When taking care of elderly parents damages your career

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    I lost my father Mother's day 2004. After numerous hospitalizations, nursing home admissions etc., I was relieved to see him go.

    He had a numerous MI's and other complications since May 2003. I graduated in May 10, 2003. I accepted an RN position in my unit but left one-month + later d/t his illness and no one else in my family willing to help with the responsibility of taking care of elderly parents.

    I took off 3 months to help my parents out and put my career on hold. Come October, I accepted a job at an ICU unit. The first week on the job I came down with pneumonia and was out for 3 days.

    Then, my kid came down with a severe case of strep throat. Had to call in.... no one to watch my kid ...my back-up care were my parents but with dad in the hospital and mom with him there was no way. My other relatives all work.

    So, 4 absences against me. Great. Later in December, for some reason I missed work. My fault for not double checking my calendar. No call/no show.

    Come January, dad is back in the hospital...this time it looks as if he is not going to make it. Manager is aware that dad is in the hospital since one of the unit internists also works at the hosp. my dad is in.
    She offered family leave, I decline. I tell her that I will come in to work the next day.

    Next day I call her and tell her that I quit.

    I was so depressed and stressed out that I just quit.

    So, NOW what do I do?
    How do I explain myself to any future employer?

    Thank God that my sister agreed to take my mother to live in Florida. Maybe, I now have a chance to start all over again someplace else. OR do I?

    Should I leave the nursing profession? I had plans to start on my master's one year out of nursing school. Now that deadline has passed.

    Anyone who can offer constructive advice will be appreciated.
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  4. 9 Comments so far...

  5. 0
    rough call...do you other work experience so that you can give a pattern of responsibile work ethics...even a good college attendance record will help..but most of all explain at your initial interview of the problems you were facing...i know that employees who do not consider showing up as scheduled and on time are a bane to supervisor but they are also anxious to hire the right person for the job...you may need more actural work time b4 returning to school...nothing beats hands on experience
    good luck in what your choose
  6. 0
    Quote from CHATSDALE
    rough call...do you other work experience so that you can give a pattern of responsibile work ethics...even a good college attendance record will help..but most of all explain at your initial interview of the problems you were facing...i know that employees who do not consider showing up as scheduled and on time are a bane to supervisor but they are also anxious to hire the right person for the job...you may need more actural work time b4 returning to school...nothing beats hands on experience
    good luck in what your choose

    ---My alma-mater allows one to work and enroll in a Masters program at the same time.

    Thanks for your reply.
  7. 0
    My condolences on the loss of your father.

    Don't leave nursing. It doesn't sound like nursing is the issue, but extreme emotional distress. When you decide to return to work, yes mention that it was personal, or even mention you've lost your father and had to tend to some affairs. You might find and empathetic and understanding employer that way.

    Best wishes.
  8. 0
    Sorry to hear about the loss of your father. When my dad got really sick and then died in Oct. 2002 I was calling in constantly and finally I just gave a 2-week notice because I couldn't cope with all the emotional pain. I had to call in sometimes during my 2 week notice. Management was very understanding and kind during this ordeal. In fact, today is my first day of orientation as I am returning again to work at this LTC facility. I am very lucky. Some places are not understanding in any circumstances. In West Virginia, I knew a CNA who lost her home and her animals in a terrible fire. She got written up and almost fired because she took 3 days off!!! :angryfire
  9. 0
    So sorry to hear of your loss. I believe, when you are emotionally ready to work, that you could explain the gap in your employment record as "the time my father became ill and then expired". That should cover it without having to go into details. Good luck.
  10. 0
    Sorry for your loss! I too feel that just stating, "my father was ill and I cared for him until he died" is the best way. However, ensure that you are emotionally okay too. Sometimess that takes awhile. Don't worry about your masters just yet - get comfortable working and then take on other responsibilities...
  11. 0
    Thank you all for offering your advice to a total stranger.

    I am just so embarrassed about the absences and feelin kind of "phobic" about going to an interview and sitting across someone who doesn't know me from Adam, and having to explain these stupid absences.

    But, I will take your advice and keep my explanation simple and direct.


    Again, thanks for the good advice. You don't know how much you have helped!!!


    Blessings to all.
  12. 0
    Wonderful advice offered above.

    I, too, offer my condolences... until others walk in your shoes, it just doesn't seem to hit home.

    I believe if you go to an interview and just be open and up front about the absences, and how it all happened within the timeframe of your father's illness and passing, it should be clear to anyone that this is not a "pattern" of "irresponsibilty".

    You have your whole career ahead of you. Hold your head up high and know that you have done nothing wrong... quite the contrary.

    Now go after your dream ! (((HUGS)))
  13. 0
    Quote from jnette
    Wonderful advice offered above.

    I, too, offer my condolences... until others walk in your shoes, it just doesn't seem to hit home.

    I believe if you go to an interview and just be open and up front about the absences, and how it all happened within the timeframe of your father's illness and passing, it should be clear to anyone that this is not a "pattern" of "irresponsibilty".

    You have your whole career ahead of you. Hold your head up high and know that you have done nothing wrong... quite the contrary.

    Now go after your dream ! (((HUGS)))



    I will. Thanks and God bless.


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