It’s an age-old conundrum. To advance professionally, often one must go back to school. However, earning a degree might seem like an insurmountable challenge because of the demands of a current job.
Experts say that more education is not only advantageous, but downright necessary in certain industries, particularly where technology is changing the playing field.
For instance, Hannah Hughes, Dean of Nursing at Strayer University points out that, “The impact of technology on healthcare continues to evolve the practice of nursing, and there is currently a technology skills gap among some nurses. Today’s nurses should be preparing themselves to operate in this dynamic technologically-rich environment.”
What’s more, Hughes notes, is that like many industries, advanced degrees and certifications in nursing can have a high impact on a career advancement, enhancing one’s credibility, marketability and earning potential.
If you find yourself wanting or needing to go back to school, these tips can help create a good life-study balance.
• Don’t be a one-man band. Take advantage of the educational support systems provided by your school, such as tutoring, writing assistance, career services, technical support and on-campus activities.
Figure out where your “pain points” are and create your own support networks. Form a babysitting share with other parents in your classes to alleviate the financial burden of childcare or create a virtual study group to prepare for exams.
• Identify short study windows. Maximize downtime whenever you have it. Have an infant? Read your assignments out loud to your child. Are your children enrolled in sports? Read assignments during practices or at halftimes. On the job? Study on your lunch break.
• Select a program wisely. Look for programs designed to make it easy for busy, working people to earn degrees. For example, Strayer University offers the flexibility to learn online or in a classroom, students are matched with personal Success Coaches to help them balance responsibilities, and classes begin four times a year, offering degree-seekers greater flexibility. For these reasons, their online RN to BSN degree program, for example, accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, can be a good fit for working nurses with demanding shifts. To learn more, visit www.Strayer.edu/bsn.
“Selecting a program that understands the actual demands of your field and the evolving priorities of your employer, can help you apply your knowledge now and meet professional goals later,” says Hughes.
• Stay up-to-date in your field. Be a more efficient, successful student and professional by staying current on your evolving industry. For example, nurses can brush up on healthcare informatics, as well as understand how changes to healthcare policy will impact the way they deliver care.
• Laugh often. All work and no play doesn’t make Jack a dull boy – it makes him tired and ineffectual. Take time for loved ones who make you laugh and keep up with your favorite funny podcasts. It’s helpful to keep your sense of humor as you take on another responsibility.
Whether you’re a teacher, a nurse, work for a company, or are in business for yourself, an advanced degree can offer you greater job satisfaction and earning potential, and the right program and study habits can make it a manageable challenge.