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What nursing specialty has the best work life balance?

Nurses   (23,058 Views 61 Comments)
by dianearc dianearc (Member) Member

2,416 Profile Views; 116 Posts

Hello all,

What nursing specialty would you say has the best work life balance? By that I mean an 8-4 or 9-5 work week with wknds off (or occasional work wknds). Or three 12hr shifts that don't leave you drained to the point where you're unable to plan anything prior to or right after work. I've heard of group home nurses, psych nurses, school nurses, pharmaceutical consultant nurses, OR nurses who have a great work-life balance, job satisfaction & are not drained. What would you say are some of the branches of nursing that offers that great work life balance, no immense exhaustion but with decent pay?

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1 Follower; 3,211 Posts; 45,153 Profile Views

Uh........wow what a question. I had a supportive husband and two school age kids. Working 32 hours a pay period, 11 pm to 7 am, including every other weekend, med/surg, was a perfect work life balance for me. I was very happy with it.

Everyone's life is different.

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421 Posts; 7,486 Profile Views

I do case management/ home dialysis , M-Th 8-5, one week call per month. No nights, weekends, holidays.

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Sour Lemon has 9 years experience.

3 Followers; 4,242 Posts; 30,626 Profile Views

Per diem works great for me. Twelve hour shifts once in a while in med surg or psych are fine with me.

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116 Posts; 2,416 Profile Views

Uh........wow what a question. I had a supportive husband and two school age kids. Working 32 hours a pay period, 11 pm to 7 am, including every other weekend, med/surg, was a perfect work life balance for me. I was very happy with it.

Everyone's life is different.

I admire nurses like you who are able to work the floor. run a family & kids and do it all. It's a loaded qstn. I'm only asking because my husband and I have been discussing starting a family. I am a little reluctant because although supportive, he sometimes doesn't get how exhausting my twelve hr shifts can be. For instance after 3 twelves in a row. I have found myself sleeping the whole day...he gets confused by that. I'll give you all a scenario...I had 7 surgical pts yesterday (7a-7:30p)...SEVEN!! Clearly we were short staffed....for the a millionth time, again. Meaning I was on my feet those twelve hrs running around, btwn giving their morphines&dilaudids in btwn other scheduled meds, checking BGs, teles, changing their PCAs, fluids, changing dressings, calling docs for various reasons, etc etc. You all know the drill..I did not catch a break! It's typical, I'm super exhausted after such shifts & I want nothing more than to eat & sleep (don't worry I'm not fat, lazy or obese). At least give me a day to recover. So before I even try to get off of that birth control. I'm considering looking for a nursing job that may give me some leverage in balancing my days, without losing my brain cells (challenging enough for my brain), no drain (I want to be able to do stuff prior to & before work, like normal people do, or like I used to do prior to nursing) & of course a decent pay, especially if kids get in the equation. I would hate to start a family without figuring this out because I know it's a tonne of work & responsibility. & also because i'd like to reserve my energy as I love exploring & doing a bunch of stuff outside of work( this doesn't happen during my work days unfortunately or 1st day off after my work shifts) I love nursing & the opportunities it offers, I just want to have a better work-life balance. I know there are nurses out there who do.

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klone has 13 years experience as a MSN, RN and specializes in Women's Health/OB Leadership.

3 Followers; 13,343 Posts; 115,616 Profile Views

You're not fat, lazy, or obese? Well, THAT'S a relief. I was worried. I'm glad you told me not to worry.

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116 Posts; 2,416 Profile Views

You're not fat, lazy, or obese? Well, THAT'S a relief. I was worried. I'm glad you told me not to worry.

Lol, I figured it would come across that way in my post as you have clearly picked up on. So I had to get that cleared.

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River&MountainRN has 4 years experience as a ADN, RN and specializes in Primary Care, LTC, Private Duty.

222 Posts; 2,228 Profile Views

Private duty nursing. If any of my case managers have figured out who I am, "Congratulations on securing another convert from traditional nursing to home care!!!!!"

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Sour Lemon has 9 years experience.

