Nursing conditions

  1. Are there any types of nurses that have decent working conditions (as in working hours/day work, allowing for breaks, not continually standing etc.)?

    How do you cope with your working conditions if this is not the case?

    Also, if you do have night/afternoon work, how regularly would this be?

    Thanks
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  2. Visit Mary3010 profile page

    About Mary3010

    Joined: Jan '18; Posts: 50; Likes: 12

    44 Comments

  3. by   Sour Lemon
    I work overnight, 12 hour shifts and stand quite a bit. My unit is well staffed and I get plenty of breaks ...but I also get down on the floor in the shower room and wash people's feet. Do you have specific concerns about what you may be required to do? Generally speaking, the lower the degree and the less experience, the more labor intensive your work will be. There are exceptions, of course ...but a new grad LVN typically has fewer options than an RN BSN with 20 solid years of experience.
  4. by   RockinNurse2018
    Not me. I work in a SNF, where my shifts are scheduled to be 12 hours long but end up being at LEAST 30 minutes longer due to report. The other day, I pulled a 16 hour shift because of call ins for a snow storm. There is also rarely any time you are not in your feet.
  5. by   Mary3010
    Thank you so much for your help!! If you don't mind me asking, what ward do you work in?

    I really have an interest in doing something in healthcare. The only concern I had was how frequently a nurse would have to work night shifts. I just can't imagine a life where I have to sleep during the day and work during the night. If it were a once a month thing then I don't think I would mind, but if it were fairly common I don't know. How do you cope with standing so long!!! Do you think people find it hard to stand for so long when they get older?

    Also, another thing was experiencing death. I wasn't sure if some nurses don't see much of that. I know someone who is studying to be a nurse and they were given the task of cleaning a young boy who had died of cancer. I think I would find something like that hard. I didn't know that it would be the nurse's job.

    Thank you for help!
  6. by   Mary3010
    Thank you for your reply. It sounds so hard trying to work 16 hours constantly being on your feet!!! Do you have regular breaks? It must be hard trying to plan your day being held back.
  7. by   jennylee321
    In a perfect world we would all get regular breaks, but healthcare is a cost cutting business that wants to have the absolute least amount of staff on to handle the patients. If you work in a state with mandated ratios this will help with workload. You are legally entitled to breaks and your management knows this. It's often poorly run facilities where nurses don't get breaks. That being said, new grads also often don't take their breaks because simply put it they are learning everything and are slow. So they often miss a break trying to catch up. I know this happened to me as a new grad but I will say this, I never went a 12 hour shift without eating. I hear new grads often complaining about this, but I personally can't function on no food all day. So even if it's only 10 mins I will leave the floor to eat and come back.

    Yes going without breaks seems to be more common in nursing, but let's not pretend it doesn't happen in other professions. I've heard of teachers working through their lunches (given they probably eat something). My partner has an office job and he often goes without breaks and with little food because he's got deadlines that really aren't negotiable. When I was a case manager I had the odd day without a lunch break but could eat at my desk. I guess overall I'm trying to say that the break thing shouldn't be a reason to totally rule out nursing.
  8. by   jennylee321
    To address your standing concerns. My feet and calves used to ache when I first stated nursing. I don't seem to have this issue anymore, yes my feet are tired, but not so tired that I couldn't go out dancing after a shift on occasion. I think the reason why is because I switched to Danskos and they work for me. I know these don't work for everyone due to clunkiness and occasional ankle rolling. I also found compression stockings helpful in preventing soreness at the end of the day.
  9. by   RNperdiem
    It sounds like what you are looking for is not nursing. What you are asking for sounds like seeking a nanny job that does not involve childcare.
    Maybe medical assisting in an office might be something to look at.
    Most of us in nursing learn to adapt, get stronger to stand for long hours, make peace with death being part of life, gain skills that can lead to a better job.
  10. by   ruby_jane
    Quote from Mary3010

    I really have an interest in doing something in healthcare. The only concern I had was how frequently a nurse would have to work night shifts. I just can't imagine a life where I have to sleep during the day and work during the night. If it were a once a month thing then I don't think I would mind, but if it were fairly common I don't know. How do you cope with standing so long!!! Do you think people find it hard to stand for so long when they get older?

    Also, another thing was experiencing death. I wasn't sure if some nurses don't see much of that. I know someone who is studying to be a nurse and they were given the task of cleaning a young boy who had died of cancer. I think I would find something like that hard. I didn't know that it would be the nurse's job.

