The responsibilities of being a mom and a nurse at the same time can be overwhelming, especially if you are unlucky enough to be working in a state that does not make it mandatory for female employees to be on paid maternity leave, as you could also be losing out on pay during those weeks. Of course, reputed hospitals and clinics do not leave their nurses completely high and dry and without pay, but they can choose to do so legally if they wish. The Family and Medical leave Act only assures that the female employee will not lose her job for taking the leave, but nothing about having to pay them.
That right there is the first financial challenge that nurse moms face immediately upon taking their due maternity leave in some cases, and we are only just getting started. Fortunately, there are ways to manage most of them, but it requires planning and preparation, preferably well ahead of time. So, without further delay, let us now go through some of the most profound issues faced by nurse moms, as well as possible solutions to each of them.
If you are a registered nurse, chances are that you will not be unemployed since there is always a shortage of qualified nursing professionals nearly everywhere. However, the fact is that having a child means two things simultaneously:
- Temporary loss or cut in pay (maternity leave)
- Increased expenses that come naturally with having children
This can be a serious issue, which is why family planning is so important. Before having the baby, it is preferable if your partner is in a strong financial position to support all three of you for the time being, or there is a decent sized, pre-estimated baby fund (any form of savings that can be liquidated at the right time).
If neither applies, then managing the increased expenses without a healthy source of income, or pre-planned savings could prove to be testing. To handle the situation in such cases, loans are the only option left, but given how quickly those interest rates can start piling up, getting into debt as a new mom is not a preferable option. Nevertheless, as long as you keep your loans small and your leave short, they can be managed.
Managing Higher Education
Managing financial issues can become a lot easier with higher education. For example, the average registered nurse (RN) in the US gets paid about $35/hour or $73,300/year, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, the national average for nurse practitioners (NP) is a whopping $56/hour or $115,800/year. Therefore, by completing an MSN-FNP degree, or a PMC-FNP degree course, RNs could be earning roughly 58% more than what they earn now, if not more!
If you are already working as an FNP, then most of the financial issues mentioned can either be avoided totally, or they can be solved a lot easier. However, that is seldom the situation, given that most nurses who pursue a NP program to advance their career do so after having a child. The experience necessary to become a nurse practitioner is the main reason behind this, so this leads us to the main issue; how can you juggle higher education, a nursing job and a toddler simultaneously?
Without taking time off work or letting someone else take care of your child full time, this would be nigh on impossible to do in the traditional way, but on account of the rapid advances made in the field of online education technology, that does not have to be the only way. At the Carson-Newman Nursing School, for example, they are offering CCNE accredited MSN-FNP and PMC-FNP programs which are specifically designed to help busy nurses with family responsibilities, succeed in becoming autonomous nursing leaders.
Programs such as these can make even that seemingly impossible task of juggling everything in your life around a somewhat manageable affair. Of course, studying online doesn’t mean it will be easy, but it still is doable, especially if you consider how much money, time and effort can be saved by opting for a streamlined online-only course. There will be no additional cost of accommodation or regular commuting, which alone should help you save hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars in just a year’s time.
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As a medical professional, most people believe that nurses are more than capable of handling the physical and mental stress that comes naturally with becoming a new mother. Sometimes, even nurses themselves end up thinking along the same lines, only to realize later that it was a mistake. There is no denying that nurses are more capable and knowledgeable than the average mom when it comes to taking care of children, but if you believe you can handle most of it on your own, that is an overestimation to say the least.
Despite their knowledge, understanding and experience, nurses are only human beings, and just like any other new mom, they need physical and mental support to get through the initial few months, at the very least. Do not overestimate yourself, or shy away from asking for help, simply because others think you are capable of doing things that you shouldn’t be! Plan a schedule by discussing it with your friends, colleagues, relatives and partner. Instead of letting it all drop on you, take the help offered to you by anyone who is available, and give yourself some time to sleep, go out, take a walk, study, etc.
Managing expectations is a tough job, even for professional nurses, if not particularly for them. As previously mentioned, both the people around them, and the professionals themselves, expect too much from themselves, which ultimately ends up as being counterproductive. It is true that a nurse mom is likely going to be a lot more efficient in dealing with all those duties, as compared to someone who is not used to grueling hours and hectic days. Nurses are, of course, going to be markedly better at handling the multiple health management aspects of a child as well. Nevertheless, there are limits to what nurses can do, and by setting forth impossible goals, you can only set yourself up for failure. Plan your career, manage your expectations, and time your family plans with the care that it deserves, so that even as a nurse mom, you can manage better than most.