Nurses: Do you have an exit strategy?
A slightly disturbing thing that I noticed this summer was the amount of nurses who have an exit strategy for leaving the bedside. It seemed like the majority of nurses I worked with were planning their exodus from bedside nursing in the form of CRNA school, NP school, or perhaps even just getting a MSN in order to obtain a more administrative role.It certainly doesn’t leave one with much hope for the profession. I wonder if other professions experience this phenomenom (i.e. how is the best way to put in my 2 years of drudgery and then advance?) On the other hand, one thing I noticed was the advantages of raising a family when one parent is a nurse, because there is such a variety of shifts you can work. Here are some examples – these are all people I know:
- A nurse who does home health care during the day so she can be home when her kids come home from school.
- A nurse who works 4 weekend ICU shifts a month and spends the rest of her time staying home with her young children.
- A nurse manager who works M-F, 9-5 and has her kids in day care.
- A male nurse who works nights and weekends so his wife (also a nurse) can stay home with the kids
- A female nurse who works agency so her husband can stay home with the kids
- A nurse who mostly stays at home with her child but picks up contracts here and there when the family finances call for it (guess who that one is!)
- And I know a plethora of nurses who do the conventional ICU schedule (every other weekend, rotating days and nights) while raising a family with a spouse who quite often works an opposite schedule.
This last option is hard. Extremely hard. But if planned right, it can work to maximize the time that your family spends together.I remember reading in one of my nursing theory textbooks that these types of nurses who fall in and out of the profession and will only work full time when it’s convenient for them and their family are very bad for nursing. They don’t contribute at all to advancing the cause of obtaining more power and respect for the profession. And yet where would nursing be without them? For the most part they are the ones who aren’t working on an exit strategy, because it all works out so well for them.