Is nursing too difficult for a mother with young children?

  1. Dear Nurse Beth,

    HI. I'm a mother of young kids currently set to start nursing school. Do u think that it's a good idea? I'm nervous about my working options afterwards. The 12 hour shifts nurses work. Should I be concerned? Should I change tracks?


    Dear Nervous,

    Nursing can be a great career choice for women with children because of the many options. There are jobs on all shifts, all hours. You can find traditional “office hours” jobs or you can work one pm to one am in the ED, or anything in between.

    I was a single mother of three when I started nursing school. When I graduated and had to work twelve hour night shifts, a girlfriend of mine who worked day shift slept over at my house and babysit my kids.

    On weekends when my ex-husband had the kids, I would work two twelves and then be off four out of the next five days, happily at home and able to attend school field trips.
    Later in my career I found a job where I could work Telemetry, three twelves, with no weekends! (It was called the Baylor Plan).

    Shortly after that, I took the manager position on the same floor and worked “office hours” Mon-Fri. Home every night with my family.

    Now I work Mon-Thursday, 10 hour shifts. A three day weekend every week! I’m writing this from Monterey, CA, where my husband and I go for frequent weekend get-aways because of our awesome schedules.

    Everyone’s circumstances are different, and circumstances change as life goes on. But in nursing there’s always a way to work and meet your family’s needs. You’ll be surprised by how your fellow nurses will help out and trade a shift with you when needed.

    Fellow nurse Moms and Dads- what’s your experience working as a nurse with kids? How did you make it work for you?

    Good luck in school.

    Best wishes,
    Nurse Beth

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  2. 6 Comments

  3. by   gatoraims RN
    I am a full time nurse and mother of 5. I love that nursing gives me the flexabilty to pick my hours, days, and so much more. I do miss my children when I am working but get to spend long stretches with them on my days off. I do try to work three nights in a row so I have a long period with them. I am married and my husband works normal office hours. We are blessed to have my mother-in-law close and she watches the younger ones while I sleep.i cannot think of any other career that I can make good money, love what I do, and have the flexibility I get in nursing.
  4. by   RNinIN
    I have to add to check your options in your area. Most 'office hours' jobs are awarded to those with experience. Day shift as well, in most cases. Many areas have done away with Baylor, but again, depends on location. Check what hospitals and other local facilities and organizations that hire new grads are offering. If you are a single parent , and/or don't have a good support system at home, you may want to reconsider your options. I'm not trying to discourage you, just trying to point out the realities of some things I've heard new grads complain about in my area (not a lot of hiring options or flexibility). So check your local scene as its hard to give a general answer about a specific situation. After that, then make a decision. Best of luck to you! Let us know how it goes
  5. by   Garden,RN
    I raised my two sons and would not recommend nursing as a profession if you want to spend time with your kids. Sadly for a profession that has been predominantly female, the workplaces are very unfriendly towards parenting. I would recommend working in the school system that will give you the same hours as your children, or some profession where the family is actually valued. Some of it has to do with the nature of illness, but sadly most of it is because too many people that don't take care of patients are trying to get rich off health care. I love taking care of patients, but after 20 years and raising children, I look back and know that a different career choice would have made my life easier at the time and now that I am older. They are now 16 and 18 and they would have had a better life too.
  6. by   NurseGirl525
    It's hard as they often require new nurses to work night shift. People think you only work three days a week and you have tons of time for family are sadly mistaken. Works sucks up about 5-6 days of my week. I miss my family, terribly. Not trying to be a negative Nancy, but it's the absolute truth right now.

    It truly depends on the support around you. To get through school, and your first year of working. I have a generous amount of support from family and friends.

    I'm told it gets easier. I'm waiting for that time.
  7. by   MierKat
    Being a working mom (parent) is hard no matter what job one has, assuming not independently wealthy like Marissa Meyer of Yahoo. Heck, even Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook is a billionaire (or close) but is now a single working mother since the death of her husband and is balancing spending time with them with a busy career.

    Women who are not in nursing and have an 8-5/40 hour work week plus 1-2 hours commuting have trouble too. Most of these jobs have little flexibility and mom has to work the majority of her kids' waking hours. Nursing is different. Yes 3-12s days or nights is tough, no doubt about it. But there is flexibility in what job you take.

    I know one nurse who works one 12hr weekday shift and two weekend shifts now that she has young kids. Her husband is self-employed and works long hours but works from home on her weekday shift and has the kids all weekend. It works for them.

    Another family has a family friend who takes the kids on the two days during the week when the mom/nurse works. Another works only nights and as the poster above says, has family watch the kids when she sleeps. The benefit of the 12 hour/3 days a week schedule is there is less time spent commuting and gives long periods of time where the mom isn't working.

    Or if you hate being away for so long and don't like the 12 hour shifts, get a clinic job that is 8-5 weekdays and get away from the shift work.

    Another thing to mention is that kids' needs change as they get older. Nights might be bad when the kids are little but when they're older and in school, nights may mean that you can sleep then wake up, pick them up from school and have time with them before you go to work.

    So to answer OP, no nursing is not terrible for working moms.
  8. by   Potatoskins
    Everyone's circumstances are different, but I definitely think it's possible and kids aren't a deal breaker for nursing. I have a classmate who pushed a kid out halfway through our first semester and came back a week later and then did nursing school with a newborn. Almost half of my class has young kids. I think with enough support, you can do it.

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