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Nursing School and Starting a Family

Nurse Beth Nurse Beth, MSN (Columnist) Educator Columnist Innovator Expert Nurse

Specializes in Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho.

Dear Nurse Beth

I'm in my last semester of uni to become an RN and will be 30 when I graduate. I've put off starting a family for the years I've been at uni and now I'm trying to plan out when to start. I know that ideally I should wait until I've gained a contract so I can be entitled to maternity pay but I honestly don't want to wait that long.

I'm wondering what would happen if I got a new grad program and could only do 3-4 months? Would I be able to finish it later? If not then would it be difficult for me to get a job after the break with such little experience? I'm thinking 3 months is better than none. How do people juggle having young kids and doing shift work?


Dear Wants to be a Mom

Congrats on your accomplishments. You are soon to be an RN!

Have you considered waiting until you've worked a year to start a family? By then, you'll no longer be considered a new grad, you'll have insurance and be eligible for baby bonding leave. You'll also be solidly marketable.

I have seen new grads start a residency program, and then drop out due to pregnancy. It depends on the facility as to whether you'd be allowed to return and complete your residency later with another cohort. Be sure and read the contract to make sure you're not financially liable.

Completing a residency is considered completing new hire orientation for a new grad, so planning to not complete a residency is also planning to not complete orientation.

A year may seem like a long time when you are longing to start a family. But in the long run, it could make things a lot easier for you, career-wise.

Best wishes whatever choice you make, and yes, many nurses successfully juggle a family and shift work.

Nurse Beth

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Edited by Nurse Beth

I think it's unconscionable that you would consider this. You have no idea how much it costs a hospital to train a nurse. You are almost useless the first three months and you're collecting a full and generous paycheck. That you would even consider this shows you have no consideration for anyone but yourself. Once again, shame on you.

Thank you nurse Beth for those wise words. I'm surprised to have read the above comment, I find it a quite aggressive. I don't think I need to be ashamed for asking for advice on two things I want badly. No one knows my circumstances and I did not feel like disclosing this but now I feel I have to. I have been overly exposed to carcinogenic drugs in my work as a vet nurse (a long with around 6 others). I have to be tested every 6months and no one can say if I'll be able to have children or not. It is all going through court at the moment because my boss knowingly let this happen. So I'm sorry if you think my decisions are "selfish" but I do not think so. I may already have trouble conceiving so I like many others that I work with who have been exposed do not want to wait too long as to add age against us also. I'm saddened to see that people on social media are happy to say nasty things when they do not even know 1/8th of that persons story. Nurse Beth I appreciate your advice and will definitely think about my choices.

Regards,

sarah.

OrganizedChaos, LVN

Specializes in M/S, LTC, Corrections, PDN & drug rehab.

I think it's unconscionable that you would consider this. You have no idea how much it costs a hospital to train a nurse. You are almost useless the first three months and you're collecting a full and generous paycheck. That you would even consider this shows you have no consideration for anyone but yourself. Once again' date=' shame on you.[/quote']

That's really harsh. Have you considered that the older you get, the harder it is to have children? While the person who asked the question might be in perfect health with no health issues it still gets harder for women to have children the older they get. What about her husband? Is he in perfect health too? If they haven't tried to conceive before they don't know if there are any issues in that department. What if there are? That is a really insensitive reply. Having a child is a really personal choice. If this person wants to have one right out of school, or after three months of working or whenever I think she should go for it.

It may seem harsh, but she's still screwing the hospital. I'm sure you remember your orientation. The hospital puts a lot of money into this. She wants to do a couple of months and then leave for a couple months to have a baby. By the time she comes back, she'll have to be retrained.

OrganizedChaos, LVN

Specializes in M/S, LTC, Corrections, PDN & drug rehab.

It may seem harsh' date=' but she's still screwing the hospital. I'm sure you remember your orientation. The hospital puts a lot of money into this. She wants to do a couple of months and then leave for a couple months to have a baby. By the time she comes back, she'll have to be retrained.[/quote']

When did she say she would leave for a couple months? Kindly show me, did I miss it? I know she said she wanted to work for 3-4 months then have the baby. But I don't think she said she wanted to take a couple months off, I'm sure she would take off as much as the hospital would give her since she wouldn't have maternity leave.

