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Driving 1.5 hrs (one way) to work. Good idea?

by NewRN_SW NewRN_SW (New) New

Hello y’all. We are getting ready to buy a house. We are 1.5 hrs away from my new job, husband works where we currently live. Our dilemma is where to buy a house. I am scheduled to work 3 shifts/ week, husband works 5 days/week. If we get closer to my work, houses are so much more expensive, maybe 50K more, less land. If we get a house where were at right now, it’s so much more affordable, closer to outdoors, more land and easier for my husband since he will work 5 days a week. 

I just want to add that my parents live 1 hr away and my mother in law lives 20 minutes away from my work so I am always welcome to stay there if I am too tired to drive the 1.5 hrs or when it snows bad. We don’t have kids so that’s not an issue. Just want to hear any thoughts. Thanks!

WestCoastSunRN, MSN, CNS

Specializes in CVICU, MICU, Burn ICU. Has 25 years experience.

I would abhor such a commute before or after a 13 hour shift.  If you want to stay at mom-in-law's house for two nights - maybe that's an option, but for me ... driving that commute would be untenable.  

llg, PhD, RN

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development. Has 44 years experience.

There is no way I would consider a commute that long.   I don't think it would be safe.

Did it. Hated it. Horrible decision. The wear and tear on me and my car wasn't worth it. Lasted 18 months before I threw in the towel. Do a search on this site and you'll see that by and large the majority of people here would never do it again. 

What would you say the acceptable amount of driving to work? We are considering getting a house like 45 mins-1 hr away. I wouldn’t mind that. Especially with the option of staying with my mil. I just want to be considerate with my husband at this point. 

45 minutes would be my absolute max. If you're like me I need to sleep in my own bed. Especially if you're working night shift. Occasionally not being able to is fine but I think you'll find yourself doing it more often than you think. It takes a toll. 

Chickenlady, ADN

Specializes in ER, GI, Occ Health. Has 7 years experience.

I don't think that is safe.  If you plan to stay local during your shift run, then OK.  But driving home 1.5 hours after a run of 3 12's?  Doesn't sound safe.  

12 minutes ago, Chickenlady said:

But driving home 1.5 hours after a run of 3 12's? 

And if they aren't scheduled together you end up potentially being away from home for days. It competely sucks.

I’m assuming your husband and you can change jobs?

they better pay you well...

depend on what your threshold is but for maybe if it’s a $10k increase I would consider.


Has 10 years experience.

You're going to be way too exhausted doing shift work to sustain 3+hrs of commuting daily for an on-going basis. I'd recommend trying to find a job closer to your new home. 

Edited by CaffeinePOQ4HPRN

speedynurse, ADN, RN, EMT-P

Specializes in ER, Pre-Op, PACU.

I do know some people that do long commutes. In all honesty, I have tried that before and hated it. I never felt well, felt unsafe driving, and didn’t last very long. The maximum I think I would commute is about 30 minutes but that’s just me. Maybe others are different.

OP is this night shift?


Edited by Wuzzie

HiddencatBSN, BSN

Specializes in Peds ED. Has 10 years experience.

I did it for 5 years. I’d be careful about timing- the house we bought was an hour and 5 minutes away from work but allowing for traffic turned it in to a 90 minute commute. Are you factoring traffic in to your current estimate time? Time to park, walk to your unit, etc? 

90 minutes was hard but doable. That definitely felt like my absolute max tho. I listened to podcasts or audiobooks. Having the built in “reading” time was nice. Adding 3 hours to my workday not so much. But at the time we couldn’t afford homes closer to the two cities I was commuting to, and the jobs with 20-30 minute commutes paid well below our expenses. 

I love my current 6 minute drive/20 minute walk commute. But I managed the 90 minute one for several years.

HiddencatBSN, BSN

Specializes in Peds ED. Has 10 years experience.

Adding, I work with a lot of people who do similar commutes. It’s not uncommon if you live in a rural area, or near a high COL city with many commuters. Healthcare facilities are sparse in rural areas and often the difference in pay between closer job options and ones with a long commute is significant, plus specialty availability might be better with the further commute. In suburbs around high col cities the traffic often makes commute longer despite closer geographical distance.


The money you save in a less expensive home will be countered by the replacement transportation that will become necessary sooner.  I made an hour and a half commute for nursing school and was up a tree when my car broke down on the highway one time.  It wears on you.  It wears on your car.

NightNerd, MSN, RN

Specializes in CMSRN, tele, palliative, psych. Has 7 years experience.

Did that for a five day a week job and it was wretched. It ended up being a poor fit anyway, but that commute on top of it made it absolutely unbearable and I lasted five months. For me, definitely not worth it, and I can't imagine doing 12s with that much driving time before and after each shift. I could see myself doing a 45-minute commute each way if needed for a job I really liked, but not much more than that.

Sour Lemon

Has 9 years experience.

I once worked "45 minutes" away, but it ended up being at least 1.5 hours with normal traffic ...and 2+ hours with heavy traffic.

1. I love alone time, and I love driving and listening to the stereo in my car. I do NOT like traffic that moves at 5 miles an hour for MILES AND MILES. 

2. You're more likely to encounter some sort of problem when you have a lot of ground to cover. There could be an accident or construction anywhere along the way.

3. I was never tired after work. In fact, I was always excitable and wide awake when my shift ended at 7:30AM.

4. I hate being late, so I got to a point where I was leaving at 16:30 for a shift that started at 19:00. The earlier I left, the lighter traffic was. When I left later, it was much heavier. Most of the time, I was ridiculously early. Other times, I barely made it. It was a "damned if you do and damned if you don't situation".

5. At that time, my life revolved around work. I did have other things in my life, but work was my #1 priority. After I had my first child, I no longer wanted to spend hours a day driving to and from work.

6. Meetings ...yeah. They like to schedule half hour, mandatory meetings that you're expected to attend on your days off. No thank you. There were also meetings scheduled before and after 12 hour shifts. "Just come in a half hour early ...leave at 16:00 instead of 16:30. No thank you.

7. I did end up custom ordering a more luxurious vehicle due to how much time I spent in it. I still love the car and consider that one good thing that came out of the situation.

8. I now work less than five miles from home and can't believe I ever did the long commute!

9. I like my mother in law, but I would NOT want to sleep at her house between shifts. I want to go HOME.


Been there,done that, ASN, RN

Has 33 years experience.

This is an individual decision. Have you worked 12 hour shifts before? Have you done the math? On a good day you will be commuting and working for 16 hours. Imagine two shifts in a row, or even three. Add in the wake up, and get ready to go time. There will not be enough time to rest between grueling  12.5  shifts. 

You will leave at 5:30, get home at 9:00.  Rinse and repeat and do it again.  Not safe for you or you patients. Please take care of yourself.