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'Can you train to be a nurse as a single parent?'


Can you advise this potential student nurse?

“I’ve always wanted to be a nurse but I put it on the back-burner when I had my first child. Now I’m 34 and haven’t worked since my youngest child was born (he’s now two).

“I’m desperate to move my life on and build a future for my children, but is it sensible to start a nursing course with two children and very little support?

“I’ve heard that it’s the equivalent to working full-time plus essays, lectures, exams etc on top, which sounds impossible to juggle around childcare.

“But other people must be in the same situation, how do people manage? I’d really appreciate any advice or pointing in the right direction!”


Please use the comments section below to share your advice

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Readers' comments (2)

  • I'm not sure what your current financial situation is, but I'm guessing it's not good! If you need to, you could start an access course now, part time would mean maybe 2 days a week over 2 years. (That's what I did with a 2 year old).

    That would mean that by the time he's 4, you get additional, (mostly) free extra childcare in the form of breakfast and after school clubs if your child is eligible. Otherwise, it would be a case of seeing if you can afford childcare, which you'd have to do at some point, as I believe you'd be expected to work lates and nights on placement.

    Hope it helps. I don't think you'll get much help with the cost of an access though, mine was somewhere around £200 a year. Good luck!

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  • Hi,
    It certainly is possible, I have just qualified with a first class degree and am the single parent of three children aged 9 7 and 5. If you want it, anything is possible.
    However do not underestimate the impact it will have on your family life. My children suffered much in terms of not seeing me. I would get up at half past four, drag the kids out of bed at five to take them to a childminder and return at 9pm at night to put them straight to bed, often two or three days in a row.
    You need strong childcare which is flexible and supportive, although I found Surestart helped me find a childminder who was amazing and worked weekends. Often ward placements are flexible but at the end of the day nursing is a 24/7 job and you will have to work nights, weekends and sometimes bank holidays. Plus the holidays are not coinciding with school holidays so your kids are in childcare for a lot of the summer.
    It is exhausting, you will lose the next three years of your life to Nursing. You will often have to say 'in a minute because mummy is working' on essays and reflections. But what you will get back is kids with a strong work ethic and a sense of pride. You have to be sure it is what you want, because I look back with a sad twinge at what I missed, even though I am thrilled to be a nurse. Once you start there is no stopping and you will keep moving on in your nursing career. Only you know if this is the right time x

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