How much should you work while going to nursing school? Should you even work at all? There isn't just one right answer to these questions. Nursing programs themselves, as well as the students who attend them, vary greatly.
With the program I went through, working at all was not recommended but if you were obligated to, the less hours the better. Some students in my class were able to afford not to work while others worked full time throughout the entire program.
It's not impossible to pass while working but it does make it that much more difficult and stressful. Some of the full time workers made it to the very end while others who didn't work at all didn't get past the first semester. So it plays a role, but won't necessarily determine whether you pass or fail.
If you want to get your foot in the door at a specific facility or just get some experience in the medical field while working alongside nurses, working as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) is a great option. Doing so may even confirm whether you want to continue to pursue this career.
I worked as one full time before the program. However, while in it, I worked part time which consisted of two 12 hour shifts per week, usually on weekends since classes were typically during the week. I'm not sure I would have made it if I would have worked any more than that. Of course I have coffee to thank as well.
This was not enough to cover my expenses. Before the program, I was working overtime almost every week and was still living paycheck to paycheck. Luckily between scholarships, student loans, and family assistance, I was able to squeeze by financially.
The ideal situation is to work a job that allows you to study during your free time. Of course this isn't always possible. Some jobs have rules against such things while others don't have much if any down time. Regardless, I wouldn't recommend it being your primary place of study.
Luckily I was able to on some shifts, but not always. It depended on the workload. Working nightshift helped some since there tends to be more calmer nights than there are days but in the medical field, nothing is ever certain.
I couldn't depend on getting all of my studying done during work for a test I had coming up. It just didn't always work out that way. Studying on the clock was considered extra, it was never my primary place to do so. While in the hospital, my patients and co-workers came first.
So in short, of course not working at all is best but if you must work, find a job where you can get some studying done, or work in the medical field where you can get some experience and possible recommendations for a future nursing job.