Advice on my next steps from those who have gone before me...

  1. Hey all,

    So, I have worked as a nurse in both ICU and med surg. I'm a good nurse, appreciated by my colleagues and patients, but like many, am tired of 13 hour shifts with no breaks (except for a 30 min rushed lunch). It's not for lack of efficiency because I am efficient and thorough, but it's just how it is everywhere working conditions wise. (Or the majority of places across the country)

    No support, always working as an "army of one," which I can do as I have experience and can manage it (but it's just frustrating that hospitals understaff "based on numbers" and not acuity...."time to send a nurse home since we had X discharges.." (forget the fact that it's 1315 and nobody anywhere has eaten lunch or taken care of any kind of basic need).

    I'm just wondering if I should take the leap into something else in a year or so...school nursing or the like, public health, or maybe PICU. I almost applied to a school nursing job, but didn't mainly because the money is a bit less for more days worked; where I live school nurses are hourly and not paid on a teacher's scale...

    I love having stretches of time off with my family without having to take PTO, and that's really the only reason I stay.....and because nothing else that is not full time offers a living wage; that is the beauty of nursing....there are only a few other jobs out there that offer that. Most everybody else doesn't have the option to not work 50 hours a week if they want or need to be a working mom. (Interestingly, the only reason nursing has those options is because the conditions are bad enough they need to fill in staffing gaps). Anyway.. anybody out there take the plunge from hospital job they dreaded with stretches of time off.... to full time job they enjoyed most of the time while a parent to toddlers or preschoolers (non school aged kiddos) and not regret it? (I have heard a few people at work say they went to a "9 to 5" and regretted it, but haven't really heard the other side).

    I love the time I get to be a mom on days off, and that's why I stay. But at the same time, the days I am gone, I am just completely absent due to the hours. I am not open to weekends only because I want to see my husband, too, and have some all together family time (though I do have to work a good number of weekend days now). I do focus on the positive...the time I get. I realize no other job offers that, but I have been working several years now in the hospital and crave a job that is not in a hospital for more humane conditions. (But those jobs are definitely 40 hours a week, 5 days...I know because I have looked).

    Thank you for any advice...moms or dads who have made the switch! Right now...I'm thinking I need to stay until kiddos are school age....but that seems like a long time....but at the same time, like they say...."you can't have it all." I'm a realist and realize that there is no "perfect job"...I am just craving a job that doesn't deplete me by the end of the day (and into the next day off if shifts are in a row) in order to provide good care to my assigned patients.
    Last edit by LovegelatoRN on Apr 10
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    About LovegelatoRN, RN

    Joined: May '15; Posts: 22; Likes: 28

    9 Comments

  3. by   BSNbeauty
    I took a 7 month break from the bedside and worked as a case manager that did not involve pt care. I returned to the bedside because I missed having my stretch of days off and me time during the week. I also missed pt care. I may want to try mon-fri again someday but right for right now it just doesnt work for my life.
  4. by   Eris Discordia BSN, RN
    I did PICU for many years...I don't see how that would be any better, to be honest. I ran my tail off every single shift there.

    I tried the 9 to 5 thing as well and yes, I did hate it. I have two kids. I briefly tried school nursing, but the pay was too poor and while technically the hours were good (7 to 3), we were so short staffed that I always ended up staying late at my office or taking work home, which I hated. But this was a huge urban city. And I was salaried, so I didn't get any overtime. I left because of all that.

    You can get good hours in pre-op that are Monday through Friday where I live...like 6 to 2 or 7 to 3. That would be better than having to stay until 5, in my book. Especially if it were a free standing, elective surgery center where you shouldn't really have much, if any, call.
  5. by   brownbook
    Ambulatory surgery is nice. No weekends, no holidays, no call, pre-op nurses can be scheduled 6 to 2:30.
  6. by   KelRN215
    I don't have human kids but I'm a fan of Mon-Fri after doing it for the past 6 years. The only benefit I feel like I lost/that I miss about working inpatient is being able to take Wed-Wed vacations without using any PTO. What I like about Mon-Fri is that I can plan my life months in advance. I don't have to worry that I might get stuck working nights the night before an important Ophthalmology appointment and can book weekends away without a second thought. Plus every Mon-Fri job I've held has been incredibly flexible- I got a massage at 3:30 this afternoon and built it into my day.
  7. by   mmc51264
    I hate when I delete a whole post by mistake.
    I got my MSN (non-clinical area) in Dec, but am not finding the job I want and certainly not the money I am used to. I am a weekend option nurse and there is a pretty good differential. I like being available to my kids during the week. I may have an opportunity to teach part-time online.

    I still like the floor, We just got a new manager and they are building a new tower where we are going to move and have brand new stuff. I am looking forward to being part of some positive change.

    I may also have an opportunity to do some teaching part time online. Maybe that fill my itch to go BACK to school again LOL. As long as I can physically work, I am going to stay. I have two teenage sons that will be driving and one goes off to college in a year.
  8. by   LovegelatoRN
    Thank you! I realize it's a completely personal decision but appreciate your insight. It's not that I hate the bedside....if 8 hours were an option, I wouldn't even consider leaving in a year.
  9. by   LovegelatoRN
    Thank you! Flexibility to leave on occasion would be nice, and I didn't realize RN jobs had that....I am considering clinical research, as well. Not looking to make a move right now, though....but the move I make I want to be semi permanent (I don't want to be a job hopper).
  10. by   LovegelatoRN
    Thank you, all! If I could work 8 hours where I am, I wouldn't consider leaving. The job just isn't sustainable or even healthy long term doing 13 hour shifts with just one 30 minute break and running the rest of the time.

    I am not planning on leaving now (probably in a year unless conditions at work deteriorate further).....but I do want my next change to be positive; I do not want to jump ship for the first thing that comes along.....but will obviously carefully consider it.

    For now...I will provide good care, continue to be positive, enjoy my time off with family, and try to find creative ways to hydrate and all. And I won't be going to PICU because like a PP said, the demands are the same as working in adult ICU, and the hardest part there is the continual hypervigilance without ever being able to leave the unit for lunch (or rarely) because everyone was swamped and nobody to watch patients.

    School nursing probably really depends on the area and administration. However, I do love kids of all ages and being an advocate for them. We will see what opportunities are available then....I would enjoy case management except I see the hours they have and always coming in on weekends off, so that's a definite "no go" for me.

    Have a great week!! I love school, but I am not willing to go back at this stage of life for a masters....and I may never end up going back. Just depends.....I'm at the point now where we can almost afford to travel as debt is almost paid off and would like to be able to do that and see extended family more. Just not willing to delay life for 2 years and do nothing but study, work, family, and run around hectically all of the time. 😊
  11. by   Leader25
    It is great to be able to be with your children and still have a pt job and fill in when ever you are needed.The reality is that you take a big hit financially for your future.Look at your benefits very carefully and plan on not spending too much of your earnings on your children,you will need this money later on.

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