RN's what are the Pros and Cons about your schedule? - Mothering Forums

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Old 06-30-2010, 01:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm planning on going back to school to be a RN.

Right now, I have a very flexible 9-5 (typically 8:45-4:30) type job. No weekends or holidays. The RN's I work with work 4 10's.

Here are some of my questions:
1. Have you worked a typical 9-5 type job while being a parent? If so, did you prefer that over the 3 12's?
2. If you work nights, when do you sleep!!!?? I'm hoping to have a newborn after school and I would assume most new grads get night shifts, so I guess I would sleep when the baby sleeps. My other little girl would be in preschool at that time.
3. Do you feel like the 4 days off are really days off? Or are you playing catch up on sleep?

Any other thoughts are greatly appreciated

michelle
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Old 06-30-2010, 08:51 PM
 
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You would be doing your family a huge disservice if you worked nights and did not have some type of childcare during the day for your baby. Really, babies don't sleep hard during the day for long. Even if you just had someone come into your home and watch the kids for 4-5 hours while you sleep, you really, really need that. Also, you can't be sleep deprived at your job. People's lives depend on your mental acuity. It's a professional responsibility to get adequate sleep.

I work nights, and with one exception I have always worked nights. When my kids were little, I worked part time weekend nights (every Friday and Saturday), and my husband watched the kids while I slept. When I worked days in an office for a while, my friends watched the kids before school, and dh picked them up after school.

Now for the last many years I've worked nights. I love it. I love the flexibility of nights. If things are going on during the day--school programs, doc appointments, ill kiddos, etc--I can adjust my sleep schedule to accommodate it. My kids know that someone is always home, even if I'm sleeping I'm still available, and they find that very reassuring. I didn't realize how strongly they felt about this until I discussed working days with them (I was worried my schedule was taking time away from them). Both girls (in high school and junior high now) were mainly worried about being home alone when they were sick, or not being able to get ahold of a parent if they needed something during the day. They both were very much against a move to a day shift schedule. My husband was also against it. He feels like it works better for our family, and he likes having a bigger role with the kids that my night shift schedule requires of him.

I was relieved, really, because I love nights.
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Old 06-30-2010, 10:18 PM
 
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how do you adjust your schedule between nights working and days off? this is what i have the hardest time envisioning - because otherwise i can really see the appeal
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Old 06-30-2010, 10:52 PM
 
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I've been an RN for 10 years and as a new grad I did start out working nights (actually, I had to work 2 weeks of days and 2 weeks of nights, which was brutal). I'm not a night person at all, so it was very difficult for me. I could not have imagined doing that with kids. After 2 years, which was required at my hospital, I went to a prn position where I floated to different floors within my "zone" in exchange for making my own schedule with no benefits. I loved this. I could work any combination of 12 hr, 8 hr, or 4 hr shifts, as long as I fulfilled 24 hours a month. We moved about an hour away from the hospital when I had my first DD and I worked 2 twelve hour shifts a month. Then when my 2nd DD was born, I decided it was too far to drive and went to a prn position at the local hospital and worked some nights. I worked on the weekend nights so that my husband could watch the girls during the day while I slept without having to hire a sitter. As I said, I am not a night person so I decided to forego the nights and then worked some just on the weekend days when DH was off work. However, it just didn't work for our family. DH makes a good living and he can make in one hour what I make working 12 hours, so I am a SAHM now and just volunteer at a medical clinic when I have time. I know my story probably doesn't help you, so I will tell you what my friends have done:

I have one friend that decided to work nights and had a sitter come in during the day from 8am-1pm while she slept after a night shift.

I have another friend that went to work in a doctors office part time while her daughter went to day care.

I have other friends that only work night shift when their husband can be with the kids during the day.

I have other friends that do home health care visits only while their kids are in school.

Here's the thing. Nursing has about as much variety in schedules as you can find anywhere and it is very flexible. If you can swing a crappy schedule for the first 6 months to a year after you graduate, then you can go to a prn position and work just about any shift you want.

