The Concerns of My Loving Wife - page 2

by JohnWatson 3,085 Views | 19 Comments

Hello everyone, I guess I should start by saying, 10 months ago my wife and I had two beautiful, healthy baby boys. In the time before and after their birth, we spent a reasonable amount of time (more time than I have ever... Read More


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    I completely agree about having the support of family. I did it with a husband and 2 kids, and he was my biggest cheerleader. It was very hard and I honestly couldn't have done it w/o that support. In regards to weekend work, my facility has a weekend position that is staffed to the max. It is hard to even get a weekend position b/c the pay is so well and the ppl who work it love being off 5 days a week and getting paid a little more than double what I make.
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    Quote from johnwatson
    hello everyone,


    1. my wife is primarily concerned that nurses work very crazy hours (lots of overtime) and because of this, they do not get to see their spouses and children on any regular basis. i have read on a couple places (including on this forum) that most nurses working at hospitals usually work three 12-hour shifts a week (i am interested in working in er/trauma, ob, icu, or or). can anyone elaborate on what their work schedule is like? does your shift change often? do you work the same days every week? is there a lot of mandatory overtime?

    i work 4 8 hour shifts per week (32 hours per week). i work the pm shift, never have to rotate and we don't have mandatory overtime. of course, we can always pick up extra hours if there are any, but i am happy with my 4 days a week. i don't work the same days every week, but i do work every other weekend. we can also request not to be scheduled on certain days. the 12 hour people only work every third weekend.

    2. i have read that some nurses may be on call. to what extent are most nurses on call? i have read about the shortage in staffing for nurses. does this happen often?

    like another post stated, nurses that work in procedure units like cath lab and radiology can be on call. also or. but our icu nurses can also be on call. if we are short staffed on a shift, we are usually able to get a float nurses to staff. if not, we may have someone trade shifts or come in and work extra. right now, we have a few nurses picking up extra hours. if that doesn't work, we beg and beg!! (but that usually doesn't happen)

    3. my wife is afraid that i will not get to spend any holidays with the family if i become a nurse. i have read that nurses are required to work holidays (which makes sense). how are holidays usually scheduled in hospitals? is this seniority based?

    we work every other holiday. this year i worked thanksgiving, new years eve and new years day. next year i will have those off and work xmas eve and xmas. if we have low census on holidays, getting called off goes by seniority. the most senior person will have the opportunity to take off first. it is all voluntary.

    4. how much vacation do you usually start with as a nurse?

    i earn so much pto per hour worked. this amount increases every five years. right now i earn about 6-7 hours per pay period (every two weeks). i currently have 150 hours in my pto bank. i take about 4-5 weeks of vacation every year. we are allowed to only take off one weekend a year and you are allowed only so much vacation time in the summer.

    5. another concern of my wife's is that i will constantly be around sick individuals who may have infectious diseases/viruses. i personally don't feel as worried about this, because i am sure there are many precautions taken and many preventative measures in place to keep hospital staff safe and healthy. do any of you get sick more often due to your work?

    i was never sick before i was an rn, and never sick now. the worst thing i get is a bad cold. practice good hand hygiene!

    6. finally, we are concerned about the cost of my nursing education. at present, i am looking into a ccne accredited bsn program at my local state university. after looking at the curriculum, i would still have about one year's worth of prerequisites to complete before i could apply to the clinical portion of the program. i am meeting an adviser to ask more questions in a couple weeks. what types of additional costs/fees should i expect while going through nursing school?

    are you going to be working while in school? if so, will you be working less? if that is the case, you may need to take out more money in financial aid to cover living expenses.
    but i too would also suggest that if you think you want to be a doctor, then bypass the rn route and go directly to med school.
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    I would also suggest the ADN route first as it is quick and cheap. Most of my classmates didn't quit their jobs and didn't have a problem passing nursing school so we didn't take a big hit on our income. Maybe I'm reading it wrong but your wife really sounds fixated on you having a Monday-Friday 9-5 type job. Even if you do get a day shift gig this isn't a practical expectation with most nursing jobs especially in the specialties you listed. Yes there are holidays obligations. Her concerns and expectations are not something I would take lightly. She will need to be flexible in her expectations or this could be the beginning of a real sore spot in your marriage, iom. Good luck.
  4. 0
    Quote from JohnWatson



    1. My wife is primarily concerned that nurses work very crazy hours (lots of overtime) and because of this, they do not get to see their spouses and children on any regular basis. I have read on a couple places (including on this forum) that most nurses working at hospitals usually work three 12-hour shifts a week (I am interested in working in ER/trauma, OB, ICU, or OR). Can anyone elaborate on what their work schedule is like? Does your shift change often? Do you work the same days every week? Is there a lot of mandatory overtime?
    I started in the hospital on the day shift, working 3 twelves. It was nice to have 4 days off every week, but it took some planning and paying attention to my physical health to ensure that I had the energy to enjoy my free time. Working 12 hour shifts for several days in a row can be very tiring, but lots of nurses do it and still have a very full personal life.