    Thank you for help!
    Assuming this is a genuine question...50% of the nurses work night shifts ( 3 in a row if you're lucky) in acute care. As a new nurse, that's probably what will be offered to you. Once a month would be terrible - your body gets used to working either days or nights and switching really caused problems, at least for me. You'll have at least a year of that before you get the schedule you prefer.

    Death is a part of life, and in any realm of nursing I've practiced (acute care, community care, and even school nursing).
  11. by   brownbook
    Mary3010 has '1' year(s) of experience. J

    It says you have 1 year (s) of experience. But your questions are alllll over the place about nursing, health care, etc. How old are you? What level of education do you have? Are you currently working in a health care related field?

    If we know more about "where you are coming from" we could give more appropriate answers.

    I'll just add, when I was young I swore I would never get a job where I had to work weekends, evening, etc. So of course I ended up going back to school when I was older and working nights 11 pm to 7 am and every other weekend. Honestly those hours in retrospect were great, worked out great for my family when my kids were school aged, etc.

    And as to being on my feet a lot. Well......I hate to brag but it has enabled me to keep my slim/trim figure, ha ha. But seriously I'd hate a job where I sit on my butt at a desk all day, I know being on my feet, having an active job, is good for my health.
  12. by   jennylee321
    Quote from brownbook
    Mary3010 has '1' year(s) of experience. J

    It says you have 1 year (s) of experience. But your questions are alllll over the place about nursing, health care, etc. How old are you? What level of education do you have? Are you currently working in a health care related field?

    If we know more about "where you are coming from" we could give more appropriate answers.

    I'll just add, when I was young I swore I would never get a job where I had to work weekends, evening, etc. So of course I ended up going back to school when I was older and working nights 11 pm to 7 am and every other weekend. Honestly those hours in retrospect were great, worked out great for my family when my kids were school aged, etc.

    And as to being on my feet a lot. Well......I hate to brag but it has enabled me to keep my slim/trim figure, ha ha. But seriously I'd hate a job where I sit on my butt at a desk all day, I know being on my feet, having an active job, is good for my health.
    Good point brownbook, I personally had more back pain when I was sitting at a desk.
  13. by   Sour Lemon
    It would be helpful if you'd disclose more information about yourself and your circumstances. From the little information you've provided (lots of worries about scheduling and physical exertion), it seems like nursing may not be a good fit.
  14. by   Here.I.Stand
    Most areas of nursing with low physical requirements have high experience requirements.

    I work part time, 3p-11p shift in a SICU which at my hospital includes neuro. So critical trauma patients, stroke patients, surgical patients, occasional necrotizing wound patients who are septic and receiving hyperbaric O2 treatments.

    I usually take a 30-minute break. I am on my feet a lot, but I do sit to chart or make phone calls. I started working in healthcare at age 18 as a CNA, and my feet were fine after the first few shifts. Actually I find walking on my feet MUCH easier than standing on my feet.

    I really don't consider my working conditions to be poor though. Maybe because I like to read and I like history, and have learned about the working conditions in industrial revolution era factory work, in polar exploration, pioneer homesteading, maritime etc... nursing by comparison is cake!

    I do protect my mealtime and water/bathroom breaks. Lots of nurses say they don't have time to pee -- and I have NO doubt that they are very busy -- I just have no trouble saying that pt requests, phone calls, M.D. requests etc can all wait 2 minutes. I usually don't take paid 15 minute breaks, but as long as I can eat and drink I'm okay with that.

    I also don't work for facilities that mandate OT. One time in 20 years, I got stuck working 16 hours during a blizzard. That was reasonable -- it was a rare occurrence, and my colleagues who tried to come to work got stuck. Every single one. But I do NOT work anywhere where management fails to plan: "Hey, we got a sick call on nights, and it's your turn to stay." Um no. It's not my job to fill staffing holes -- only my job to work MY hours. Any additional hours are a favor to my colleagues, and always planned in advance.

    Do I love working holidays? Of course not... and my kids hate it. But I think of it this way: retail workers, restaurant workers, convenience store workers also get stuck working holidays too. But they don't NEED TO, except that their employers have decided to be open. At least I know that my work is truly necessary.

    Night shifts aren't unique to nursing either. I didn't like working overnight, but it wasn't horrible.

    All that said, there are lots of options in healthcare if nursing is disagreeable, and all are important!
    Last edit by Here.I.Stand on Feb 1

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