Oh, and since you asked...when I worked 3 twelve hour shifts, it really did feel like I had more days off. I loved it!! I scheduled myself to work Mon, Tues, and Thursday and it was the perfect schedule for me, because I had the weekend off, worked 2 days, took a break, then went back for one more and then had a long weekend. It was sooo much better than the full time 5 day/8 hour day week I was working before I went back to nursing school!!
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Old 06-30-2010, 11:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by lorijds View Post
You would be doing your family a huge disservice if you worked nights and did not have some type of childcare during the day for your baby. Really, babies don't sleep hard during the day for long. Even if you just had someone come into your home and watch the kids for 4-5 hours while you sleep, you really, really need that. Also, you can't be sleep deprived at your job. People's lives depend on your mental acuity. It's a professional responsibility to get adequate sleep.
I completely agree. Right now, my husband is a SAHD. I am trying to logically think it all through, but realize I think it will just be unknown until we are living it. I would love my husband to get a job to help out financially, but we do not one to do daycare and we have no family here. However, if he has a PT job and stays home during the day when I am getting off work then I could see it working. However, how will I sleep with him and the baby in the house? I guess I just would? I say that just thinking that I would want to be with the family and it would be hard to sleep when I know there is family time going on. I am a planner and like to analyze things too much, b/c for some reason I feel like the schedule change is what is preventing me from going back to school. But, there are obviously soooo many mom's that are nurses, so it must work for most families! I just can't logically think it out, b/c I've never had to do 12 hour shifts.

I really appreciate everyone's input. It is very helpful.
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Old 06-30-2010, 11:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by carolinagirl1 View Post
DH makes a good living and he can make in one hour what I make working 12 hours,

Here's the thing. Nursing has about as much variety in schedules as you can find anywhere and it is very flexible. If you can swing a crappy schedule for the first 6 months to a year after you graduate, then you can go to a prn position and work just about any shift you want.

Oh, and since you asked...when I worked 3 twelve hour shifts, it really did feel like I had more days off. I loved it!! I scheduled myself to work Mon, Tues, and Thursday and it was the perfect schedule for me, because I had the weekend off, worked 2 days, took a break, then went back for one more and then had a long weekend. It was sooo much better than the full time 5 day/8 hour day week I was working before I went back to nursing school!!
Thanks for the reply!!! Yes, we are definitely in different situations, ha! My husband is an artist That is great that you are volunteering your time. Amazing.

I appreciate your friends schedules as well. Thanks a lot!
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Old 07-01-2010, 12:44 AM
 
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Originally Posted by lorijds View Post
You would be doing your family a huge disservice if you worked nights and did not have some type of childcare during the day for your baby. Really, babies don't sleep hard during the day for long. Even if you just had someone come into your home and watch the kids for 4-5 hours while you sleep, you really, really need that. Also, you can't be sleep deprived at your job. People's lives depend on your mental acuity. It's a professional responsibility to get adequate sleep.
ITA. Nights are hard when you have babies I think. I only was able to do it until mine was about 4 mos old.

I work 8-5 with some later evenings seasonally & it's my preference. 12s were really hard for me & the days rotated each week so not all my days off were together which made it even harder. I also don't like hospital nursing.
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Old 07-01-2010, 03:15 AM
 
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However, how will I sleep with him and the baby in the house? I guess I just would? I say that just thinking that I would want to be with the family and it would be hard to sleep when I know there is family time going on.
Great earplugs and a fan for white noise. I also tie a t=shirt around my head to block out the light...and for some reason I really don't sleep well during the day without a t-shirt tied around my head. It's weird, I know.

