Student juggles parenthood, studying AND working in a busy hospital

Considering an online degree while working and being a parent? Here a busy Arden student explains how she balances family life, work and studying.

Arden psychology student and mum-of two Katarzyna Stanislawek - Kat - describes how she juggles parenthood, studying and working in a busy hospital A&E during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Kat, 38, who lives in East Sussex, is currently studying an online distance learning Psychology degree with Arden.

She describes what made her decide to choose to study for a degree in her 30s and the challenges she’s faced - and overcome - along the way.

Kat says: “In 2016 I was in a terrible car accident which resulted in a serious spinal injury. While this experience was very traumatic, it made me appreciate and seek more fulfilment in life. I’ve always wanted to be a psychologist and this accident was a cruel reminder of how short life can be and I decided there was no time like the present to pursue my dreams. 

“Working in a hospital requires certified skills, and after I had achieved everything I could in my previous position I knew that without a degree I wouldn’t be able to progress any further. This is one of the main reasons why I decided to study an online degree course at Arden. 

“I have worked in the healthcare sector for more than 15 years in care homes, live-in agency providers and at Brighton Hospital. Five years ago, I decided I wanted a change, so I moved to Brighton A&E.

“Before the accident, I had been hesitant to return back to education because I have vivid memories of my parents juggling their careers as a Headteacher and biologist, whilst raising me and my three siblings. I decided to wait until my girls were a little older and more independent before taking on extra work.”

Kat decided to apply for an online course at Arden University which meant she could continue to work as well as study. She says the university’s innovative approach and the fact that her course is also accredited by British Psychological Society, made Kat realise it was the perfect place for her to complete her studies. 

Juggling being a Mum, working in A&E and studying is no easy task but it is possible and, incredibly rewarding. 

Kat added: “I find the structure of the course well planned and organised with easy access to study materials and tutorials. These factors really helped me keep on top of my studies while also having work and family commitments. 

“For me, distance learning was the only available option due to its flexibility. I needed to study somewhere where I was able to combine working nights at A&E and motherhood. 

“I am very proud of myself for where I have come so far, however, I am aware that it may take me some time to get to where I want to be in the psychology field. For now, I am doing the best I can of working through a pandemic, studying a course I love and of course ensuring my daughters remain a top priority.”