be tempting, but this will only likely lead to burnout and fatigue over time. Using all your days off to catch up on learning can be tempting, but this will only likely lead to burnout and fatigue over time. While it might be useful to use some of your time off for studying, make sure you have at least one free day a week to take a break from both.

Set Up a Study Area:

Online degrees are ideal for nurses who want that additional flexibility to get their advanced qualifications while continuing to work. However, the one downside to them is that they often involve studying from home, which can be very distracting. Taking the time to create a dedicated study space in your home can make it easier for you to get in the right mindset for learning and have a zone that you go to for focusing rather than setting up on your sofa or in the kitchen where you’re likely to be distracted by general things around the house. If there are no suitable areas in your home for studying, you might want to consider getting out of the house to a local library or another appropriate public place to get it done if you are struggling to focus at home.

Select the Right Study Program:

There are many advanced nursing programs to choose from, so it’s important to do plenty of research before you enroll and ensure that you will be studying one suitable for you. Online nursing programs come in various flavors, and you can often choose from programs that allow you full flexibility to those that have set online classes you’ll need to attend. Depending on your work hours and other commitments, either program could be ideal for you. If you think you might benefit from attending in-person classes and mixing with your peers face-to-face, consider a hybrid program that includes online and classroom learning. Check out the online BSN to DNP programs available from Baylor University to learn more about your options.

Live a Healthy Lifestyle:

Looking after your health and well-being is crucial to managing your stress levels and controlling your workload. When you’re juggling working full-time with studying, it’s vital to ensure that you are making sure you have enough time to get enough sleep. As a nurse, you already know how important sleep is to your health and well-being, so don’t deny it to yourself. The food that you eat can also make a huge difference to how you feel and your stress levels while working and studying for an advanced degree, so set aside some time to prepare healthy food or consider signing up for a healthy meal subscription plan so that you’re not tempted to eat too much takeout and convenience foods that aren’t very nutritious. Finally, make sure that you are getting enough exercise – as a nurse, you’ll already know the risks of sitting for long periods, so be sure to schedule walks and other forms of physical activities to break up your day when studying.

Get Help and Support:

Working full-time as a nurse while studying for an advanced degree is no easy task, so now is the time to ask for and accept as much help and support as possible. Be sure to speak to your employer about your plans and ask about any support available to you, whether that’s financial support or support that involves changing your work hours to make studying easier, for example. And, take up your friends and family on their offers of practical support, whether they’re offering to watch your kids or cook you dinner a couple of times a week; you will certainly be grateful for the help.

Working full-time as a nurse while getting your advanced nursing degree is not easy, but it’s possible to succeed with the right plan.

Jessica J. Underwood
Subtly charming explorer. Pop culture practitioner. Creator. Web guru. Food advocate. Typical travel maven. Zombie fanatic. Problem solver. Was quite successful at developing wooden tops in the aftermarket. A real dynamo when it comes to exporting glucose in Bethesda, MD. Had moderate success managing action figures in New York, NY. Set new standards for selling crayon art in Salisbury, MD. In 2009 I was getting my feet wet with sock monkeys for the underprivileged. Spoke at an international conference about merchandising toy elephants in Nigeria.