nursing and family life

  1. I have been a nurse for a little over a year in a busy ED. I have 3 children and have been married for about 7 years. Since I've started working as a nurse, it seems that my job has really taken a toll on my married/family life. I mean let's face it, nursing in the ED is not your average 8-5 job with weekends and holidays off. With all its down falls and stressors, I love my job with a passion, but of course I love my family too. Lately, I find myself burdened with guilt that perhaps I am neglecting them. Between the two I find myself mentally and physically exhausted. Am I the only one who has this problem? Is there any advice out there?
    Last edit by Jhope on Aug 16, '01
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  2. 14 Comments

  3. by   radnurse2001
    Does your insitution have 12 hour shifts or weekend program? I found these very beneficial until I stumbled into my 8-430 job. Luck was on my side.) good luck!
  4. by   Overland1
    Last year, I left an ER job and went back to ICU nursing at a smaller hospital much closer to home. The ER job was a 90-mile round trip (360 miles/week), and was night shifts. Although I had worked nights prior to that, this job resulted in my wife and me seeing each other for about 1/2-day each week (this closely resembled the situation in my first marriage). She was tolerant of it, but then she is not one to complain much anyway unless things get really bad. Beyond that, I found myself being abrupt with people and more cynical than I could imagine. Must be I was not happy in that job. On my way home on the day I left that job, I called my wife at her office and invited her to lunch, something we had not been able to do in about a year . I told her at lunch that I was officially between jobs, but not for long enough to take a vacation .

    I was seriously considering another line of work when a very good friend (a RN with whom I worked in a nearby ICU and had gone to work for another hospital in the area) e-mailed me one day and suggested that I apply at the ICU of the place where she is working. I initially passed it off as something for "maybe later" until she e-mailed me again and told me she had just given that hospital's recruiter the lowdown on me and that I should talk with this recruiter right away, and I did. After interviewing with the ICU Director, it was a done deal .

    Present and past co-workers, as well as other friends, tell me that I seem much happier now, probably because I am happier. I am now doing three 12-hour night shifts/week with some overtime, and am also doing per diem at another hospital ER when I have the time.

    Getting back to basics at home has not been easy, but it can be done. If I have learned anything, it is to never let the job push the marriage around.
  5. by   WayneRN
    I finally came to the conclusion, after years of confusion, that the reason I work at a J-o-b is to support my family...
    NOT the other way around!
    In other words, my family is more important than my job. They are so important that they are the reason I work at my job. I know that some people work at their family to support their job. But these people usually define themselves by their career instead of using their career as a tool in creating their life. One of these days someone is going to wake up very lonely.
    I've never heard any of my terminal patients complain that they wish they had spent more time at work!
  6. by   BugRN
    I knew I had to make a change when my husband said I had changed so much that if he met me now, the way I had become, he wouldn't have asked me out! That the stress of the job had changed me so much and I had turned into such a negative, *****y women that he wouldn't have been interested in me. That was all I needed to hear to realize it had gotten out of hand. Sometimes you need to hear what your family is saying and look at what you've become. No job is worth that. I resigned shortly after that, took a lower paying job with much less stress and am much happier, so is my hubby. Ask yourself what it is about your job now that you love so much and see if you can find another job that has that to offer as well, but will be better for your family??
    Good luck!!
  7. by   LindaHP
    This has been an issue for me. I loved my job until I got married and had kids. Now my family means everything to me. I love being a stay at home mom. However, I have had to work to make ends meet and therefore have been working every weekend since we had our kids , and only Saturdays for the past year. In just a few days my kids will be going back to school and the youngest will be in first grade full days. So I am lucky enough to be in home health and have a flexible schedule. I will be dropping the kids off at school, and then going to work for 5 hours, finishing in time to pick them up. I will probably work 3 days a week.
    Here's the dillemma:
    I have been a nurse since 1983 and I am really good at it. My heart just isnt in it. I look longingly at the gas station attendant and think, "what a great job" LOL. My nursing friends all admit to burnout, yet continue to "climb the ladder" into management. I hate the system.

    I am very lucky in one regard. I am a per diem nurse. I can spend as much time as necessary with a patient in home health. I dont care if my productivity is down because I know they wont hassle me too much. So the only redeeming factor in the world of nurse burn out, is knowing that I helped a patient figure out how to take care of themselves better or helped them figure out how the "system works" : )

    As far as my family goes, it took a long time to make them my career. I still feel twinges of guilt but mostly I am deeply satisfied with my family life.
  8. by   JennieBSN
    Okay, here's my take. I am childless but married. My husband and I agreed that when we have kids (in about 1.5 years), I will quit and stay at home full time, only working one day a week to have adult conversation and escape the house. We are almost debt-free, and have worked very hard to build a solid cushion to both our savings and checking accounts.

