time outside the job

  1. Hi everyone-
    I'm considering becoming a nurse and I was wondering, do you feel you have enough time outside of being a nurse? Do you feel like you are able to have a life outside of medicine?

    I've been on the path to become a doctor and I'm now realizing that "wow, I don't want my whole life to be my job," which really does seem the case for doctors (especially through residency and the first 5 years on the job). So I'm thinking nursing now, but I want to make sure that the career doesn't have the same pitfalls that I'm trying to avoid in becoming a doctor.

    [I recognize that many people would love to have less time working, but I think that's probably true for any job].

    Thanks for your input!!
    •  
  2. 9 Comments

  3. by   RunningWithScissors
    You will have more time "off the clock" as a nurse compared with a doctor, but remember as a nurse in a hospital, you will have mandatory committees, staff meetings, continuing education goals to meet, not to mention it takes at least a day to "wind down" and be normal after working even one shift!
  4. by   Tweety
    I have four days off a week. I go to the gym, go to yoga classes, am finishing up my BSN degree, go out to eat, do all kinds of things.

    While nurisng isn't your typical 9-5 job there are plenty of positions that allow you to leave the job at the job and have a life.

    Right now I'm working an extra day but I still get 3 days off a week.

    The only time I feel there isn't enough time in the day is when I work back to back 12-hour shifts. I come home, eat supper and go to bed early so I get up and do it again for another 12 hours. But I never work more than 2 12-hour shifts in a row, so it's still worth it.
    Last edit by Tweety on Jan 30, '07
  5. by   Quickbeam
    OP, the great thing about nursing is flexibility. I have 3 days off a week and work 4 10 hour days. I'm a career changer and I can say that I have had more scheduling options as a nurse than I ever had in my prior professional life. Now, it took quite a few years of interviewing and rooting around to find a M-R, no weekends/no nights/no on call job. But I found it and am thrilled with it.

    Re: off time....I don't make a habit of being the "neighborhood nurse". I volunteer in a strictly non-medical setting and my hobbies are not health care related. You can make of nursing what you want.
  6. by   snowfreeze
    Nursing has many areas, some do allow for more time off but usually less pay. You have to decide how much money you need to make and also how much personal time you need plus what health benefits you will need if any. Education and experience do allow for higher pay scales but the climb up the ladder does have lots of off shifts and extra schooling. Young single nurses seem to enjoy the evening shift, they work, go out till 1am or 2am then go home and sleep. Young married nurses and those pursuing further education take advantage of the weekend programs, work three 12 hour shifts (friday through monday) every weekend.
    There are many other areas besides hospital nursing. Correctional nursing has its good points in pay and retirement options. Veteran Administration has the best pay and retirement but is not easy to get into. Physicians office is daylight mostly but lesser pay. Outpatient clinics are low stress and variable schedules but lesser pay too. Dermatology and Plastics are low stress plus set schedules as this is planned surgeries mostly outpatient in the office.
    Geriatrics will be offering more job options over the next 20 eyars as our largest percent of the population ages. One local job I know of offers six 3 hour shifts Monday thru Saturday passing meds on a personal care unit in the evening.
  7. by   Quickbeam
    snowfreeze makes excellent points about the cash/time trade offs.

    The further you get from hospital work and 24/7 scheduling, the more likely you are to see lower salaries. I will say that I've had the best benefits of my life while employed as a nurse for a state government. The lower pay evened out after years of raises but the benefits and pension were vastly superior.
  8. by   moyz
    Hi everyone! Thanks for your input!

    So it sounds like there are a lot of different ways you can go in terms of scheduling and finding a job that fits what you need (compromising in terms of money or compromising in terms of time or stress, etc).

    I know this is comparing apples and oranges but since mostly everyone has more experience in the healthcare field than I do...

    It sounds like nurses are able to "choose" (at least to a certain extent) what type of hours they want, whereas doctors (from the research/experience I have) seem to have to work long hours...even if they don't want to put in so many hours (part time work=40 hours/week).
  9. by   RNfromMN
    Quote from Tweety
    The only time I feel there isn't enough time in the day is when I work back to back 12-hour shifts. I come home, eat supper and go to bed early so I get up and do it again for another 12 hours. But I never work more than 2 12-hour shifts in a row, so it's still worth it.
    Tweety, you've got dogs don't you? I would love to do 12 hour shifts & get the extra days off a week, but I'm afraid of leaving my dog that long on a regular basis...do you think it's possible to maintain that type of schedule with a dog (& no roommates?)
  10. by   Tweety
    Quote from Jessica 392
    Tweety, you've got dogs don't you? I would love to do 12 hour shifts & get the extra days off a week, but I'm afraid of leaving my dog that long on a regular basis...do you think it's possible to maintain that type of schedule with a dog (& no roommates?)

    I have two dogs so they keep each other company. The 12-hour days are very long and I have some guilt. But I give them the run of the whole house and don't cage them. They are paper trained. I do close off the one carpeted bedroom, but the rest is tile so if they miss their pads it's o.k. I would feel worse if they were crated, or there was only one of them. But it works.
  11. by   Tweety
    Quote from moyz
    Hi everyone! Thanks for your input!

    So it sounds like there are a lot of different ways you can go in terms of scheduling and finding a job that fits what you need (compromising in terms of money or compromising in terms of time or stress, etc).

    I know this is comparing apples and oranges but since mostly everyone has more experience in the healthcare field than I do...

    It sounds like nurses are able to "choose" (at least to a certain extent) what type of hours they want, whereas doctors (from the research/experience I have) seem to have to work long hours...even if they don't want to put in so many hours (part time work=40 hours/week).

    Sometimes being a new grad your choices are a bit limited. Sometimes being the low guy on the totem pole you have to work the worst schedules. Also some of the plumb 9-5 jobs are off limits until you get some experience.

    But definately there is a lot of flexibility that works for people.

    Doctors definately have less flexibillity, but some choose to work in ERs only one or two 24 hour shifts and they are done. Or they work in walk-in clinics/urgent care where they don't have to be on call during the off hours. So it's not all grim for all doctors. But their 4-year residency can be very long and hard hours.

    Good luck!

close