The nursing profession has some incredible flexibility perks that make it a whole lot easier for me to be a working mom.
To start, I usually work three days a week, which is full-time for a nurse. I can fit my 38-40 hours into 3 days instead of in 5 like most of the working world. Occasionally, depending on what is going on at home, I only work 2 days, and on rare occasions, I’ll only work one.
My workdays, however, are extraordinary long for what most people would consider a “normal” workday. I leave my house at 5:45 in the morning. Most evenings, I don’t walk in the door until after 8:30 pm.
About 13 hours are spent at the hospital, and I’m working my tail off every minute of it. My brain is completely shut off from all aspects of my home life during those long, arduous shifts.
Unfortunately, I don’t get to see my daughter at all on the days I work. I leave before she wakes up, and I’m home after she goes to bed. I may as well be out-of-town on those days.
A 5 day work week becomes 3
Unlike most professions, I can only work three days a week (or less if I choose to). And that means that I get to be home at least four days a week to spend solid, interrupted, quality time with my daughter and husband. I love my days off and use them wisely!
On top of that, I became a per diem nurse in May of 2016.
Per diem means: for each day. As a nurse, I am literally employed “by the day.” Hospitals need per diem nurses to cover staffing needs in the hospital, which can vary by day or season.
Per diem nursing is a game-changer for me as a working mom. It is so flexible that I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to go back to being a career RN again.
Benefits to per diem nursing
Significantly higher pay than a career nurse
Work as little as one day a week or as many as five days a week (as long as there is a need for an RN)
Make my own schedule (if the hospital doesn’t need me, they call me off)
Cancel at the last minute (as long as it is by 3 am)
Add on a shift at the last minute.
Incredible growth opportunities. I never stop learning or being challenged.
Work in many different specialties: Emergency Room, Cardiac, Liver Transplant, Medicine, Neuroscience and Stroke, or Oncology, to name a few
Opportunities to “master in” to a unit that is chronically short on staffing needs for a period of time. This guarantees a certain number of hours for that time period.
Drawbacks to per diem nursing
No benefits. No retirement, no disability, no sick days, no vacation days, no paid maternity leave
If I don’t work, I don’t get paid.
The hospital can cancel me at the last minute. And they have MANY times. This is frustrating as I already must already have childcare scheduled for the day.
Many per diem nurses complain that they often get stuck with more difficult assignments than other nurses on the same floor.
You must be a jack of all trades. Working with so many different specializes can be hard because each floor has a different patient population with unique needs and hospital protocols.
Finding a work-life balance in per diem nursing
Being a working mom is more doable and less stressful now that I have a little more work-life balance.
I try to work every Monday and Wednesday and alternate working 1 weekend day every other week. That way I switch between working 2 days one week and 3 the next.
My husband has to be home by 5 pm on the days I work so he can relieve our nanny. It puts a bit of a strain on him to leave work early those days, but he makes up for it by staying late later on other days.
We share our amazing nanny, Ana, with another family she works with on the days she is not with us. We guarantee her 2 to 3 days a week whether I work or not.
Quality vs. quantity
I feel very fortunate because I believe I have a balance between working mostly full-time and being kind of like a stay-at-home mom on my days off.
In fact, I think it’s possible that being a working mom with my schedule allows me to spend more quality time with my daughter than if I didn’t work at all.
When I’m at work, I am completely engaged and focused. I look forward to thinking critically, applying my skills, and helping to save lives. I’m constantly learning and applying myself in difficult situations.
Then when I’m home, I can completely shut that part of my brain off and be fully present.
Our fun activities on one of my off-days typically include going to the park or for walks, meeting friends out for play dates, cooking, errand running, or just hanging out at the house. There is a lot of reading, playing, giggling, and even a daily nap (for Mommy, too!).
Gratitude always helps
Since I work so hard at the hospital, I am so grateful to be home and be Mom. Even running errands with my daughter is enjoyable (Zoe loves going out with Mom, especially when she gets to help me pick out groceries).
