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Nurse parents which shift do you like better?

stehrn816 stehrn816 (New) New

I need some opinions. I am a new graduate RN (passed boards in July 2016) and had my daughter in August 2016. I took a clinical research coordinator position at the beginning of the year. I had a background in research/science before getting my RN and thought that this was my ideal job. The pay is good and I have a university position with 8-4 hours M-F and no holidays or weekends. However, I have close to an hour commute each way and every day when I head home I get upset at the time I am away from my daughter. She wakes up at 6am and goes to be bed around 7:30pm, so I only get about 2-3 hours a day with her during the week (she naps from 4-5:30pm).

I am thinking about looking into a floor nursing job working rotating 3 12hr shifts. I like the idea of building my nursing skills as I never worked as floor RN. Also, I think working 3 shifts would allow me more time with my daughter. As it is right now, I take her to daycare around 7am and my husband picks her up around 3:30-4pm, so she is at daycare the majority of the week. My husband works daylight hours 5:30am-3pm so this would be a big change for us.

RN parents of small children please tell me what you prefer and works for you. My concerns are holidays away from baby/ family, daycare costs for full time (and we want to have another baby) and time with my spouse since we will be on different schedules. Any input you have would be great!

Sour Lemon

Has 9 years experience.

I have a 15 month old and per-diem, overnight, 12 hour shifts work well for me. I do have to work one major holiday and one minor one, but I get to choose which ones. I also have a weekend requirement, but prefer to work on weekends anyway, so no worries there.

I typically work 1-2 days a week while my husband is off work and my child has never seen the inside of a daycare. The down side is that I don't see my husband very much ...but that won't be forever.


Has 20 years experience.

I work per diem nights, and my contract does not stipulate that I must work holidays or weekends, so I only work those when I choose. This is an ideal position for me, as not only do I call the shots with my schedule, but I am home with the kids much more. My children are school aged now, however. When they were little, I worked day shift weekend per diem, and that worked out well.

RNperdiem, RN

Has 14 years experience.

I have never given up per diem weekend shifts. I primarily work days and occasionally work nights.

The weekend differential is very good here, so I make good money for less than full time hours, and the kids are looked after by Dad, so we never have to pay for childcare.

I am a floor nurse, with kids. It's hard. My shift is 0700-1930. I'm often there much later and I have a 45 minute commute. I'm out the door by 0600 and sometimes don't get home until 2200. It depends on my day.

I miss my kiddos. We rotate holidays. I just worked Easter. I worked Christmas last year. I often think about getting a position like yours, where there are no holidays and I would be home at dinner time.

I have a new little one coming soon. I've even considered part time. I love my job, I just feel like I miss a lot of family time.

I have a 5 month old. My wife teaches in the evenings during the week, so I work 8 hour overnights during the week (from 11pm to 730am) and 12 hour overnights (7pm to 730am) on weekends. It works out great for us; means no paying for daycare, plus we get to spend lots of time with the babe. Downside is we don't see each other as much, but sometimes you gotta compromise.

I have four kids (1 teenager, 2 in elementary, and 1 in daycare). I've done PRN, full time nights, Mon-Fri, and day 12s.

There were aspects of each that really worked for my family, and others that didn't. What I will tell you is that, after having worked every possible way, there is no single way that will fit all of your needs. You have to prioritize what you're willing to sacrifice, and what you're not.

I will say though, that the Mon-Fri is what I hated the most. Yes, I had every weekend and every holiday with my family, but I felt like I never saw them at all during the week. I hated that.

I chose to stick with the day 12 hr shifts. I don't see the kids very much on those 3 days, but it gives my husband and the kids some alone time, which they love, and it still allows me plenty of time off with them the other 4 days of the week, as well as gives me some alone time, and plenty of time to keep up with the house. I sacrifice every other weekend and some holidays for this. I'm ok with that. We were an active duty Army family for 10 years, so we're used to shuffling around holidays.

I also hated when I was working Mon - Fri during business hours, because with a big family (or even a small one) there are appointments and things that you *need* to do during the week and you can't because you're always at work during those hours.

Per diem was great, but it just isn't a fit for me right now, since my career goals include immersion on a hospital unit.

Good luck!

I'm currently a hospice nurse. I have 5 girls. Ages 5,9,11,13,15. My husband just came off of nights 12 hours M-W. my hours are very flexible, so I still get to attend awards days and make appointments for my kids. The downside is we have call one night a week and 1 weekend a month. The nurses split holidays. So we may have to work 4-6 hours and that's it. It can get frustrating, but it's salary. So when I have a rough day or call night, I look at the fact that I was home on yesterday with a hurt back and still got paid for it. With my girls, I can't see working 12 hour shifts. LTC was ok on days, but there was no flexibility.

Been an acute care nurse for 10 years. Had my son last April. I also am Adult Gero NP certified. Ive been unable

to really pursue my NP career since the birth of

my son. Not to say its not doable but Ive decided that with a baby I prefer my 12 H shifts 3 days a week. It gives me time to be with my son but also work and feel like I am not missing out on him growing up. Also if you are a new grad RN going into floor nursing for a few years can only help your career and experience. I would do it if your feeling this way! They grow so fast you dont want to regret it down the road.

vintagemother, ADN, CNA, LVN, RN

Specializes in Med-Surg, Psych, Geri, LTC, Tele.

My kids aren't small anymore....

