Jump to content

Being a Nurse and Mother in Ontario?

International   (2,342 Views 13 Comments)
by JuliWB JuliWB (Member) Member

882 Profile Views; 18 Posts

Hello Ladies:

I'm contemplating a career change and am looking into acquiring an RPN (Registered Practical Nurse) diploma in Ontario. I'm looking for some candid views on what it is like to work as a nurse and having a family. I have a 1 year old and am planning on growing my family. Any thoughts and suggestions are appreciated. It would be great to get input from both recent grads/moms and senior nurses/moms.

Thank you very much!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

CanadianGirl79 has 4 years experience and specializes in Postpartum, L&D, Med-surg, LTC.

202 Posts; 4,985 Profile Views

It's tough, but doable if you have good support. I am an RPN and have a toddler. School was hard, and I wound up missing out on a lot of time with my son. I hate that. But I am now working full time, and hopefully when he is in school, I will have such a schedule that I will be able to be there for him most days when he gets home from school.

If you have good support, and family that understands and supports your goal of becoming a nurse, and will help you out a lot with caring for your child, it is definitely doable.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Fiona59 has 18 years experience.

1 Follower; 8,293 Posts; 52,953 Profile Views

A couple of thoughts from someone who is approaching the end of her career.

Don't get pregnant while in school. The best planned pregnancies can have complications.

Don't get pregnant just as you plan to graduate and write the CPNRE. No employer knowingly wants to hire a new nurse who is going to go off on mat leave within the year.

You will miss a lot of your childs formative years. I was lucky and didn't start nursing school until my youngest was in kindergarten. But I still missed his some of his fieldtrips.

Working casual is fine when they are in the first few grades. Field trips, hot lunch days, etc are all fun and part of being a Mum. Just make sure you put some money away in an RRSP. Casual don't get benefits and pension plans.

Don't expect a straight M-F dayshift rotation when you want one. More and more facilities are going to 12 hour days which in reality are closer to 14. You won't have much time or energy to spend with your children those days.

I'm lucky it's taken me nearly a decade to get a dayshift, 8 hour line. It still includes weekends though. Working casual usually lets you specifiy 8 hour shifts and the days that you are available to work. *You cannot plan a regular income based on this*

Be prepared if you are a casual to get the hard assignments on any unit you go to. The patients that have worn out the unit staff, who have to deal with them for 12 hourshifts on a regular basis.

Have several backup plans for childcare and I do mean several.

I remember a nursing instructor telling my class on the first day, that it was nice that some of us had children BUT that didn't cut us any slack with the coursework.

You will miss part of your children's life, it's a fact. Think about the field trips, the soccer games, birthday parties, first whatever. Nursing will wait, children grow and leave. That time and opportunieties will never come back.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pepper The Cat has 33 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Gerontology.

2 Followers; 1,708 Posts; 24,592 Profile Views

I don't have children so I really can't comment on how it is working with children.

But one thing I would recommend is to have a plan in place as to what to do if your child is sick and you have to work. Sick time is monitored very closely where I work - and if you have to call in sick to take care of a sick child, it WILL count against your sick time. So use it wisely!

And 2 - don't expect special favours just because you have kids.I have been told "I have to leave on time because I have kids - you don't so you can stay late"

I'm fine with staying late, but please don't say that my plans and life are less important than yours just because I didn't pro-create!

Other than that, Good Luck and Best Wishes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Fiona59 has 18 years experience.

1 Follower; 8,293 Posts; 52,953 Profile Views

I don't have children so I really can't comment on how it is working with children.

But one thing I would recommend is to have a plan in place as to what to do if your child is sick and you have to work. Sick time is monitored very closely where I work - and if you have to call in sick to take care of a sick child, it WILL count against your sick time. So use it wisely!

And 2 - don't expect special favours just because you have kids.I have been told "I have to leave on time because I have kids - you don't so you can stay late"

I'm fine with staying late, but please don't say that my plans and life are less important than yours just because I didn't pro-create!

.

Hey, I get that line because my kids are in their late teens. "You don't need summer/school holidays off". Uhm, I have had exactly four HOURS of vacation during July and August in TEN years with my employer and I only managed that by doing a hugely complicated shift swap with three other nurses.

I haven't even had Christmas off for the same reason. Only managed Christmas concerts/school plays by doing swaps when they were younger.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Are you a credible source? Add your Credentials, Experience, etc.

18 Posts; 882 Profile Views

Thank you, ladies.