In all honesty, I’m often beyond tired on my days off, but at least I can compartmentalize the two parts of my life. Many careers don’t have that option.
Being a working Mom means making sacrifices and finding creative ways to make a work-life balance possible.
A busy schedule can leave you no time to pack a lunch or sit down to have a meal. A jam-packed schedule shouldn’t become a habit, but embracing it when it does happen is the best course of action. One of the best ways to do that is to take snacks on the go—that way, you can eat them at your convenience. For a few quick, healthy snacks to eat on the go, continue reading below.
Trail mix is a fan favorite. It’s a delicious way to satisfy your cravings or eat quickly when you’re in a pinch. This mix is usually a combination of dried fruits, nuts, chocolate, and grains. The best part of trail mix is that there are so many different combinations to enjoy. The possibilities are endless.
Veggies and Yogurt Dip
Veggies might not be your first choice of snack, but you might change your mind if you dip your veggies in a tasty yogurt dip. It’s an incredibly healthy option—and you’ll love the taste. It isn’t the easiest snack to transport since you must keep the yogurt cold, but if you pack it in an insulated lunch box ahead of time, you can totally eat it on the go.
Flavored Honey Sticks
This treat is both tasty and full of nutrients. All you have to do is hold one end of the flavored honey stick straw, pinch or bite the seam until the other end opens, and squeeze the contents out until you taste the sweet nectar inside. This honey stick treat is perfect for a quick pick-me-up; plus, it comes in a multitude of flavors.
Hard-boiled eggs are low-calorie, nutrient-dense foods. They’re an excellent source of high-quality protein and rich in B vitamins, zinc, calcium, and other beneficial minerals. In addition to all the health benefits, they’re also super-easy treats to grab and go when you’re in a rush.
All these tasty treats are extremely practical. There are countless other quick, healthy snacks to eat on the go, but these are some favorites. Try them today!
*This post contains prayers for the sick, prayers for the dying, and prayers for healthcare workers amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The COVID-19 outbreak has been a scary time for many people, especially those who have tested positive or have friends and family who are fighting the virus.
Sometimes it is difficult to come up with words of comfort during such a scary, unpredictable time in the world.
If you find yourself struggling with how to show support for those around you during the COVID-19 pandemic, sending a prayer is a positive way to find and give strength to those around you who need it most.
Here are three simple prayers for the sick and for other frontline healthcare workers to offer love and support, as we come to terms with the devastating effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
Prayer for nurses and other healthcare workers
Prayer for nurses and healthcare workers during COVID-19
Dear Father In Heaven,
Please be with the doctors, nurses, and healthcare workers who are fighting on the front lines amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Guide their minds and hands and bring them calm determination throughout each step of the day. Let your light shine on them as they perform their selfless duties and let them know how much we appreciate them and all the work they do.
Through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen.
Prayer for the dying amid COVID-19
Prayer for the dying amid COVID-19
Our Heavenly Father,
We ask you with a broken heart to cover us with your infinite peace and comfort. You alone know our anguish and pain caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic. Please welcome, _______ into your heavenly graces. We trust in you to help them be pain-free and joyful, wrapped in your loving arms forever.
In Jesus’ Name, We Pray. Amen
Prayer for the sick fighting COVID-19
Prayer for the sick fighting COVID-19
Please let your faithful presence guide our loved one with comfort and courage during this time of illness from COVID-19. Bring your peace to their mind and give them the strength they need to regain their health. Let your light shine on all the doctors and health care workers who are working tirelessly to help them recover.
Many working mothers worry if their kids will end up OK. Especially when they are constantly “leaning in” to the workplace and home at the same time.
But the kids will be alright. Truly. Even if you have to spend many hours away from them every day.
The reality is that 70 percent of mothers with kids under 18 work outside the home, and 40 percent are breadwinners. With the high cost of living in some cities, many moms have no choice but to work.
There is, however, good news, according to recent evidence. Many studies show that having a working mother is not only suitable for financial reasons – but the situation has several positives for kids and the family as well.