Also, I do flip back and forth between days and nights. So, the night before I work for the first time in the week, I sleep regularly, but I try to get up early. Then I take a 3 hour nap before I go in. I sleep during the day when I get home. If I am back at work the next night, I just sleep all day until around 4. If I am not back that night, then I only sleep until noon and then get up, so that I can go back to sleep at night. Doesn't always work though...I'm up at midnight right now, unable to sleep...
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Old 07-01-2010, 06:20 AM
 
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I've done the 3 12hour nights for 9 years now. My babies are 2.5 and 4 months. I love it. I feel I get so much more (awake) time with them than I would working days.
when my older one was a baby, I worked for 4 months with no child care during the day. I don't recommend it. basically, I worked every-other night, and slept every single second the baby slept, and then some. we spent many hours daytime cosleeping (dozing), when baby would have probably been awake otherwise. At about 6 months, we got a babysitter. my husband worked a 9-5 schedule, and I worked full time nights, and we only needed 12-18 hours of child care! (a college student nanny in our home) I liked that I was home in case of emergency or melt-down.
i also like that it forced my dh to develop independent night-parenting skills.
now my DH is a SAHD, and I just love how much family time we get.
as for actual scheduling:
if I've been off, I nap for two hours before I go in (usually when the babies are napping). then I sleep from 9-3 when I get home, whether or not I have to go back. (falling asleep has never been a problem for me, only staying awake!) Since my little one is still little, my DH drops him off in bed with me when he needs to nurse, so I don't sleep through a feeding.
I don't know how it will be where you're working, but I also found pumping to be very easy at night- it's less busy, and you techically only have to pump for the feedings you're missing, which (hopefully) are fewer at night than during a full 12hour day, right? I pumped for a whole year last time, and hope to again.
we self-schedule, and i choose not to do all my three days back-to-back. it's too hard on my Dh, and on the kids, too. but working every-other is too hard, too, so I do two on, then one or two off, then another one on. or some variation therof.
hth, sorry about the rambling!

L, happily married to E since 8/06, mommy to B 11/07 and J 2/10
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Old 07-01-2010, 01:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the input!! I really enjoy hearing everyones perspective.

lorijds, that is really funny about the t-shirt, ha!
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Old 07-01-2010, 02:22 PM
 
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I have a very odd nursing job but I work part time in a health dept, I attend or conduct 3 meetings a month, go into the office twice a week for a bit, I am required to be available by phone, but then the rest of my work is done at home. I supervise a breastfeeding program and have 5 employees that I am charge of, and then I handle all medical breastfeeding issues. It is very relaxed which is a must because my DH's work is intense and I can't count on him to ever be around to help out.

I hated nights when I used to do hospital work so no help there, I had extreme difficulty sleeping during the day. My neighbor has two young children and works 4 nights a week in an ER (10 hour shifts), it got to a point where the other parent would have to be out of the house all morning so he could sleep because the kids were so noisy. They solved that problem by walling in a section of their garage and creating a "bedroom" where he could sleep during the day with minimal effects on the kids (being gone all day or constantly being reminded to be quiet).

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Old 07-01-2010, 04:00 PM
 
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I am a new nurse, so don't have a lot of experience will schedules, but will share what I've done thus far. For the last 8 weeks of nursing school, I had a f/t preceptorship. It was days - three 12 hour shifts. My kids are 3 & 5. I didn't see them the days I worked, or if they happened to be awake, I was on my way out. I didn't like it. In that unit, quite a few of the nurses w/small children worked nights. Oh, and three 12s in a row is absolutely killer. It can be done, but it's rough. Of course, then you do get a really nice stretch off.

I've just taken a job that will be three 12s, but nights. However the first 6 months will be on days (3 months orientation & then another 3 months on days so you can get a bit more seasoned). We'll see!
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Old 07-01-2010, 04:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Peony, your job sounds awesome.

Rosehip, congrats on finishing school and getting a job. What will you do?
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Old 07-02-2010, 03:28 PM
 
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Just wanted to say good luck! I have found nursing to be a very family friendly career. My son was born just a couple months after I finished nursing school and I have been able to work a variety of schedules to meet my family's needs. I have worked just mornings at an outpatient clinic- anywhere from 2 to 5 mornings a week depending on the age of my babies at the time. I have worked two 10's/ week at the same clinic. And I'm currently working two 12's per week in acute care and am planning to change to PRN (will have to work a minimum of three 12's per month) this fall. I also fill-in occasionally at the outpatient clinic I used to work at.

