days vs. nights--family life perspective
1Nov 23, '12 by 77for2011All the threads on days vs. nights that I've read on here focus on the perspective of workload and unit relations. I will be starting my first RN position soon, and I'd like to hear from people about the family life perspective.
I have small children and have heard a lot of people say they like nights because they are always free to attend their children's school events, etc. But then I've heard some say that they're always tired on days off, and lose a day off to sleeping. My one friend who is on days says she may not ever see her kids/family on the days she works (7p-7a) b/c they are not up when she leaves and it's almost bedtime when she gets home, BUT on her days off she's not exhausted, so they can deal with it on the days they don't see her.
That said, one of my kids has had a really hard time with my absence during nursing school, when I've been off to study and they don't see me before bed, etc... so I'm not sure how being on days would affect him.
What are your thoughts and advice from this perspective?
0Nov 23, '12 by missladyrnIf your children are school aged, nights might be a good option because you can work, then come home and sleep while they are in school then see them after school. If they are younger than that, daycare is an issue because you need to sleep before and after a shift if you work nights. Whichever shift you work, 12 hours often becomes 13+ so on the days you work, you are going to be gone long and tired. If you work dayshift, you will leave early am and get home after 8pm. So those days you wont see your kids a lot. But on your days off you will feel sort of normal. I work nights, so I sleep 9-3ish and they get up for work. If I had kids, I would at least see them for dinner those nights I work. Every family has their own struggle with this.
0Nov 24, '12 by Twinmom06, ASN, RNQuote from Sun0408this - I'm in school now but work as an aide overnight...I get home when they get on the bus and then sleep till 2:30 I'm able to get up, do homework with them, make dinner - see my hubby and then go lay down at 7 or so till 9:30 and get up for work at 11Night shift works best for my family. My children are 12 and 10. During the school year, it works great. I see them everyday, able to help with homework and do dinner. I sleep while they are in school and wake at 3p. Of course Im tired after coming off nights but adjust..
0Nov 24, '12 by Nurse ABCI work 12 hr days and I leave at 6 am and don't get home until 8 pm (1/2 hr commute each way and we don't get paid for our lunch so we have to work 12 1/2 hrs but never get out on time anyway). So, by the time I get home my kids are getting ready for bed. If I worked nights I would sleep until they got home at 3pm, be able to help with homework, get dinner, and would have to leave at 6 pm. I would see them more but my husband also works nights so I need to work days so one of us can be here at night. If I want to see a program I make sure I ask for the day off or trade. I don't think either is very family friendly but the fact I only work 3 days makes it not too horrible knowing I'm home more days than I work. If your husband is there to tuck them in bed at night I'd go for nights.
1Nov 25, '12 by somenurseWow, great question.
I've worked both,
and i can see how you might see nights as a better option, because, if you have to, you can drag yourself to various daytime things.
however, do note the word "drag". WORKING NIGHTS IS LIKE A SNEAK PREVIEW INTO OLD AGE/EARLY ALZHEIMER.
for real. Unless your own particular circadian rhythm lends itself well to that shift, you do pay a high price health-wise, mental clarity wise, etc etc.
and, imo, family wise. Sure, you will "be there", but, YOU are not really all the way 'there', imo, or, lotsa ppl aren't really 'there' in a way. (some do pull this shift off Very well, but, many don't/can't).
and you are right, usually, at least once a week, you forego sleep for that 24 hour period entirely, or get very reduced amt of sleep, as you transition back to work, off work, on and on,
always just a bit 'off' from the rest of the world.
My kids once told me, after i'd gone to dayshift, "Oh wow, Mom, it's so nice you work days. All you used to talk about, was how much sleep you got, or didn't get, sleep sleep sleep talk allllll the time, it was so boring."
and they were right. I had devolved into a sleep-deprived person, always focusing on sleep....the way a really thirsty person can't quite pay att'n cuz they are always seeking out a drink of water.
but, on bright side,
on nightshift, there is, occasionally, a bit more time to learn various things, and sometimes, a slightly slower pace, etc, as a new nurse, that might be a plus.Last edit by somenurse on Nov 25, '12 : Reason: typo