As an ER nurse, I often see firsthand how lucky I am just to have healthy children.
Every single day I work with the parents of kids who are unwell. It’s hard to feel sorry for myself as a working mom when I see how hard they struggle. It’s a perspective that I wish more people had because it puts the challenges of working motherhood into perspective.
There are so many societal pressures about what mothers should be doing. Many of these pressures have become unspoken rules that we find ourselves following even though we don’t realize it. Likely, we are just so ridiculously busy that we don’t have time to examine these thoughts and feelings to see if they are even true.
But these insidious thoughts about working mom guilt feel genuine, and that’s why we feel so guilty about them. But while our children are the centerpieces in our lives – especially when they are little – it doesn’t mean that they can’t function without us looking over their shoulders each minute of the day.
My kids don’t need me every time they color in their coloring books or create art; they don’t need me spoon-feeding them their meals. They will figure out a way to get in their mouths if they are hungry.
They certainly don’t need me welcoming them with Pinterest-friendly snacks every time they come through the door.
Giving our kids space also gives them autonomy to learn on their own, in their way.
Children build self-esteem by figuring out how to do things by themselves. It makes them feel good, and they like to repeat the things that make them feel good about themselves. It is a recipe for healthy personal growth and self-development.
Maybe, as mothers, we just need to get out of our kid’s way and let them do their thing.
And finally, for once and for all, let’s just stop feeling guilty.
Working mom guilt is unnecessary, according to evidence.
Here is more evidence for those with working mom guilt:
#1. Studies show that daughters and sons benefit from having a working mom
According to a Harvard research study, daughters of working moms are more likely to advance in their careers, and sons of working moms go on to spend 50 minutes more each week caring for their own families.
As a working mother of both a daughter and a son, it was good to hear that working would positively benefit my children’s participation in both work and home. The study showed that having a working mom did not influence the future careers of sons one way or another. However, mother’s employment is essential to how much their sons participate with their own children later on in life.
The take-away is that working mothers have a chance to help their daughters be more financially independent as adults -and teach sons to participate as fathers.
#2. Kids of working moms are just as happy
The same Harvard study later showed that kids of working moms wind up just as happy in adulthood as the children of moms who stayed home.
The belief that having a working mother is somehow damaging their children is just not true. For mothers with concerns that their working outside of the home is somehow making their children unhappy, this should bring some relief.
#3. Working moms may be happier
The outrageous amount of multitasking that many mothers are required to do to have a career and care for children can be overwhelming. However, despite the challenges that come with finding a work-life balance, many moms who work say they’re healthier and happier than moms who stay at home.
This tells me that mothers can – and should- do what makes them happy. If that means staying at home, great! If having a career works better for you and your family, then that is OK too.
#4. Being out of the workforce for even a few years causes women’s earnings to plummet
Many women already earn 70 cents to the dollar than men in similar jobs. But add time taken off for childbearing years, and women are also paying something known as “the mommy tax.” Being a stay-at-home mom costs a lot of money.
Don’t succumb to the guilt of being a working mom. It’s OK, really.
Being a working mom often provides many women with cerebral stimulation that they don’t get at home.
I love being an emergency room nurse and a science geek at heart. I am challenged and stimulated while I am working with patients in a way that I’m not at home. I have had the opportunity to see more disease states, complex injuries, and unusual diagnoses than I ever could have imagined even existed.
It would not be an exaggeration to say I learn ten new things every day at work. Also, I am surrounded by some of the most intelligent people I have ever met. Many of my co-workers have the same drive for helping people I do. They motivate me to keep learning.
The bottom line is that it is essential to do what is right for your family. Doing what works for you to keep your family functioning, healthy, and happy is what matters.
It may mean lowering the bar in some other areas of our lives. There is no winner for the cleanest house. Saying that your home is messy because you play with your kids is a privilege. And I am so grateful for that privilege on the days I don’t work.
