Earning a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) can significantly enhance your career prospects. You’ll expand your scope of practice while building advanced knowledge and skills. An MSN can also facilitate leadership opportunities and a higher earning potential.

If you’re considering earning an MSN, you might wonder whether you can achieve this goal while balancing your career and home life. Many people do this every year; it can be done. A support network of peers, faculty, and staff—all available in Houston Christian University’s online nursing programs—helps. So, too, do several effective strategies that can help you strike a manageable work-home-school balance.

While there is no one-size-fits-all formula for successfully earning your online MSN degree, these tips should provide some helpful ideas on managing your life, work, and studies to earn your degree while meeting your other responsibilities and enjoying life.

Get Organized & Stay on Schedule 

Are you a pen-and-paper person who has to write everything down? Or do you prefer digital organization, with reminders and alerts on a smartphone? Regardless of your style, tools are available to help you create a schedule and stay organized. Understanding how you work best will help you choose your optimal method.

Whichever method you choose, use a planner to schedule your work, home and school commitments in advance. Include blocks for studying and relaxing so you stay on target with your deadlines while preserving some well-deserved downtime.

Set Boundaries

Organization is critical, but it is also important to establish ground rules to help you stay on course in all aspects of your life. Some things to consider when setting boundaries:

  1. Regularly identify your short-term academic goals and create a structure that facilitates them. For example, you might designate a dedicated space and time for studying without interruption.
  2. Share your boundaries with friends, family, and coworkers—and be considerate of theirs.
  3. It is ok to say no. You can decline if a request does not align with your boundaries.
  4. Review and modify your boundaries to ensure they align with your program goals. Adapt them as necessary as your circumstances change.

You may be familiar with this practice if you participated in virtual learning during the pandemic. Balancing different aspects of your life can be challenging, but with some thoughtful preplanning, you can set yourself up for success.

Find an Accountability Partner 

People at all stages of their lives and careers utilize accountability partners, and for good reason. An accountability study by the American Society of Training and Development (ASTD) found that you have a 65 percent chance of completing a goal if you share your plan with someone. If you have scheduled check-ins with someone about your progress, you can boost your chance of success to 95 percent.

Checking in with someone periodically can help you stay focused and improve your well-being. Your accountability partner can be anyone supporting you in accomplishing your goals—a mentor, nursing colleague, or friend. 

Prioritize Self-Care

When working on your degree and managing other responsibilities that pull you in multiple directions, you can sometimes forget that you are only human. Especially as a nurse devoted to providing care to others, it is often too easy to neglect your health. It is vital to your success and mental health to prioritize self-care. 

Self-care is a very personal choice and looks different for everyone. Here are some ideas to consider:

  • Meditation and prayer
  • Deep breathing exercises
  • Regular physical activity
  • Good sleep hygiene
  • Scheduling leisure and recreation
  • Taking regular breaks
  • Connecting with loved ones

Because of the high prevalence of burnout in nursing, MSN students who implement self-care rituals now may acclimate more quickly to the stressors of their post-academic professional lives.

Take Advantage of Industry Resources 

Professional organizations represent another resource for MSN students. For example, the American Nursing Association (ANA) offers nursing students members-only content and an online community. The ANA website provides digital resources for nursing students to help with job placement and career growth.

Ask for Help, Communicate Your Needs

You are never alone as a student in an online HCU MSN program. In addition to your personal support system, university resources are at your disposal. They include dedicated faculty, success coaches, and career services.

Choose the Right Program: Applying to HCU

Choosing an MSN program that fits your goals will keep you engaged and motivated, improving your likelihood of success. The online MSN programs at Houston Christian University are designed for working professionals committed to patient-centered treatment, compassionate care, and a holistic understanding of patients. With faculty support and access to helpful resources, MSN students are prepared to excel in their studies and are supported as they balance their many responsibilities. 

Next Steps: Start Your Application or Request a Walk-Through

Assistance begins when you express interest in HCU’s online master’s in nursing programs. One-on-one admissions support is available to answer your questions about the MSN program and help you determine which track is the right fit for you.

Make an appointment with an enrollment advisor or start your application today—and start on your path to a rewarding and in-demand career.