Marriage to a Nurse-- Need HELP

  1. Hi everyone.
    I am nto a nurse, however I am in a serious relationship with a Student Nurse. We have been talking marriage for some time now but she needs to graduate school. She will be done with her RN by December 2005. As you can see its right around the corner.

    Anyway, I have a lot of concerns and she tries to reassure me that my concerns are not warrented nor will they be as bad as I think. However, I am skeptical because she has not been in the profession yet.

    So long story short. I am concerned about what life will be like married to a Nurse. She has her heart set on ER nurseing and possibly Main OR. Considering I am in buisness and not medical profession. Everything I know is based on drama shows like ER and Trama etc. So I started thinking and I came up with the follwoing red flags that really concern me.

    1. I don't want her to put herself in danger. There appreantly is a lot of disease and virus that are fatal out there. I am afraid if she is working in the ER that she might get AIDS if there is a bleeder and she gets blood in her eye Or if she gets stuck by a needle. So I feel she is in a dangerous postion over this.

    2. I see alot of ER jobs out there that require shift work. Since my career bassically allows only for a 8-6 type of schdule. I am afraid that I will never see her if she get stuck on a 7-7 shift or so. The thought of comming home to an empty house and being alone until she has off next frightens me. I want to be able to some home and share each others day. Also we plan on having children so I don't understand how we can have children if she has so many messed up hours.

    3. Holidays are important to the both of us. But since we have plans to move from NJ to out west. We will only have each other. Our familys will be behind. I don't really want to spend Christmas all alone.

    4. The show ER is scary.... Does any of that stuff actually happen? If not then why is nursing considered one of the highest risk jobs you can have?

    Overall I know it sounds like its all about me. But honestly it is. I want to make sure I know what I am getting into and the pitfalls I might face before I continue with the Marriage talk. Are my concerns warrented or am I just being smothering?

    Any real life experinces and advice would be helpful. Someone out there must be married and a nurse. Who can offers some real life insight and not drama show life. I am looking for anyone who can really tell me how it is and perhaps made a marriage work by having night shift work.

    Thank you all in advace.
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  2. 128 Comments

  3. by   alk3rainbow
    hmm not nursing but my dad worked a night shift as an engineer for the first few years he was married to my mom and they never had any problems and they had three kids. Eventually he was able to get a better shift as he gained seniority. They've been married for over 25 years. I'm just a nursing student, and I'm not married...but I'd have to think if you are willing to put the work into it then yes marriage to a nurse could work. Also if someone is working 7-7 shifts, that usually means they are only working 3 days a week and the other 4 they will be home for you. There is also the option of working part-time as a nurse if you have children...and because nurses have such a choice when it comes to picking shifts daycare may never become necessary. I don't know what to really tell you, but you might want to share your doubts with her and talk to her about them. Marriage to anyone is going to be tough.
  4. by   Mint Julip
    I don't mean to offend you, but this does sound like it's ALL about you.

    Needle sticks/blood splashes/exposure to disease can occur in any setting, not just the ED or OR. Sometimes they cannot be avoided, but we are taught to protect ourselves the best we can. There is a risk factor that goes along with this profession just as with being a police officer or a fireman. If your fiancee feels that nursing is right for her then why not try to be more supportive of her aspirations?

    I agree that marriage in itself can be tough, but it's a partnership where sometimes you have to make sacrifices for each other.
    Last edit by Mint Julip on Mar 29, '04
  5. by   fergus51
    The number of nurses who get a HIV on the job is miniscule. I think your fears about that are out of balance with the reality. Even needlestick injuries from an HIV positive patient are very unlikely to spread the disease to healthcare workers.

    ER as a tv show is great, but it isn't close to reality. Security varies from place to place and unit to unit. The OR is probably the most secure area in the hospital because it is so restricted and the patients are asleep (and OR nursing lends MANY opportunities for day shift work!), but even in the ER there are things in place for the security of the staff.

    Shift work is actually great for some people, because you get a lot of time off. There are also several ways to set your own schedule in nursing by working casual or per diem or agency. These nurses just list when they are willing to work, so they have complete control over their schedule. Bet your job isn't so flexible! Many nurses I know work this way when they have kids. There are also 8 hour jobs out there. Many facilities have 7-3, 3-11 and 11-7 shifts.