As I'm sure you have now probably read my below comment I hope you understand a little more about why I'm considering this. I understand your point and I honestly had not even thought about the fact that the hospital will be putting a lot of $ into my training, and I guess the reason why is because I always intended in going back there as soon as I could. The hospital that I have my grad program at is the place I want to work for after my program as well. So I'm thankful for you for pointing this out to me (that's the whole reason I wrote the post- to get advice) I actually appreciate it. However I do not appreciate being described as selfish and having you say I should be ashamed. This has been one of the hardest decisions of my life which I have not taken lightly. I have actually decided to do the grad program and start trying for children once I'm around half way through. That way I can complete the program and have at least a years experience. I hope in future you take a little more time in thinking about how you respond to people's questions and perhaps shaming people is not the way to earn respect.

OrganizedChaos, LVN

Specializes in M/S, LTC, Corrections, PDN & drug rehab.

As I'm sure you have now probably read my below comment I hope you understand a little more about why I'm considering this. I understand your point and I honestly had not even thought about the fact that the hospital will be putting a lot of $ into my training, and I guess the reason why is because I always intended in going back there as soon as I could. The hospital that I have my grad program at is the place I want to work for after my program as well. So I'm thankful for you for pointing this out to me (that's the whole reason I wrote the post- to get advice) I actually appreciate it. However I do not appreciate being described as selfish and having you say I should be ashamed. This has been one of the hardest decisions of my life which I have not taken lightly. I have actually decided to do the grad program and start trying for children once I'm around half way through. That way I can complete the program and have at least a years experience. I hope in future you take a little more time in thinking about how you respond to people's questions and perhaps shaming people is not the way to earn respect.

I wish you all the best in your future nursing career & in having a family.

Thanks OrganizedChaos! I was offered the graduate program yesterday and accepted. I've been a vet nurse for 10years now and am so excited about finally working as an RN. The decision to wait another year was a very hard one..., many tears have been shed on this subject for quite some months now. However I believe this opportunity to work at the hospital I've been dreaming of working for for 4+years now is just too good to pass up. I'm just really hoping that when we do start trying for a family that we don't have any issues conceiving. But I guess that's just one of those things that no one can plan. I hope I have made the right decision :) thanks again!

Here are some other thoughts that I had when I called you selfish, and I do apologize. Remember, the hospital only has a limited number of slots for interns. If you take one and don't finish, someone lost out that could have had your internship. Secondly, the area you were going to orient to lost an employee that they were probably counting on having. I commend you for thinking this through and working for a year. And again, I apologize. Sometimes we old graduates forget what turmoil new graduates go through because it was so long ago.

OrganizedChaos, LVN

Specializes in M/S, LTC, Corrections, PDN & drug rehab.

Thanks OrganizedChaos! I was offered the graduate program yesterday and accepted. I've been a vet nurse for 10years now and am so excited about finally working as an RN. The decision to wait another year was a very hard one..., many tears have been shed on this subject for quite some months now. However I believe this opportunity to work at the hospital I've been dreaming of working for for 4+years now is just too good to pass up. I'm just really hoping that when we do start trying for a family that we don't have any issues conceiving. But I guess that's just one of those things that no one can plan. I hope I have made the right decision :) thanks again!

It's your life, you should do what you think is best. I never wanted kids but once I got pregnant, I don't regret anything I did. I love my son & now I'm planning my second. But because I will be in my 30s & have epilepsy I know it will be more difficult than my first. I hope you have no difficulties conceiving & keep us updated on your first year in nursing! :)

Hi Marie,

I accepted the program yesterday and woke up this morning sad because reality hit that I may have to hold off on children again (I've now been putting it off for 4years due to uni) then I woke up to your reply and I guess I was already upset so the hurtful words didn't help. Anyway i accept your apology and again I appreciate your advice. I completely agree with your above statement.. And I honestly thought of all the poor people who weren't as lucky as me in getting a grad program and I did feel selfish... Here I was crying while there were all these students at home sad because they didn't get the opportunity. This also helped me make the decision. I guess unless you are in someone's shoes it is hard to understand but it has honestly been one of the hardest decisions I've made.

Here are some other thoughts that I had when I called you selfish' date=' and I do apologize. Remember, the hospital only has a limited number of slots for interns. If you take one and don't finish, someone lost out that could have had your internship. Secondly, the area you were going to orient to lost an employee that they were probably counting on having. I commend you for thinking this through and working for a year. And again, I apologize. Sometimes we old graduates forget what turmoil new graduates go through because it was so long ago.[/quote']

My question is why does this matter to you. This is not your life and not your place to judge this lady get a life why don't you. You act like the money the hospital pay comes out of your pocket. Have your babies Sarah.