Fiona: You really hit the nail on the head for me with what you said about missing out on your child's life. This is the one thing holding me back. I love working (just didn't really love what I was doing...hence the career change) but having my daughter has changed me so profoundly...I can't even explain it. I get a heavy heart just thinking that I might miss out on so much of her life. I have considered waiting until she and siblings that may follow are in school but I would be looking at going to school in 7 years then. That's a very long time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

CanadianGirl79 has 4 years experience and specializes in Postpartum, L&D, Med-surg, LTC.

202 Posts; 4,985 Profile Views

My son went to daycare when I started school when he was 9 months old. Looking back it STILL breaks my heart. I would have had to go back when he was a year and my mat leave ran out, but still...I could have had 3 extra months at home with him. Some days, I am fine with what I did...other days, I cry, thinking about all the special times I missed with him when he was jsut a little baby. :(

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Are you a credible source? Add your Credentials, Experience, etc.

21 Posts; 1,712 Profile Views

I am starting school in Sept. - this is something I have been desperately waiting to pursue for the last 7 years. I decided I wanted to enter nursing...became pregnant with twins and then put my decision on hold. The twins will be entering grade 2 in Sept. and I have spent all of this year preparing them for the change. We talk a lot about how we cherish all the special times we spend together (we also plan and schedule on calendar special "mommy and child" days - even if this means taking a day off school). I like to reminisce verbally about times spent together; it reinforces in both our minds our close bonds. I also make a point about talking to the girls about when I will be away from home I will be helping other people feel better. I deferred my decision until it worked for our family....but I think with planning and making the most of the time you do have with your children (no matter the stage in your life) you can make any return to work/school successful. Just my 2 cents.

Good luck!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Fiona59 has 18 years experience.

1 Follower; 8,293 Posts; 52,953 Profile Views

OP: you still are very young (well in comparison to some of us older posters). I didn't become a nurse until I was 42. I'd had several other "careers'.

Seven years in your life is a blink of an eye. You'll never get to have those missed moments over.

School is stressful at the best of times. I had one classmate (in my age group) drop out because her teenager got into trouble. Another one dropped out of our group because her marriage fell apart to return the next semester when she'd regrouped. My class went through it all, miscarriages, kids that ran away from home, teen pregnancies, divorce, separations, husbands deployed with the military.

If you can afford to stay home, stay home. Bank any extra cash and put it towards your future tuition. Paying back that student loan is a female dog.

Your first semester is totally about you. Your family kinda falls by the wayside. Your emotionally, physically, and intellectually exhausted. Then comes clinical hours. Several classmates had issues finding childcare that would accept their children before 0600. Others were on the phone waking up teenagers.

It's a tough road no matter what age your children are. At least teenagers are semi-self sufficient.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

loriangel14 is a RN and specializes in Acute Care, Rehab, Palliative.

1 Follower; 6,923 Posts; 36,245 Profile Views

Seven years is really nothing. I wanted to be a nurse in high school. I was 38 when I started. I really couldn't add any more to the excellent posts already on here but I would urge you to spend the time with your kids now.Nursing school demands all of your attention, especially at first.I worked 7 days a week and went to night school for 4 years to get through.Sometimes I called in to work sick and my kids stayed home from school for the day just so we could spend time together.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Are you a credible source? Add your Credentials, Experience, etc.

18 Posts; 882 Profile Views

Oh boy! I got accepted into a RPN program for January intake! What to do now? I've never been so torn over anything. I guess I should mention that I would have to work at least part-time (20-24hrs) if I don't go to school. So whether I'm in school or not, I will be away from my little one. My course load will be a little lighter because I will receive transfer credits for at least 6 courses (possibly 7). After some soul searching it really comes down two issues that are holding me back:

1) Should I do school now (with one child) or later after I had more kids and when they are in school?

2) Is nursing really right for me? I'm attracted to nursing for many, many reasons but my biggest worry is that I have the wrong idea of what it's like to be a nurse. I've been researching nursing school and the nursing profession for nearly 2 years now. Unfortunately it seems that you don't really know what a job is really like until you have worked in it. I already have a diploma in a field that I didn't enjoy working in.

I guess I should be happy about having the opportunity. It's just about figuring out when the right time is.

Thanks for your input so far. You all have been very helpful.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

loriangel14 is a RN and specializes in Acute Care, Rehab, Palliative.

1 Follower; 6,923 Posts; 36,245 Profile Views

Yeah I really wanted to be a nurse and I love my job but it is really different from what i expected. I think mostly I have found myself doing things that I never thought I could handle.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
×