    Hollidays? Well, she might have to work some and you won't be together the whole day. Small price to pay if you really love her. Or you could always go home for a visit during the holidays.
  6. by   Rustyhammer
    If you truly care about her you'll let her follow her path.
    Here you are thinking about marriage and yet you want to keep her from what SHE wants to do.
    Would you be willing to change your livelyhood to fit around her schedule?
    You should think about this.
    -R
  7. by   AnnaN5
    I am not a nurse yet, but I do have 2 aunts who are nurses that also have families. One of my aunts works in NICU and my uncle is a cop so they both have screwy schedules but they both love what they do so they make it work. They have 2 younger kids but they have their schedules set up so one of them is off work when they get home from school. They have a normal family life with vacations, holidays, etc...

    My other aunt has paid her dues so to speak and now as a position in outpatient surgery, no nights, no weekends, not to mention she only works a couple days a week. She is home almost whenever she wants to spend time with my uncle and their 2 kids.

    So obviously it is possible to have a normal happy marriage to a nurse. It may be hard for the first couple years since with no seniority she may not get the most convenient shifts. And like someone mentioned before, all areas, not just ER run the risk of disease, etc.

    I think that if you are truly in love with her, you will find a way to make it work. If you have this many doubts then you should really have a long talk with her and let her know your feelings/thoughts.
  8. by   mstewart
    But, maybe you should re-think why you want marry her. If you want some one around whenever you are...get a dog. It isn't fair to ask some one to give up a dream for you. If you really love her...you will figure a way to work it out. You will put your fears aside and deal with schedules, and the risk of injury, blah, blah, blah because you want to see her happy at what she does and succeed. This is really rude to say, and I am sorry-but grow up and quit being so selfish!!
    And maybe you should be talking to her about how you feel.
    You remind me of my husband when we were first married. And thank GOD he changed-otherwise I wouldn't be married to him now!!
  9. by   NeedAdvice1234
    Whoa.... Time out. LOL. I understand how everyone thinks I am trying to prevent her from follwoing her dreams. THAT IS FAR FROM TRUTH. I have brought these concerns to her and we have talked about them, like I said we both agree that we don't know much about how life will be because she isn't in any set schdule.

    BY NO MEANS Do I want to control her or dictate to her how she should live her life. However, This is why I turned here. I was hoping for some reality checks and good advice on why my thoughts are misleaded or incorrect. Or even if I am dead on. So far I am interested in the responses I have gotten all of you are starting to make me think about this. What exactly is this Per diem?

    Also... everyone seems to have an outlook on Nursing being a wonderful Job potentially better then most office jobs! Bu why? What are the perks.

    Everyone was saying that there is a risk for HIV everywhere even in an office. But what wouldn't the risk be greater in the ER when people come in bleeding a lot more often then in say a Law office or a Executive office?

    I want to make something very clear here. I turned to this chat area BECAUSE I DO LOVE fiancee. I just don't want to be a deadbeat husband who sits around and bickers all the time about her job. I want to make sure I have an understanding of this profession and the positives and the negatives. The worst thing I could do is marry her and find out I can handle the idea of her being a nurse because I never see her. How do you build a realtionship when you never see anyone? But the conversations with her make me feel that I may be misinformed....However, I didn't want to beat a horse to death because I was afraid she would feel guilty about following her dream. PLEASE understand that I am trying to get a grasp on what Nursing is all about and I am doing this so I don't wind up hurting her in 5 10 15 years because I blew this topic off.

    I listed my concerns that been bothering me for about 6-9 months in my first post. Please re read and try to understand I am not out to control her. I just don't want to make a poor decsion that could be life threating or relationship ending. I just want to know the reality of what nursing is all about!
  10. by   fergus51
    Per diem is like a casual position at a hospital. When they have spots in the schedule that aren't filled with regular staff, they schedule per diem nurses to fill them. Per diem at my hospital say they are available for X shift on X days and can only be called to work when they have said they were available.

    HIV is actually very hard to spread, even to healthcare workers. Even with needlesticks you are not at all likely to aquire it. She is more likely to get hit by a car going into the hospital than to get HIV on the job. Think about it realistically. Thanks to universal precautions (like gloves and gowns) it is very safe.

    What are the perks? Aside from loving what I do, I make a good living at it and have a lot of schedule flexibility, as well as job security! I can retrain to any area of nursing and have the option of pursuing a Masters to teach or work as an independent practitionner. You will see your fiancee. Full time in a lot of places is 36 hours a week (3 12 hour shifts). That leaves a lot of extra time in the week, probably more than your job. My advice is wait until she has been a nurse for a year before getting married if this really concerns you.

    Honestly though, I think you are making a mountain out of a molehill. If this is the worst thing about your relationship, you are pretty lucky.
  11. by   NeedAdvice1234
    Fergus51,
    What about ER nurses... thats what she wants to do. Is it like they show on the TV Show ER or trama in the ER. She tells me its fast paced only when people come in. Otherwise its pretty slow with patient activity. Especially since we live in the suburbs.

