I started off in the hospital, working 3 12-hour night shifts BECAUSE I have a family. I get home in the morning in time to see the kids off to school (90% of the time, anyway) and am home when they get home. I start dinner, then leave my hubby to finish it and put them to bed. When there's a school holiday or snow day (like today!!) I don't worry about who's going to watch them; even if I'm sleeping, I'm home and they know that if they need me. I haven't used a babysitter since I can't remember when, as my daytime husband trades off with me. So, nightshift is very compatible with raising a family. Even working alternating weekends is no big deal; I'm still on a night schedule, so I still have several daylight hours to share with the crew. Not a problem, and I've been able to work time off around evening kids' programs, too
As for getting experience, I say it's the hospital hands down, and I've learned so much in med-surg you can't believe it. Perhaps one day I'll move to a different type of environment, such as an office, but for the forseeable future I really like the extra $$ the hospitals pay, and the flexibility of scheduling. I only work 3 days a week (and more if I want, which I don't, LOL).
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