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

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by NewRN_SW NewRN_SW (New) New

bitter_betsy, BSN

Specializes in Emergency / Disaster. Has 2 years experience.

I did it during school and it was horrid - especially if there was traffic adding to the length of the drive.  It was nearly impossible to do 2 shifts in a row, let alone 3.   I did that head bob thing one time and that was it for me.  I had to eat in the car and pretty much shower and go to bed as soon as I got home.  I drive an hour now without problems but 1.5 hours was just too much.

Closed Account 12345

Has 16 years experience.

I used to feel like my 45 minute drive was very long, and it regularly turned into 90 minutes from traffic.  

If you live in a place with nasty Winter road conditions, I wouldn't even consider a long commute.  

If you truly don't mind spending a few nights each week at your MIL's and could group your shifts, that could make it more manageable.  Then you'd only need to make the 3 hour round trip drive once a week.  During the pandemic, you may want to deeply consider your MIL's age and risk factors for COVID, as well as the type of unit you'll be working in, before going back and forth between a healthcare setting and her home. 

Edited by Closed Account 12345

Rose_Queen, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in OR, education. Has 16 years experience.

Nope nope nope.

I had a job 1 hour from home. Too many times that 1 hour turned into 1.5. Several times it turned into 3. My plan was to do it 6 months while still living with parents just after graduation. I called it quits at 3 months and got an apartment 15 minutes from work. Now have a house slightly closer.

I'm currently doing a 1 hour 9 minute one way commute. I oriented a few weeks on day shift. The drive wasn't bad on day shift, still at my limit but the drive was easy, almost a way to let go of the shift, enjoy music before going home. When I switched to nights it became a nightmare, very dangerous. I never drank coffee, just never liked / needed it. I have to drink coffee toward the end of my shift & on my way home just to (barely) make it home with open eyes. I try to drive home without coffee? Tried it, blacked out for half a second & arm went numb 20 minutes from home (body was saying "its time to sleep NOW."). As you can imagine drinking coffee before bed doesn't help me sleep so I've been averaging 2.5 - 3ish hours between shifts, thus perpetuating the dangerous cycle. Now day or night shift, 1.5 hr would be too much, getting up at 0430am & home at 830pm just doesn't sound great. Luckily for me I'm both moving houses & jobs so will soon be on day shift with a 48-50 minute commute, which is tolerable for me. Find a different job or different house (or like me, do both). 

FullGlass, BSN, MSN, NP

Specializes in Adult and Geriatric Primary Care. Has 3 years experience.

I used to live in Los Angeles, where a 1.5 hour commute each way, or even longer, is quite common.  Most people don't like this, but some are fine with it.  I was commuting 1 hour in the morning, then 1.5 hours in the evening (traffic always seemed worse in evening rush hour) up to 5 days per week.  I can't say I enjoyed it, but I got used to it.  Many people in LA commute 2 hours each way.  

You only have to do the commute 3 days a week and you have the option of staying closer to work when needed.  Only you can decide if this is bearable for you.  Good luck.

HiddencatBSN, BSN

Specializes in Peds ED. Has 10 years experience.

48 minutes ago, FullGlass said:

I used to live in Los Angeles, where a 1.5 hour commute each way, or even longer, is quite common.  Most people don't like this, but some are fine with it.  I was commuting 1 hour in the morning, then 1.5 hours in the evening (traffic always seemed worse in evening rush hour) up to 5 days per week.  I can't say I enjoyed it, but I got used to it.  Many people in LA commute 2 hours each way.  

You only have to do the commute 3 days a week and you have the option of staying closer to work when needed.  Only you can decide if this is bearable for you.  Good luck.

I’ve lived in Philly and NYC and folks talking about a 45 minute max commute when that’s a good commute there...

familychick, BSN

Specializes in a little of everthing. Has 26 years experience.

My recommendation would be to buy a home near your husband's work in the less expensive area.

There are so many nurse jobs, maybe you can get another job closer to your new home.

I have done long commutes before.  For me, it depended on the shift.  When I worked the night shift, the commute was horrible and unsafe.  I found myself nodding off on the way home. The day an aquintance was killed when he fell asleep driving home after work was the day I quit that job. On the other hand, when I worked the day shift in a beautiful rural area, it was not bad at all.  I loved the quiet time to think and get in the right head space both before and after work.  If your 12's are in a row, maybe you can stay with MIL the two nights between shifts.  If you do that, maybe you can also pick up extra 4 hours on the first two shifts for some OT.

Good luck, this sounds like an exciting time for you.

SummerGarden, ADN, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in ED, ICU, MS/MT, PCU, CM, House Sup, Frontline mgr. Has 13 years experience.

OP:   I think it depends on your mental definition of too far.  For instance, I literally could have written most of Sour Lemon's post except I can replace the 45 minutes with 1.5 hours.  Thus, with light traffic it was 2 hours and with heavy traffic 3 hours one way.  I am now commuting 45 minutes away on a good day, 1 hour with light traffic, and 1.5 hours with heave traffic one way or 2-3 hours with standstill traffic (Please note, I can avoid standstill traffic). 

On the other hand, I managed the prior commute with an incredible attendance record for nearly 2 years at one facility and nearly 3 at another facility.  However, I refused any additional work or volunteer work with my prior commute because I mentally considered it too far for me to drive or commute for only 1 or 2 hours of work.  Now that I am working only 45 minutes on a good day from home,  I am more involved with my department and service area for my facility.   Good luck.  

Edited by SummerGarden

Thank you all for the input. This job is my new job. I’m only an RN for 3 monts and where we live right now, there’s really nothing (Covid is also to blame) except nursing homes and home health. This organization offers so much more benefits like cheaper insurance, amazing retirement plans and better pay and differentials. The hospital is also huge and I would love to take other opportunities in the future with them. As a new nurse, I would want to explore more options so I can find my niche. I believe I can do this with this organization so a longer drive will be worth it in the end. So we are looking for a house that is at least 50minutes-1 hr away since I already got the go to signal from my MIL that I’m always welcome at her home. And I believe I will be working 3 straight shifts. 
 

THANK you all for the input. 

neuron

Has 5 years experience.

On 9/22/2020 at 9:25 AM, NewRN_SW said:

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!

Not sure where you live, but when you are very tired you may not be able to think or see clearly, especially if there is no city and just farm or interstate road.  Any critter can dart in front of you early morning or late at night.  It can make you fall asleep on the road with a long drive. This would call to pull over and find a nearest gas station and sleep. 

Edited by fibroblast

ValueCity

Specializes in Oncology, Hospice.

Do not do this - I have done it, twice. At one hospital I was technically 45 minutes away but traffic + parking + walking to unit was 1.5 hours consistently, every time, AM and PM, on night shift. The second hospital I was 45 min - 1 hr away technically, but again - barely arriving on time when I left 1.5 hrs early, consistently, every time, on day shift. If you’re stuck charting late - oh, forget it. I caught myself running off the road, nodding off while driving, covering long distance in ice storm and all kinds of weather at 5am or 9pm - just stuff you don’t want to be stuck doing. It will take a toll on your body, your family life, and if you do three shifts in a row ? No way. I felt almost like I was unsafe to practice by my third shift. 12 hour shifts are not really 12 hours, don’t do it!