    I now work Monday to Friday, 8 hours a day. Not all nurses work in the hospital! I work for a hospice/home health agency.

    Quote from JohnWatson
    2. I have read that some nurses may be on call. To what extent are most nurses on call? I have read about the shortage in staffing for nurses. Does this happen often?
    Since I am a hospice RN Case Manager, I am on call ever 3rd week. For us, call starts at 5 pm and ends at 8 am on Monday through Thursday and from 5 pm Friday night to 8 am Monday morning. I am an RN and there is also an LPN on call, who gets the initial calls and makes most of the visits. I only get called if she has questions or if a second patient has a crisis while she is out to see another one, which is very rare. Call doesn't really affect my life too much; I just need to keep my phone with me and stay in town when I'm on.

    I was never expected to take call when I worked Med Surg, but staff shortage was a constant problem, which meant we were often called and asked to come in on our days off. We could always so no.

    Quote from JohnWatson
    3. My wife is afraid that I will not get to spend any holidays with the family if I become a nurse. I have read that nurses are required to work holidays (which makes sense). How are holidays usually scheduled in hospitals? Is this seniority based?
    Our agency gives us all major holidays off with pay. In the hospital, we took turns. If you worked Thanksgiving, you'd be off for Christmas this year and would work the opposite schedule next year.

    Quote from JohnWatson
    4. How much vacation do you usually start with as a nurse?
    I get 18 days of PTO my first year. I have to take sick days out of that as well as the paid holidays, so it will take a few years to reach the point where we can take an extended trip, but, since I don't work weekends, I only need 10 days PTO for a 14 day trip. I also don't have to take PTO for holidays if I don't want to; I can work some of those holidays instead in order to save up for vacation. Labor Day, Memorial Day, etc aren't that important to me to be off.

    As mentioned by a previous poster, it's somewhat easier to arrange your schedule for longer periods of time off without using PTO when you work 3 12 hour shifts a week.

    Quote from JohnWatson
    5. Another concern of my wife's is that I will constantly be around sick individuals who may have infectious diseases/viruses. I personally don't feel as worried about this, because I am sure there are many precautions taken and many preventative measures in place to keep hospital staff safe and healthy. Do any of you get sick more often due to your work?
    Not really. I was out sick a total of 3 days during my first 16 months of nursing and that was on a Med Surg floor. Good hand hygiene, universal precautions, and just plain old common sense are all key.

    Quote from JohnWatson
    6. Finally, we are concerned about the cost of my nursing education. At present, I am looking into a CCNE accredited BSN program at my local state university. After looking at the curriculum, I would still have about one year's worth of prerequisites to complete before I could apply to the clinical portion of the program. I am meeting an adviser to ask more questions in a couple weeks. What types of additional costs/fees should I expect while going through nursing school?
    I went to a community college and got my ADN for less than $15,000 total. That included tuition, books, lab fees, criminal background check, uniforms, insurance, vaccinations, etc. I used federal loans for some of it and got a scholarship from the hospital that hired me that paid for my final year (in exchange for working for them for a year). I'm now going to do an online program for my BSN that is also very affordable
    .
    Quote from JohnWatson
    I keep telling myself that the negatives of the job would be manageable when considering the good I would be doing. But, I also have to consider my family and how important they are to me. I realize this is a very long post and I want to thank those of you who have read this far. Thank you for any assistance you can give us in making this very important decision.

    Thank you again,
    JohnWatson
    To me, having supportive people in my life was essential to getting through both nursing school and that first year after licensure. It's going to be really important to you to have your wife on board with you on this. I do hope that the information you're getting will help her to believe that you can do this and get behind you fully.

