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What nursing specialty has the best work life balance?

Nurses   (18,607 Views 61 Comments)
by dianearc dianearc (Member)

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78 Likes; 6,905 Visitors; 909 Posts

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

Haaaaa!! Totally true. I consider work a 12 hour reprieve from the screaming. Three boys are more exhausting than any 12 hour shift.

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49 Visitors; 2 Posts

After working on the floor (med-surg for 13 years--11 of those years in the float pool), I got so burned out and I realized that I had to make a change. The change was not only for my own sanity and health, but also because I was going to continue in school for my BSN and then my NP. I went to the GI Lab (Endoscopy Center). It has been so much better for me. It's true that I work from 0630-1500 M-F (they do offer 12 hour 3-days a week shifts as well) and I have to take call a couple times a month, but it has been so much better. I get to leave at three and still be able to do things for my life, school, and then go to bed at reasonable time. It helped me to regulate my meal times (on the floor, you were lucky if you ate by 1500 or even at all) and it helped to have enough time in the day to power down after work so that I could go to sleep at a reasonable time. One of the hardest things about the floor was that my 12 hour days often turned into 14-15 hour days with all we had to do. Then naturally, you weren't going to come home and sleep either. You would stay up so you could power down before going to sleep. Working in an outpatient area of the hospital not only gave me new skills to learn, but it isn't as taxing as the floor and allows me to have perfect work-life balance.

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360 Visitors; 15 Posts

I'm still trying to understand why you went into nursing. It is not an easy job no matter the area you want to work. I am also unsure why you are thinking nurses get high pay. For our bio and tech skills we don't get paid what we are worth in any hospital ever! Maybe private duty you can name your own price if you are able to. The only thing I could suggest to keep you from being drained after work is to find an area of nursing you enjoy. Usually that helps, as far as the higher pay let us know here on this forum so that we can enjoy higher pay as well. Good luck!

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215 Visitors; 4 Posts

I switched to Day Surgery when I got pregnant. Then went per diem as my husbands benefits at the time were fabulous and I didn't feel like I needed an FTE to get by.

It really depends on your situation. I too worked 3 12's and was exhausted when my husband and I met. He works in healthcare too, and he really encouraged me to make the change.

Outpatient/peri-op is a great type of nursing, but you may be required to take call if you're in a hospital setting.

Take time to seek out different positions in your current facility. There might be something right under your nose that would allow you to keep your benefits while planning for a baby.

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4,024 Visitors; 68 Posts

I worked weekends (Fri, Sat, Sun) night shift for 5 years when my kids were in elementary school. My husband had off weekends. It was nice for the set schedule, never needed daycare or summer camp, nice pay. I also never had to worry about my kids staying home sick from school, doctor appointments, I never missed school events during the week. The downside to this shift, I missed every family get together, wedding, baptism or picnic for 5 years. I felt like my husband and I never spent any time together! Most nurses I worked with on the weekend program were parents (working the shift for childcare reasons) or nurses going back to school. A few ideas of other jobs that are more "family" friendly (according to nurses I have worked with) APU, SPU, PACU, pre-admission testing, inpatient rehab, and Heart station. I also know 2 nurses that left the hospital to become school nurses and love, love, love it. If I had to do it over again I would probably try and start out as a school nurse. In my state school nurses are on the teacher pay scale so over time you reach a good salary. You also have good benefits, retirement plan and a good work schedule. In my state for school nursing you need a BSN and a certification which can be done online. I wish I could work per diem however, I carry the health insurance. I think almost any job is more bearable and easier to recover physically when it is per diem hours. I have a friend who makes fabulous money working per diem in the hospital. She only works 8 hour shifts and picks and chooses when she wants to work. Her husband carries the insurance so she has more options.

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Ruby Vee has 40 years experience as a BSN.

902 Likes; 11 Followers; 64 Articles; 168,792 Visitors; 13,721 Posts

"Best work/life balance" is one of those questions that no one can answer for you. I happen to feel that Friday, Saturday and Sunday night shift makes the perfect work/life balance. Four days off a week! Plus all of that lovely weekend and night shift differential. Your milage may vary.

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1 Like; 5,129 Visitors; 107 Posts

Clinic nursing or UR/UM. Normal hours, good pay.

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So nursing is my 3rd career and I had kids prior to becoming a nurse. My kids were 11 and 13 years old when I was expecting my 3rd (and last) child working 3 days straight, 12 plus hour shifts. Let me say physically it was one of the most difficult things I have done (I had the first two in my 20's). I had to leave work early due to the fact that I couldn't eat, take appropriate breaks which led to complications. Fast forward 2 years and 5 months later. I still do 3 in a row. I go home and take my kids to the park, hang out with them and do as much as I can before 12 o'clock midnight and wake up by 0600 the next morning to get to work on time (I only work 5 minutes away). It took me sometime to get back to fulltime after baby #3 So I did 2 days per week. I had a very supportive mother and at the time a supportive spouse. You just have to be realistic about what you can manage. I personally live to be off and do life with my kids. I hear you out when you mentioned working short just about every shift, it's draining and it can most definitely be stressful. Kuddos to you for thinking this through before adding a child in your life. It sounds like you already have a great head on your shoulders and I'm sure you will figure it out. Wish you the best!

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3,118 Visitors; 279 Posts

I don't know what your financial needs are but when my kids were little, I did casual pool, mostly evenings and weekends. We wanted to avoid daycare and this just required us to get a sitter for the couple hours overlap till my husband got home. And it gave me day hours to go to doctor appointments with the kids, etc. one thing I did do wrong was switch from full time to part time late in my first pregnancy which caused me to lose ALL of my sick time which I had been banking for maternity leave. Make sure you see what your company's policy is. I started doing school nursing once my kids were older and in school, bu that wouldn't have worked for me when they were younger, because like I said, we didn't want to use day care. Like others have said, the right decision is different for everyone.

And yes, sometimes going to work is a break from caring for toddlers!

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rnprincesstlo has 25 years experience.

351 Visitors; 14 Posts

When I first started nursing, I worked 4 eight hour shifts/week, nocs. This worked well for our family for awhile. Then I chose to go to PMs, which did not work so well so went back to nocs. Eventually went to the 3 12's which was great for a time. My husband stayed home for the children. When I left the hospital, I went into homecare and hospice but felt like I was working 24/7. Working in school nursing was the most ideal for work-life balance as you only work M-F and get holidays, weekends and summers off, but the pay is much lower than the hospital pay. As everyone has mentioned, only you and your husband know what you need and what will work for you and your family.

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27 Likes; 1,219 Visitors; 119 Posts

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

But what's been your best and worst one week call?

Edited by Elaine M
Typo

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27 Likes; 1,219 Visitors; 119 Posts

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

My first job I worked with a mother of five who used to say that coming to work was fun compared to what she had to do at home!

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