How to Pick a Job - Exciting vs Great Schedule

  1. Dear Nurse Beth,

    I currently work on a medical-surgical floor. I'm ready to move on to something more acute.

    I just interviewed at a top-ranked Hospital for a cardiovascular Intermediate Care Unit. The job sounds fascinating, challenging, and a great career move. But it's night shift, every other weekend, and every other holiday. As someone that is thinking of having kids, this schedule sounds miserable.

    I have also interviewed for cardiac med-surg unit on another top-ranked Hospital. But the job is not at their main location. It is day shift and every third weekend, which is what I'm looking for. But the work doesn't seem as exciting or as great of a career move.
    Advice? If offered both positions, do I suffer through a bad schedule to get some great experience? Or do I go for the okay job with the good schedule and feel like a normal person for once?

    Dear Exciting versus Great Schedule,

    They are really both very good options.

    But this is a values-based question, and so I can only answer from my values, which may differ from yours.

    For me? No question- I would suffer through schedule-wise and go for the intermediate care unit. Nothing is permanent- you can do anything for a year, right?

    And when the time comes, having a newborn is entirely different than
    having school age children in terms of days, nights and weekends.

    Newborns don't know weekends from winter

    Best wishes,

    Nurse Beth

    Author, "Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job"...and your next!
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    About Nurse Beth, MSN, RN

    Joined: Mar '07; Posts: 1,361; Likes: 4,056


  3. by   Open mind
    I Agree with nurse Beth. You don't have kids yet, and small babies won't be affected by your schedule. Sounds like in your heart you really want the more interesting position. I say go for it! Good luck
  4. by   Ruby Vee
    Every other weekend and every other holiday was the standard schedule at acute care jobs for decades. And you know what -- it's not that bad. You know in advance what holidays you'll be working this year and next and can plan ahead. (And working Thanksgiving is a great way to skip Thanksgiving dinner at Uncle Arlie's house without offending anyone (Mom?) when Uncle Arlie and Aunt Mary are both mean, nasty people.) You figure out how to enjoy Christmas on December 27 (or 23 or even 31). Husbands and families can understand and get used to this -- and besides, maybe you get to skip Christmas at your snotting sister-in-law's house. Or maybe they make you up a plate of turkey and the trimmings and you enjoy it after work or before work. You get out of doing the dishes while the guys watch football! You get days off during the week to go to the bank, have your furnace serviced or the cable connected or take your child to the pediatrician. Your husband gets "me time" every other weekend, you get "me time" on your days off during the week.

    I'd choose the "crappy schedule" over a boring job any time. In fact, I had the coveted Monday-Thursday gig, and I hated the hours. I lasted three months.
  5. by   rbekt2005
    Totally agree
  6. by   llg
    I'd follow my heart -- at least until you actually had the kids.

    But if someday, you find yourself in a "less exciting" job because circumstances call for that -- be happy. Jobs don't have to be highly exciting to be good jobs -- or to be good for your career. When there is less challenge in the acuity of the patients, there is often more opportunity to advance your career and your skills in other ways. Having to work hard and focus intently and "just getting the patient through this shift" leaves little room to focus on developing your skills as a leader, teacher, change agent, patient advocate, etc. Sometimes, a slower pace gives you the breathing space to do quality improvement project that can be published, presented at a conference, etc. Or maybe take a course, get certified, get involved in a professional organization, etc. I spent a few years working in a smaller, less acute hospital during the middle of my career -- and used that time to accomplish a lot of things that helped me to develop.

    You can make either job work for you -- and help your career -- if you can identify the advantages of that particular job and the learning opportunities it offers.