If you’re a parent and interested in studying veterinary nursing with us, you may already know that due to the work-based nature of the industry, most veterinary nurse training courses require you to work and study full-time.
Juggling childcare with full time work and study can be difficult at the best of times, without throwing child sickness and childcare emergencies into the mix. So, you may be wondering: how will you find the time to work, study and look after your kids?
Have a childcare plan in place that works for your family and in case of emergency
Before you take on a full time a training course that involves full time work/study, you need to carefully consider what childcare will work best for you and your family, and ensure there is cover for when you need it.
There are lots of different childcare options open to you, such as:
- Hiring a babysitter or nanny
- Using a nursery, playgroup or before/after school club
- Hosting an au pair
- Seeking the help of friends and relatives
- Working out a rota or system with your partner, if you have one
It’s important to carefully consider what is most suited to you and your child’s needs, depending on their age and personality. For example, a regular babysitter may offer flexibility over hours. With nurseries, you get the security of having cover most of the year and your child will have the opportunity to interact with other children. You may also be eligible for free childcare hours from the government.
Whatever childcare arrangements you make, ensure it fits in with your needs. Balancing work, training and family life is hard enough without also worrying about who is looking after your child.
Speak to your training provider and employer about flexibility options
Many veterinary nursing courses are full time, however it is worth having a conversation with your employer and training provider to see how they can help you meet your training, work and family requirements. For example, here at The College of Animal Welfare we offer a virtual college attendance option from some of our centres, which could help with childcare arrangements. Additionally, it is worth understanding the different college attendance options available at your chosen training provider, to see if one suits your childcare arrangements more than another; for example, we offer both day and block release study options.
It is also worth having a conversation with your practice to see if there are accommodations they could make with your working hours to suit your childcare arrangements.
Plan a bullet proof routine for your mornings
The morning rush is something that many parents find stressful, and can impact your readiness for veterinary nurse training day-to-day. So, you may be thinking: how can I make the morning routine less stressful so I am ready for my day at college/work? You can help to streamline your mornings with additional preparation in the evenings. This means you and your family doing what you can to ease the workload in the evenings. For example ironing, packing non-perishable food in lunchboxes, getting dinner money ready, signing letters, choosing your next-day outfit, preparing work and study material and so on. With less to do in the morning, it may help you feel more prepared for the day ahead.
Share out household chores and childcare
Who does the majority of the domestic chores (such as cleaning, cooking and childcare) in your household? If that person is you, and there is more than one person in the household, can you share out this work in a fairer way so that you have more time to dedicate to your veterinary nurse training? For example, you could work out a rota. You could even give your kids some chores to do if they’re old enough. Additionally, if you have a partner, you should discuss who will cover emergency childcare to ensure it isn’t always one person taking time off or leaving early to cover emergencies.
Don’t expect perfection, set priorities and allow time for yourself where you can
Don’t chase perfection, as it will only lead to burnout. It is better to focus on the essentials in your family and home/study life than to collapse from total exhaustion. If you have a project that is due for work or college, set time limits for yourself. Once you complete your list of priorities, you will feel more relaxed and will have more time to spend with your family. Most important of all, make space for yourself to recharge your batteries at the end of each day – even if it’s only 15 minutes of quiet time. If you have very little time at the end of the day, could you make some time to relax at the weekend?
Remember that communication is essential in every aspect of life. It’s ok to reach out for support if you need it. If you feel that you are having difficulty juggling your commitments, talk to those around you for help and support. Your co-workers, course tutors, significant others, family and friends may be able to help.
Wellbeing at The College of Animal Welfare
At The College of Animal Welfare, we offer a range of wellbeing resources and services to our students and staff. In addition to free counselling for all students, we also provide 24/7 access to mental health support apps Fika and Togetherall, a Buddy Scheme to help support new students, and many more additional wellbeing resources and information. Find out more about the support we offer at: www.caw.ac.uk/wellbeing
Veterinary Nurse Training at The College of Animal Welfare
If you’re interested in training as a veterinary nurse, we offer a range of veterinary nurse qualifications. The College of Animal Welfare is one of the largest veterinary nurse training providers in the UK. We have centres in Huntingdon, Leeds, North London, Wigan and Solihull. Find out more about our veterinary nursing programmes