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Making Continuing Education Fit in a Busy Schedule

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Living in the world of nursing often means long hours, strange shifts, and little time to relax and enjoy your family, friends, and hobbies. In many cases, in order to get the jobs that will allow you the extra down time you so desperately want, you need to spend time acquiring more training or a higher degree, which takes up even more of your time. While you know that the end benefits will be worth it, trying to carve out that time in your already busy schedule can be a challenge. Here are a few tips that can help you get the education you need for the career you need:

Consider an accredited online college or university.

Online classes are far easier for the busiest students, as you can often work at your own pace and fit your class time to your own schedule. If you aren’t the most self-motivated, be sure to create a reminder system for important deadlines and try not to procrastinate on important projects. Make sure the courses will count fully towards additional certifications, and also ask your peers and mentors for advice on which universities offer the best options.

Choose class times that meet immediately after work.

If possible, avoid going home between work and class time. While this may sound exhausting, it can be easy to be tempted to skip classes to stay home and get things done around the house or simply relax for a bit after a hard day. Going straight to class will reduce the temptation to blow off a night of classwork and potentially miss an important lecture or lesson. Most classes only last 1-2 hours, so they don’t take up much of your day. Try to choose classes at a school that’s close to work in order to avoid driving in traffic or being late.

Look for weekend courses.

Some colleges and universities offer fast-track weekend courses for some subjects. You may spend a couple of full weekends in a classroom, learning an entire semester’s worth of material, but you’ll earn those credits in a much faster period of time than if you’d chosen a standard day or evening course. This is a quick way to get it done, and could motivate you to sign up sooner than later.

Find out if you can get college credit for work experience.

While it is somewhat rare, you may be able to test out of certain prerequisites or even obtain college credit for knowledge that you have gained on the job. Speak with a guidance counselor at your university or college for information on such opportunities within your department.

Use your time wisely.

By studying and working on papers and projects during your lunch hour and break time at work, you can use less of your downtime at home on school-related tasks and focus on your home and family responsibilities or even just have a little fun.  If you use public transportation to get to and from work, your commute may be a great time to catch up on required reading or studying.

Find your motivation.

Make sure you understand why you’re going after a higher degree or getting additional training in your field. When you have specific goals and rewards to focus on, it can help keep you motivated and make it easier to carve out the time that is necessary to attend class, study, and later reap the benefits of receiving an advanced degree or certification. While it can be hard work and tough to find the time, the end result will be worth the effort.


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Contributor Ron Washburn

Ron is currently the executive vice president of Soliant and has been with the company for more than 28 years now. He oversees our nursing and allied health division and has been with Soliant since its small beginnings in the early 90s. He’s an integral part of our organization, and not only hosts trainings for our groups but manages company events and continues to run a desk of clients and candidates. He is experienced in contract placement, recruiting, permanent placement and internet recruiting within the healthcare industry. Ron possesses a Master's degree focused on Strategic Management and Entrepreneurship from Georgia State University. Don’t forget to check out the rest of his blogs!