Expecting During Nursing School
As a part of our ongoing mission to provide you with the information you need when it comes to making it through nursing school, BestNursingDegree.com asked Nurse Nacole Riccaboni to provide visitors with some insight into successfully attending nursing school while pregnant. While this topic does not apply to everyone, we felt it was essential to tackle this question, asked by several prospective and current nursing students across the country.
Working and attending school while pregnant can be difficult in general, but going to nursing school or working as a bedside nurse while being pregnant can seem particularly tough. It can be overwhelming to even try and put all of the challenges into words! While it is true that managing school or work responsibilities along with pregnancy can be hard, with the right advice and effort, it is definitely manageable.
As a Nurse Practitioner student who is also expecting, I’d like to share some of my own tips for balancing nursing school, work, and the health of mother and baby. This list is not exhaustive, but offers four easy tips to manage the situation, and I hope they can help. If you have any additional tips, please share them in the comments section below.
Four Quick Tips for Going to Nursing School While You’re Pregnant
Tip #1 – Plan your life out at least a month in advance.
For example when I started my NP program, I printed the syllabus and schedule and then added every deadline to my calendar at home. I didn’t want to miss any deadlines due to simply forgetting, which happens more frequently when you’re pregnant. Write down any appointments to the OB-GYN or Nurse Midwife you might have, along with your work schedule.
You have to take the time to plan out your life if you want to be successful at balancing it all. Will it take time? Yes, but it will help keep you on track. I personally went out and purchased a dry erase calendar and it’s keeping me beyond organized these past few months. While unexpected events always pop up, it helps to have a basic game plan outlined well in advance.
Tip #2 – Take care of yourself and your soon-to-be little one.
Meaning, go to each and every appointment and take any required medications on your end.
Don’t let school consume your life!
Yes, you’ve worked hard to make it to this point in your academic life, but being healthy is far more important. Nurses and especially nursing students tend to not take care of themselves. I personally suffered from hypoglycemia after a 40-minute code due to not eating lunch. I never considered the physiological demands a growing fetus has on a woman until AFTER that fact.
Now, I know I must plan my day out and pay attention to what my baby requires. You’re no good to your patients, your faculty or your peers unless you are healthy. Plus, your child deserves the majority of your attention during this time.
Tip #3 – Notify your instructors that you may be limited in your patient population.
This is especially important if your clinicals are in the hospital setting. I work in the ICU and I’ve had tons of patients with Group B Strep and Cytomegalovirus (CMV), which can both cause problems during pregnancy. As nurses, we typically want to help everyone else, but now you need to make sure you protect yourself FIRST.
In order to have a healthy pregnancy, ask questions and educate yourself. When I found out I was pregnant, I went online to research the occupational hazards of nursing while expecting, including what diseases to avoid while pregnant. I looked upon this research task just like I would an assignment in nursing school- very seriously. After doing my homework, I informed my nurse supervisor of what assignments I was uncomfortable taking, as they may affect the safety of my child. This also includes avoiding heavy lifting and staying on your feet too long.
The key here is to communicate clearly with your instructors in order to keep yourself and your baby safe, while still maintaining your nursing studies.
Tip #4 – Realize and remind yourself that, yes, being pregnant and going to nursing school at the same time is possible.
Pregnancy does not need to be an excuse for failing an exam or missing a clinical. You’ve made it this far; don’t let the situation get the best of you. If you need a nap, take one… but don’t ignore your responsibilities.
Nursing school is competitive; don’t fail a program because you lost your focus. Keep a positive attitude, take care of yourself, and communicate your needs. Being pregnant can be a wonderful time, and it does not mean you must forget why you went into nursing school initially.
Remember- you can do this! Will it be tough? Of course it will be, but many of the most worthwhile things in life are challenging. Keep your head up, keep yourself healthy, and you can definitely manage nursing school while you’re expecting.
Finally, congratulations if you are pregnant and good luck in your nursing courses! From one nursing student to another, you can do this!
We at BestNursingDegree.com aim to provide high quality answers to the questions you ask about nursing school. If you have additional questions or comments, feel free to join in the conversation in the comments section below. And, as always, feel free to contact us for additional resources, or for help finding the nursing school that is right for you.