    It seems as though I might be in the wrong profession LOL. One of the biggest things I have seen is that during her entire schooling she has no time for nothing and has gotten pretty burnt out and depressed. She works as a Medical Assistant during the day and then off to school from 6-11:30 at night. By the time she gets home its around 12:15am. She tells me there is so much work. now logically speaking, if the schooling is that tieadious then wouldn't that make the job just as demanding or is it completly diffrent.

    You also refered to the HIV not likely, then why is Burseing ranked one of the most dangerous jobs in the United States? What causes it to be such a high risk job?

    Any addtional details or advice is greatly aprrciated. I am trying hard to understand something I have no direct contact with. So far it does seem like I am making a moutain out of a molehill!

    Quote from fergus51
    Per diem is like a casual position at a hospital. When they have spots in the schedule that aren't filled with regular staff, they schedule per diem nurses to fill them. Per diem at my hospital say they are available for X shift on X days and can only be called to work when they have said they were available.

    HIV is actually very hard to spread, even to healthcare workers. Even with needlesticks you are not at all likely to aquire it. She is more likely to get hit by a car going into the hospital than to get HIV on the job. Think about it realistically. Thanks to universal precautions (like gloves and gowns) it is very safe.

    What are the perks? Aside from loving what I do, I make a good living at it and have a lot of schedule flexibility, as well as job security! I can retrain to any area of nursing and have the option of pursuing a Masters to teach or work as an independent practitionner. You will see your fiancee. Full time in a lot of places is 36 hours a week (3 12 hour shifts). That leaves a lot of extra time in the week, probably more than your job. My advice is wait until she has been a nurse for a year before getting married if this really concerns you.

    Honestly though, I think you are making a mountain out of a molehill. If this is the worst thing about your relationship, you are pretty lucky.
  12. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    Quote from Rustyhammer
    If you truly care about her you'll let her follow her path.
    Here you are thinking about marriage and yet you want to keep her from what SHE wants to do.
    Would you be willing to change your livelyhood to fit around her schedule?
    You should think about this.
    -R
    What Rusty said.
  13. by   fergus51
    Quote from NeedAdvice1234
    Fergus51,
    What about ER nurses... thats what she wants to do. Is it like they show on the TV Show ER or trama in the ER. She tells me its fast paced only when people come in. Otherwise its pretty slow with patient activity. Especially since we live in the suburbs.

    It seems as though I might be in the wrong profession LOL. One of the biggest things I have seen is that during her entire schooling she has no time for nothing and has gotten pretty burnt out and depressed. She works as a Medical Assistant during the day and then off to school from 6-11:30 at night. By the time she gets home its around 12:15am. She tells me there is so much work. now logically speaking, if the schooling is that tieadious then wouldn't that make the job just as demanding or is it completly diffrent.

    You also refered to the HIV not likely, then why is Burseing ranked one of the most dangerous jobs in the United States? What causes it to be such a high risk job?

    Any addtional details or advice is greatly aprrciated. I am trying hard to understand something I have no direct contact with. So far it does seem like I am making a moutain out of a molehill!
    ER nurses work the same schedule as all the other nurses, and according to our nursing board, it is not any more dangerous as far as assaults as other areas (they found that psych and geriatrics had the most assaults, mainly because the ERs had the resources to deal with violent people, like security guards). And the level of bloodiness really depends on the place. A quiet ER is just that 90% of the time and when there is the possibility of blood exposure nurses wear personal protective equipment (gown, gloves, face shield). Her first year out, she'll probably have to work a regular position, but once she is trained, it is pretty easy to get perdiem positions. My best friend works in emerg and always complains about how fake ER is.

    Nursing is ranked as a dangerous profession because of on the job injuries, which usually occur because of lifting a patient inproperly or without help, not because of diseases like HIV. HIV is very difficult to spread, mainly because the virus is destroyed almost immediately when it has been exposed to air. I have been a nurse for a few years now, and worked in one of the bloodiest areas of nursing (labor and delivery) and with more HIV positive women and babies than I can count and never had a needlestick injury or other exposure. Believe me, I am much more concerned about hurting my back than getting AIDS. I'll see if I can find you a link on HIV and health care workers.

    I found that being a nurse is much less time consuming than being a student nurse! Having only one job meant my hours were cut in half. Your fiancee will probably find the same thing.
  14. by   teeituptom
    My wife was a nurse also
    we never had any problems

    and 7 kids and 30 yrs later
    we still dont

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