    I suspect the reason a lot of women work (who don't honestly WANT to) full time is due to financial necessity. SO...here is what I propose. Buy 4 books: 'The Tightwad Gazette' vols. 1, 2, and 3, and 'Finance for Dummies.' Reign in your spending, increase your savings, cut corners wherever you can, and see if you can knock your time at work down to either part time or per diem.

    My sister made only 3k over the amount to qualify for WIC when she and her husband had their first child, yet they managed to allow her to stay home because it was what was important to them. They cut things like cable, dinners out, name brand foods/toiletries, etc., etc.. It IS possible. I suggest you see if you can swing it, because like WayneRN said, none of his terminal pt.s ever said they'd wished they'd spent more time at WORK.

    Food for thought....
  9. by   nicola
    I can understand that! In home care I'm doing 10+ hours/day (I'm staff, not per diem) and when I see my boyfriend I'm stressed and frustrated. I have OASIS to complete and docs to chase down. As much as I love what I do, the cost is high.

    On top of that, I have diabetes and the stress isn't good for my control. AAUUGGHH! At this point I'm not on meds, but don't want to start any time soon...

    I have a friend who quit nursing to stay home with her family. Her husband doesn't make millions, but they've been able to do pretty well and just bought a home in Fla! She's never been happier!
  10. by   nar-S
    i agree with what waynern said that we're working hard for our family...who, in their right mind would want to work in a highly stressful job, with an 8-12 hour shifts weekdays and weekends, just because they wanted to??? it has to be for something or someone...if you make your job the top priority above everything else, it would be a lonely life you'd be living...
  11. by   nursenel
    I burned out too and now I am 'pool' and I only work 3 days a week. Of course I have no insurance and I get no other benefits along with my pool status BUT I am a much happier human being!!!!
  12. by   LindaHP
    I agree. Hubby makes much less than I do, but I am the one who wanted to stay home with the kids.

    The nurses I know that worked all through their kids' childhood was due to pressure from their husbands and because they made more money than their husbands.

    I think the reason more nurses work is because it is lucrative. If we only had the ability to work at the local 7-11 then we would not get pressure to help support our famililes.

    I know a speech therapist who hates her job, yet she has worked full time for years because her husband and she want to retire early. Her retirement will come about the time her kids go off to college. She only sees them after 6pm and some weekends. She is not happy.


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  13. by   RNed
    Both my wife and I are nurses. My personally is laid back and things will work out. My wifes is type AA working on a heart attack at 45. We had difficulties in marriage and children. She felt very guilty about the kids and the lack of parents at home as much as she thought we should be. A bit worrisome for her than I.

    We measured the kids and found both to be well adjusted, good grades and good social behaviors. All appear well with the children. I said these kids are not broke, we do not need to fix them. We measured where we lived and what we did. We both liked our jobs and the area.

    We measured our marriage and goals. Now, that was in need of repair. We didn't see enough of each other and when we did at least one of us us to tired to be a participant or the phone was ringing with another problem at work. Vacation seemed to be the only time we were able to detach ourselves from the day to day routine and they were far and few between.

    The point I am trying to make is - find which piece of life needs correction and fix it only. Not to sound to stereo-typcial, but my wife and the others nurses I worked with seemed to focus on the children and their guilt of "mom" working. However, when we and some "highly paid professionals" looked at our situation it was not the children that needed to be fixed. It was their parents.

    Another post speaks of a speech therapist and states, "she is not happy". It refers to the fact she only sees her children after 6 pm and on some weekends. The question, " are the children doing well and if so shouldn't she be happy with and for her children. Working moms are not bad moms, if that was the case, working fathers would be bad fathers.

    No secrets on how we fixed our problems. Define what works and what doesn't work. Fix only those things not working !
    Use your nursing skills, define the problem, develop a plan, assess the plan and if needed change the plan.
  14. by   CEN35
    I have been through it, and heard it all. I have lost all but one of my (work) family, in the last 9 months. It's not the same anymore......and they do tell me how much better things are where they are now. Away from the ER and stress.
    Actually 2 wweks ago......I didnt think I wold ever leave. I am pondering the idea now, d/t recent changes there.

    CYA4NOW

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nursing and family life