3 Followers; 4,242 Posts; 30,626 Profile Views

I admire nurses like you who are able to work the floor. run a family & kids and do it all. It's a loaded qstn. I'm only asking because my husband and I have been discussing starting a family. I am a little reluctant because although supportive, he sometimes doesn't get how exhausting my twelve hr shifts can be. For instance after 3 twelves in a row. I have found myself sleeping the whole day...he gets confused by that. I'll give you all a scenario...I had 7 surgical pts yesterday (7a-7:30p)...SEVEN!! Clearly we were short staffed....for the a millionth time, again. Meaning I was on my feet those twelve hrs running around, btwn giving their morphines&dilaudids in btwn other scheduled meds, checking BGs, teles, changing their PCAs, fluids, changing dressings, calling docs for various reasons, etc etc. You all know the drill..I did not catch a break! It's typical, I'm super exhausted after such shifts & I want nothing more than to eat & sleep (don't worry I'm not fat, lazy or obese). At least give me a day to recover. So before I even try to get off of that birth control. I'm considering looking for a nursing job that may give me some leverage in balancing my days, without losing my brain cells (challenging enough for my brain), no drain (I want to be able to do stuff prior to & before work, like normal people do, or like I used to do prior to nursing) & of course a decent pay, especially if kids get in the equation. I would hate to start a family without figuring this out because I know it's a tonne of work & responsibility. & also because i'd like to reserve my energy as I love exploring & doing a bunch of stuff outside of work( this doesn't happen during my work days unfortunately or 1st day off after my work shifts) I love nursing & the opportunities it offers, I just want to have a better work-life balance. I know there are nurses out there who do.

You'll want to go to work to recover once you have a few small children at home.

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1 Follower; 3,211 Posts; 45,153 Profile Views

Your answer explains a lot. Your job sounds horrible. Three 12's working days is awful. Don't know how much you need a "big" income, or health insurance benefits, (you and future kids not covered by your husbands plan). Going part time or per diem is a good option.

As GypsyNurse mentioned private duty, home health nursing gets mentioned frequently on Allnurses.

My schedule worked good for me. Nights is usually less hectic and they were 8 hour shifts. Nights and every other weekend, part time, was good. IF you have family support, hubby would help out with the baby on weekends you work....let you sleep....you'd maybe only need day care 2 - 3 days a week for a few hours, etc.

My last job was kind of 8- 5 Monday through Friday. I don't know how families with small kids handle those hours? Doctor appts., taking the car in for a tune up, etc.

Luckily in nursing there are a myriad of options and hours you can work. A coworker worked three 12 hour shifts 7 pm - 7 am every Fri., Sat., Sun., so he could be home all week with his kids.

My best friend is a school nurse. Sure the hours are great, but it was a hard job, a lot of administrative headaches with no support from the school district or teaching staff. But that was just her situation in her school district.

If your hospital is big and if you have a decent human resources department it would be nice if they could help you out, not want to lose a good employee, show you what else is available....I know, I am too much a Pollyanna about these things.

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Meriwhen is a ASN, BSN, RN and specializes in Psych ICU, addictions.

2 Followers; 4 Articles; 7,906 Posts; 59,714 Profile Views

Unfortunately, there's no cut-and paste answer to your dilemma. Only you know your needs of your life and family, only you know what you have to work with, and only you know what you are hoping to get out of your career. So sit down and think about these things. Get the spouse in on the discussion too--not saying they'll have automatic veto rights, but you should know what they think and feel, even if there's some things you two see differently on.

Once you figure out what matters the most to you, find the job that hits the most wickets (keeping in mind that you may have to do a little compromising), and you've found your answer. And remember, if a job doesn't work out for your work-life balance, you can adjust it (change hours, etc.) or find something else. That's the beauty of nursing: there's so many possibilities for you to explore.

And yes, you can be the specimen of perfect fitness and still be wiped out by 3 12s in a row...or even 1 12.

Best of luck.

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8 Posts; 201 Profile Views

Clinical Nursing, usually 9-5 and very casual.

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