    Best of luck to you and be blessed!
    Last edit by missninaRN on Jan 9, '10
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    i agree with the others, if MD is not a route you can pursue at this time you can become an advanced practice nurse. CRNAs make six figures although i hear that is just as difficult as med-school. but you could also become a Nurse practitioner. I also don't get any more sick than i did before nursing and not all hospitals enforce mandatory overtime. that would be a question that you should ask during your interview for a job but i believe this will be less of an issue in the upcoming years due to Magnet status frowning upon manadatory overtime.
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    John,

    If you already have a bachelor's degree, are considering nursing, and want a more regular schedule, I would investigate Direct Entry Master's Programs. You can get both your RN or BSN AND your Master's in Nursing, and work as a Nurse Practitioner. That's what I did and it's worked out very well for me. I work regular hours (4 ten hour days) in an outpatient clinic, only work 1 Saturday a month, no major holidays, and I never have to take call. I love the combination of nursing care along with diagnosing and treating patients. I feel I'm paid well and best of all, I get a tremendous amount of satisfaction from my work. These types of programs usually require 3 years of full time study, although I attended an accelerated 2 year program. You usually can do the Masters' portion part time, so you can work part time as an RN while you do your Masters. Most people in my program did not work if they went full time, but I did work 16 hours a week through the whole program. I'd be lying if I said it wasn't stressful, but I never felt like it was more than I could handle. I had very little time for fun during the two years, but it was worth the sacrifice. I also have two children, but they're older and a little less "needy" than little ones. The only time I got sick during school was when I did my pediatric NP clinicals. It had been a while since I had been exposed to little kid germs, so I did catch a few colds, but I didn't pass anything on to my kids and husband. I went to a private university and it was very expensive-my tuition and fees for the program were $72,000. I borrowed all of it. However, I now work a a Family Nurse Practitioner at a community health center with an underserved population, and I have an award from the National Health Service which pays back $50,000 of my loans in return for a 2 year commitment. I'm very happy I went this route, and the sacrifices were worth it to me. It's just another perspective for you to consider. Regardless of which route you take, I wish you the bet of luck!!
  7. 0
    Well first off good for you. Nursing is very rewarding but hard work. Why not attend an associated degree program which is more cost effective? Nurses are not forced to work overtime but when they do they get paid very well for it. My facility pays time and a half plus extra shift pay plus shift differential. You have many flexibilities in nursing. Some places do 8 hour shifts some do 12's. (we do 12's) Most but not all grads start out on night shift. I am not going to lie, it is hard work to get thru nursing school. I did it with two children and a husband and it was very hard but I am glad it's over and I have a life-long career with good benefits and doing what i love. If you were a dr. you would have even crazier hours so that's something to remember. Oh yeah and most likely you will work most holidays but most places do a rotating everyother year type of thing
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    Quote from JohnWatson
    Hello everyone,

    1. My wife is primarily concerned that nurses work very crazy hours (lots of overtime) and because of this, they do not get to see their spouses and children on any regular basis. I have read on a couple places (including on this forum) that most nurses working at hospitals usually work three 12-hour shifts a week (I am interested in working in ER/trauma, OB, ICU, or OR). Can anyone elaborate on what their work schedule is like? Does your shift change often? Do you work the same days every week? Is there a lot of mandatory overtime?

    2. I have read that some nurses may be on call. To what extent are most nurses on call? I have read about the shortage in staffing for nurses. Does this happen often?

    3. My wife is afraid that I will not get to spend any holidays with the family if I become a nurse. I have read that nurses are required to work holidays (which makes sense). How are holidays usually scheduled in hospitals? Is this seniority based?

    4. How much vacation do you usually start with as a nurse?

    5. Another concern of my wife's is that I will constantly be around sick individuals who may have infectious diseases/viruses. I personally don't feel as worried about this, because I am sure there are many precautions taken and many preventative measures in place to keep hospital staff safe and healthy. Do any of you get sick more often due to your work?

    6. Finally, we are concerned about the cost of my nursing education. At present, I am looking into a CCNE accredited BSN program at my local state university. After looking at the curriculum, I would still have about one year's worth of prerequisites to complete before I could apply to the clinical portion of the program. I am meeting an adviser to ask more questions in a couple weeks. What types of additional costs/fees should I expect while going through nursing school?

    I keep telling myself that the negatives of the job would be manageable when considering the good I would be doing. But, I also have to consider my family and how important they are to me. I realize this is a very long post and I want to thank those of you who have read this far. Thank you for any assistance you can give us in making this very important decision.