OrganizedChaos, LVN

Specializes in M/S, LTC, Corrections, PDN & drug rehab.

My question is why does this matter to you. This is not your life and not your place to judge this lady get a life why don't you. You act like the money the hospital pay comes out of your pocket. Have your babies Sarah.

Exactly! Have your babies whenever *you* want. :)

Thank you everyone,

So since deciding to wait I've felt pretty depressed. I'm realising more and more how important having a family is to me. The hospital that I will be starting my program at in April has just put up an advertisement for RN's. I emailed the nursing director and he said that although they prefer you to start in April when the program starts I can apply for the job and see what happens. This would start in January and if I continued with it would include maternity pay I'm assuming. This way I could start trying for kids around April 2016 instead of September 2016-(to finish the Grad). My question is does anyone know if I was successful in getting the job could I ask to continue on that contract and not commence the Grad program?

OrganizedChaos, LVN

Specializes in M/S, LTC, Corrections, PDN & drug rehab.

Thank you everyone,

So since deciding to wait I've felt pretty depressed. I'm realising more and more how important having a family is to me. The hospital that I will be starting my program at in April has just put up an advertisement for RN's. I emailed the nursing director and he said that although they prefer you to start in April when the program starts I can apply for the job and see what happens. This would start in January and if I continued with it would include maternity pay I'm assuming. This way I could start trying for kids around April 2016 instead of September 2016-(to finish the Grad). My question is does anyone know if I was successful in getting the job could I ask to continue on that contract and not commence the Grad program?

If you get the job, I would ask the hospital just to be 100% sure. But do whatever makes you happy. I have learned if you listen to other people & not yourself, you will never be truly happy. Good luck with everything!!!

Nurse Beth, MSN

Specializes in Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho.

Thank you everyone,

So since deciding to wait I've felt pretty depressed. I'm realising more and more how important having a family is to me. The hospital that I will be starting my program at in April has just put up an advertisement for RN's. I emailed the nursing director and he said that although they prefer you to start in April when the program starts I can apply for the job and see what happens. This would start in January and if I continued with it would include maternity pay I'm assuming. This way I could start trying for kids around April 2016 instead of September 2016-(to finish the Grad). My question is does anyone know if I was successful in getting the job could I ask to continue on that contract and not commence the Grad program?

Hi Sarah, it sounds like you're coming to some resolution about when to start a family, and it's sooner rather than later. Like other posters said, it's a decision only you can make.

Sarah, I'm not sure I am clear on your question. Are you asking "If I start working in January, can I forgo the new grad program that starts in April?"

That's a question only the hospital can answer and it is "Will you make an exception and hire me but not put me through the new grad residency program?"

It's doubtful they would hire a new grad outside of their new grad residency program if the residency program is their standard on boarding process for new grads.

You referred to a contract that (I think) you mean they would give you in January. Contracts are generally only for the residency programs. If they hired you as a standard new hire, there's no contract.

Sarah, I hope I answered your questions but I'm kind of guessing here that I'm clear on what you're asking. :) Let me know how I can help.

Edited by Nurse Beth

Hi nurse Beth,

It is such a personal decision so I'm sure some people must think it's strange that I'm asking for advice from complete strangers on this. I guess it's just that I've thought about what to do for so long and I just can't find an answer that makes me happy in both the career and children department. After much thought last night I think I will stick with my grad program as there is much more support and i want to leave a good impression at this hospital so they will consider me for future employement after I have my children. It's a sacrifice I feel I have to make for the sake of my career and in the end for my children as well. Thank you everyone for your kind words I appreciate it more than you might think.

I am almost 30 and think about this a lot. I chose to forgo applying for an ELMSN program in favor of children first (I am a Hospital Lab Assistant/ Phlebotomist/ Biology Major). It would be so much easier if I had met my husband early, had kids early and then had a career. I am sorry that you are feeling depressed...career and children often do not mix and I have much sympathy for your situation. I hope you can have them!

Thanks matadobraK!

Are you worried you will find it difficult to secure a job later? It's such a hard decision for me because on one hand I don't want to waste 4 years of study but on the other hand I don't want to keep putting children off when I'm now turning 30 in December and also have the added risk of infertility due to my past exposure to carcinogens:(

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