I have not had any difficulty changing my schedule when my family situation changes. That may be partly because I have great employers, but I think nursing generally offers a lot of flexibility. Also, I can't imagine working nights with little ones at home. I know myself and my body would not handle nights well- I'd be a train wreck. I've been a nurse for 6 years and never worked a night in my life, so don't assume you HAVE to start on nights.

Hope it works out well for you. I am not someone who feels "called" to be a nurse. Its just a job for me. My real job is my home and family, but I do enjoy my work and it helps pays the bills while letting me have a lot of time home with my family.

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Old 07-05-2010, 02:01 AM
 
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Haven't read all the responses but I love, love my job for how it works with the family. I work a .42 (9 shifts/month) and my hours are 12-815pm and 9-515pm. I was doing nights when I was pregnant with my first and I hope never to go back. They are awful for my health and the kids need a lot of night-time parenting up to about 3 yrs old. The great thing about nursing is that you can usually find some schedule that works for you.
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Old 07-07-2010, 10:38 PM
 
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I worked FT nights when first out of school. I thought I would have lots of time for my family, but instead I ended up being so dog tired on my 4 days off that I really only had one or two days off on which I had any energy at all for human interaction. Plus night shift schedule tends to make me depressed, since I'm naturally more of a morning person.

I then worked PRN for a while, which was a wonderful balance. The only thing I didn't like about it was not really feeling like part of the team, and worrying about not working enough to keep my skills current. Other than that, it was great. I worked about 1 shift a week for over a year.

Then we had some financial setbacks, so now I am about to go back on nights, only this time it is only 1-2 12's per week. I don't know how long I will last on nights this time- it burned me out pretty fast last time I tried it. I'm basically just working this as a temporary measure to get good insurance for a while, and I'll probably go back to PRN again in a year or two.

Having someone to watch your child while you sleep is SO important when you're on nights.

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Old 07-08-2010, 12:35 PM
 
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I've been working 3-12s a week 7pm-7am for a little over a year. I have a 3 year old son. The first few months I was working my husband was at home so it wasn't a problem at all. When my husband went back to work we started my son in full day preschool 5 days a week so I would be able to sleep. We tried to cut back to 3 days a week but it didn't work out with my schedule since I work different days and at least one day a week I would have him home all day and then have to go to work or go to work all night and have to watch him all day.

I am pregnant now and my son will be started public pre-k in the fall which will only be 2.5 hours a day and possibly before or after school care. I am still trying to figure out how to work out my schedule after the baby is born because I don't want to put a baby in daycare. My son was 3 when he started pre-school and really loves it and was ready to go. But I feel differently about a baby. I am most likely going back full time fairly soon after I have the baby and I am going to try to work the nights my husband is home so I can sleep and then one shift I'll have to be home with the baby before work and then be home with the baby after work. I was thinking about going down to part time 2-12s a week or finding someone to come babysit in my home while I sleep a little while. If that really doesn't work out I could put the baby in daycare 2 days a week hopefully once the baby is a little older.

I work nights because they work better for us, my husband gets home after 6pm and we need to pick up our son by 5pm so I am home to pick him up. Plus there is a shift differential and nights are less crazy than days (at least there are fewer people at the hospital, your patients aren't leaving for tests or procedures all day).

I just spent a few weeks on days because I switched jobs and was on orientation. The nice part was going to sleep every night with my husband but on the days I worked I really didn't see my son at all. He was usually still asleep when I left at 6:30 in the morning and was in bed when I got home at 8. I was able to say goodnight to him but he was already in bed and most of the time asleep.

As far as days off, the first day off after a night shift I sleep during the day wake up in the afternoon and go back to sleep at night with my husband. So the first day off really only feels like an evening off because I sleep during the day. I usually get a lot of household stuff/errands done on a day I have to work because I am awake during most of the day and try to nap before I go into work. I find switching back and forth between days and nights works much better than staying on a night shift schedule.

I really like having 4 days off a week, my husband is always jealous that I am home more since he works 5 days 8:45-5:15 but he gets to keep a consistent sleep schedule and is gets enough sleep every night.

Melissa- mom to a boy 9/06 and a new boy 11/10 and married to my best friend 7/02
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