But I chose nights during the week when they were younger. That way I was available during the day for them. On weekends, I worked which ever shift that they needed me. I worked per diem only for about a year as s CNA and about 6 mos as an LV/PN.

Now, I work regularly scheduled part time nights. I chose nights because I can take him to school most days and be home after school.

I detested PM shift (1500-ish-2300-ish) because I had to go to work as soon as my kid was out of school. If you have kids who aren't school age, yet, a mid shift may be nice.

Day shifts aren't super common in my area for new nurses. Plus, with days starting at 0600/0700, you may have to get up at 0400/0500 depending on your commute and childcare situation.

I have a 10 month old. I work two prn jobs (one in a clinic and one in a hospital). I like clinic hours because I get to spend the evening with babe and hubby, but the babe is pretty crabby that time of day and most of the evening is just preparing supper, prepping for the next day. Not quite relaxing family time. If I have too many of those in a week, it's just meh. I really like the days I work 3p-11p. I can spend the whole morning until 2p with the kid. it's great because a lot of the mom-tot programs around me are in the morning. We (well, I lol) love being able to take him to the library story time, for example. Of course, if I work too many of those, I would never see my husband. I guess my ideal shift is day-pm rotation. Once the kid is in school, I'll probably prefer straight days.

Edited by cleback

Thank you all for your thoughts, I really appreciate hearing both sides. I have thought quite a bit about this and I think that I am going to to look for a floor job. I would have a flexible schedule including nights, days and weekend 12 hour shifts so I can change my schedule to fit our needs. Also, after a while I could work only 2 days a week and still bring home my current paycheck, once daycare is eliminated. Just in case anyone else who has a similar question to mine reads this, here are my thoughts on why I want a 3 12 hour week:

1. I don't feel like I get to spend time with my child M-F. Yes we have dinner together, but by the evening is just getting dinner ready, cleaning and then bedtime. I understand that I could miss 3 dinners (or whole days) a week with my baby (provided I only worked days that week), but I would get all day with her the other 4 days.

2. I want to have some mid-week days off for adventures like baby and me classes, doctors appointments, or just a lazy day at home.

3. Even though I have weekends off right now, they are packed with grocery shopping, meal planning, cleaning, and family visiting. We have a standing every other Sunday night dinner with DH family and my family visits Sunday morning or Saturday most weeks. This leaves very little quality time for me to spend with the baby.

4. We want to have a 2nd child (in the next few years) and 2 children in full time daycare would be almost my entire take home pay. Working 3 12 hour shifts would let me work some nights or weekend and not have to pay so much for daycare.

5. I want to learn nursing skills that I can one day put towards another coordinating job (maybe once both kids are in school).

Thank you all so much!

I have three kids under 8. I find that 3 12 hr. shifts a week are suitable for my family. I like doing the 12s because I then get four days off a week. Don't get me wrong it can be exhausting and usually one day off I use as a lazy day for recovery and don't accomplish much. I also find that it is hard to leave for work before my kids are awake and come home to them sleeping, but I feel the days off are worth it and allow more quality time than if I worked a 9-5 everyday. Night shifts on 12s can be hard though because sleep becomes an issue when you have kids regardless of the field you work in. But the shifts you work depends solely on your own preference. You just have to figure out what works best for you and your family. Good luck!:)


Specializes in Hospital medicine; NP precepting; staff education. Has 20 years experience.

At different times in my career I've taken shifts and positions that worked better for me. The variability since their birth and up to now is due to changes in circumstances but amounts to family needs and demands, and means to fulfill them.

Brand new nurse and mom to two under 2, I worked 12 hours shifts on days. They went to daycare and I found one that opened early enough for me to get them there and me to work on time. I had some time with them in the evening and on my days off I may or may not keep them home. (I paid for the whole week and could run errands on days off easier without them.) During that same time frame I decided to try nights because they were growing and I wanted more time with them.

I did that for a while. I'd get home, wake them up, get them off to daycare. Do chores, and then sleep. When I awoke I'd get their dinners and baths, then go to work. They didn't really realize I was gone overnight. But my body had a hard time adjusting and I also started my first attempt at my BSN. So I went back to days. But still 12 hr shifts. Fast forward to being an RN for 4 years I wanted to spread my wings and try something else.

I did home health. No clock to punch. See your quota for the day/week and you're done. It worked well for my now preschool aged children. I could take part of the day off to take them to appt. I had few weekends on call, and it worked. Then the environment became toxic and I sought other employment after 2 years.

I did outpatient clinics for a few years. It was harder. M-F, struggling to get them to their school on time and get to work. I eventually got terminated for tardiness. Blech. My fault, totally, but meh.

Then I went back to home health/hospice and love it. But after losing my brother and 5 long-term patients (I'd had all but one of them the whole time I'd been there, which was 18mon), I couldn't hack it and needed to heal.

Then I go back to the hospital but second shift 8 hrs. (which was a rarity then and far rarer still). That was perfect for me. I'd get off and get home near midnite, but I'd take my rest, get them up to school and come back home for a nap or errands. Then I'd get them from school and spend quality time.

Eventually, though, I wanted to be in a stronger clinical position so I moved to the flex department and made those 12hr shifts work. In the meantime, my MIL had retired, and we began homeschooling (with her significant help) so my schedule had less impact from or bearing on family life as it had up to that point.

As an NP in a hospitalist role, my days are usually 8am to 6pm or 7a to 7a and it works really well for what I'm used to now (I don't think I will ever want another M-F job, but you never know.)


Basically, find what you need, what's available, and make it work for you.