I have discovered that maintaining a career when you are married to a submariner comes with some extraordinary challenges, but it is possible.
But let’s start at the beginning. When my husband and I met back in 2015, I was in the process of applying to graduate schools. I decided I wanted to teach nursing so I pursued a master’s in nursing education.
One of the discussions we had as part of our premarital counseling was about working and raising a family. We both knew we wanted to have kids at some point so we talked about how our children would be raised. This is critical for any relationship, especially one in the military. I expressed my desire to maintain a part-time work schedule which my husband fully supported.
After grad school I discovered I did not particularly care for teaching… oops… I missed patient care. I decided to pursue a post master’s certificate to be a Nurse Practitioner (NP). Fast forward a year, I’m now in the thick of my clinical hours and course work, and I hope to graduate in August. So much depends on clinical site availability, given the current pandemic.
I have found that what works best for my family is if I work shifts on days my husband is not on duty (I work per diem/ as needed basis) and I complete my clinical hours for school Mondays thru Fridays. I drop my daughter off at preschool, complete my hours and then leave in time to pick her up. I try to maintain as “normal” of a schedule as I can for her.
Stay tuned for what happens when I get my first NP job! The schedule is a priority for me. I want to be able to drop my daughter off at school and pick her up at the end of the day. I want to pack her lunch and cook dinner every day. I want to have my cake and eat it too and that is ok!
I have been so happy to find Facebook groups for milspouse nurse practitioners! Know your resources. There are wonderful scholarship opportunities through MyCAA and the Dolphin Scholarship Foundation (more on those resources, here). You may also qualify to have your licensing and certification costs reimbursed when you PCS. This is a fairly new process and I am so thankful for it.
I want to hear from you! Are you struggling with the decision whether to work or not? Do you feel pressured to work/not work? How do you manage your schedule? How do you handle the job search at each new duty station? Comment with your thoughts below. I’m still trying to figure all this out myself!