    Thank you again,
    JohnWatson

    I'll try to answer. But you know the answers will vary a lot.
    1. I know of one medsurg job in my county that is an 8 hour shift (that is, one floor on one of the hospitals). The rest of the nursing jobs if they are floor work, are 12 hour shifts and you typically work 3 shifts a week if full time. I do not know of any place near me that forces nurses to rotate between days and nights. Now some people do, if they are crazy, but you don't have to. You can work a whole truckload of shifts if you want to, and some crazy folks do. The majority of people do 3 a week, unless they work baylor which is only weekends but every single weekend.

    2. On call time depends on your unit that you work for. Like my first nursing job we signed up for 16 call hours per month and it could be in a minimum of 4 hr blocks. I usually put them together and had one call shift of 12 hours and one 4 hr block somewhere else. If they require you sign up for a lot of call they are probably understaffed and will be calling you in when you sign up. Also any day job that could get emergently busy after hours like OR or cath lab will have call time.

    3. Realistically expect to work about half your holidays. Realize that managers count working nightshift christmas eve and not nightshift on christmas, to be "off for christmas." :-) The worst times are when the flu season happens to peak the day after christmas (that was a bad night), or thanksgiving night when people get chestpain admissions for eating too much turkey.

    4. 6-7 hrs per pay period. So one shift per month. It accrues. Check the hospital's HR policy about how much accrues, if there is a cap, if they do a payout when it hits the cap, etc. My second nurse job quit doing their payout of hours when they hit cap, and then kept the cap. So I quit when I got close to the cap, and got paid for all my vacation.

    5. Your personal immune system will have an adjustment period where you will be sick more often, like during your first year. After that it will be able to jump out of you and attack squirrels in the yard. (not really) The challenge is to keep your work clothes and shoes separate from your household stuff so you don't share work germs with your family. Separate hampers works well.

    6. I work with people who have up to $40k in debt from a batchelor's degree. I have none but I got my nursing education at a technical college and paid as I went. Being a single mom with a disabled child, I was eligible for quite a bit of assistance and I used every dime I could find, including food stamps. Federal loans don't happen for tech schools so that was the only thing I had no access to. When I graduated, I had no money, one month worth of groceries left on the food stamps card, but no debt. And I would not trade the experience. Everyone has a different experience with the financial side of this.

    I wish you luck in whatever path you choose.
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    My wife and I would like to thank everyone very much for all of your help and insight. You have given us a much more clear picture of what we have to think about and discuss. I think this has all caught my wife by surprise and it will take some time and a continued interest on my part for her to come around. She does not want me to jump into something blindly, only for me to change my mind.

    I've set up appointments with advisors at my local community college as well as the university. Getting an ASN does sound like a much more cost effective option. My only fear is that my local community college has a rather large waiting list. The advisor has told me over the phone that the waiting list is close to 2 years long. I'm sure there are other options out there. I will have to do more investigating. Trying to get a job in a different but related position at a hospital or other facility while I wait could be an option. I imagine this could help with networking and having related work experience when applying for a position as a graduate.

    Thank you again everyone,
    JohnWatson
  10. 0
    In reply to your post:
    1. I notice that I have different time off. I am able to go to the grocery store or the gym when the 8-5crowd is at work. The weekends I work my husband comes and has lunch with me, but I have quite a few days off during the week. I work 3-12 hour shifts per week.
    2. On my floor, a general medical floor, we can put our name on the list for an on call if we are scheduled for a shift. If no one is on the list we rotate, we are only allowed to sign up for 2 shifts per pay period. If the census is low and you are not needed you can be sent home on-call. There are other departments in the hospital that require on-call as a part of your schedule.
    3. In our department we rate our holidays 1-4 (Christmas day, Christamas Eve, New Year's, and Thanksgiving) and it will be decided based on this list and who worked what last year. If we are scheduled on a holiday we didn't want to work we can still sign up for the on-call list mentioned above. I have had several holidays on-call. We are over staffed for holidays and usually low on patients. I think new years day 4 nurses were put on call.
    4.Our vacation and sick time is calculated based on the number of days we work. I think It comes out to 6 hours of vacation and 2hours of sick time per pay period for me. This doesn't sound like much but I have rarely used vacation time when I went out of town. I can work the beginning of one week and the end of the next (1 week off) and not use any vacation time.
    5. Don't wear your shoes in the house. Take your scrubs off before you play with your kids and always wash your hands.
    6. I received my ADN through a community college at a great rate and I am enrolled in Spring classes online for my BSN which my employer will provide tuition reimbersement for.

    Hope this helps. I have really enjoyed being a nurse, but I realize it is not for everybody.


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