Whatever kind of mom you are – free yourself of the judgment that what you are doing is wrong or bad. And funnel that energy into creating a family life that engages, inspires, and invites joy into your days.
Nurses often want to know the pros and cons of travel nursing before making a colossal life-altering career decision. If you have been considering travel nursing as a potential career trajectory, this article is for you.
Travel nursing offers an opportunity for career growth.
For anyone who dreams of entering the healthcare field to help others but doesn’t want to be tied down to working in a single facility, becoming a travel nurse is an appealing option. As a travel nurse, you can spend your days working in different facilities in your immediate area, taking care of patients in their homes, or providing skilled nursing services as needed in different parts of the country—or even the world.
In a lot of ways, travel nursing is amazing. That doesn’t mean, though, that there aren’t any potential drawbacks. If you are considering a career in travel nursing, keep reading to learn a bit more about the pros and cons, and how to get started.
Let’s start with the good stuff. As a travel nurse, you will have the opportunity to live in various towns and cities throughout the nation. In some instances, you may even get to travel to exotic locations in other parts of the world. You’ll get to meet new people and immerse yourself in unfamiliar cultures.
When you work as a travel nurse, you quickly gain valuable work experience. You can gain knowledge that would likely take you years to learn in a single location in a matter of months. And if you don’t love your current nursing job, accepting a travel position can provide you with an easy way to escape.
As a travel nurse, you’ll be able to take more time off throughout the year as you choose. You have a higher degree of flexibility and control over your schedule than you do when working at a single facility. Because travel nurses work through staffing agencies, you will have the opportunity to try out potential employers before committing to a full-time position.
Travel nursing is always in high demand.
Travel nurses have a high level of control over where and when they work, so they often have the freedom to go where they want to go, when they want to go. You may even be able to find work in a specific city when you know there is an upcoming event that you would like to attend. Or you could accept an assignment near a friend or family member’s home if you would like to visit them for a few days (or longer).
Travel nurses are in high demand, too, so there are often attractive sign-on bonuses and other incentives that tend to make this career path look pretty appealing.
Travel Nursing Cons
The pros of working as a travel nurse are numerous, but there are also some drawbacks that you should be aware of when you are trying to decide whether it’s the right career for you. For starters, it doesn’t offer the same sort of stability as you would expect in other nursing positions. As a travel nurse, you are classified as a temporary employee, which makes it much easier for your employer to terminate your working relationship. Being classified as a temporary employee can also make it more challenging to collect unemployment benefits if you are terminated.
While you may have more flexibility in terms of taking time off, you shouldn’t expect that time to be paid. Paid time off is rare for travel nurses and, even when it is available, it’s usually tough to qualify for.
When you take on a new assignment, there will usually be onboarding requirements that can be quite time-consuming, and in many instances, they’re unpaid. Travel nurses also tend to move around a lot, which can make it challenging to build and maintain personal relationships.
Last, if you have what the IRS considers a “tax home,” many of the reimbursements and stipends you receive as a travel nurse are non-taxable. This may seem like a good thing because it means more money on your paycheck. However, it also means a lower gross income on paper. This could be problematic in the eyes of loan officers or when you reach retirement age.
You can meet nurses from all over the world as a travel nurse.
Getting Started as a Travel Nurse
For many people, the pros of being a travel nurse outweigh the cons. If it still sounds like a career that you would be interested in, you will need to have the appropriate qualifications to get started. Most travel nurses are RNs, so you will need to have completed nursing school and become one before you are qualified for the job. Some agencies also work with LPNs, but you will have a much easier time being placed if you are an RN.
Keep in mind that you will need to be licensed to work in states other than your own. If you do not have the proper licensing to work in a state where you would like to be assigned, however, your staffing agency should be able to help you obtain it.
You usually need to have some experience working in a traditional nursing position, too. Before you can start traveling across the country as a nurse, you’ll need to spend a year or two (at minimum) working in a hospital or another facility. If you plan on working in a specialized field, such as ICU or labor and delivery nursing, additional bedside experience may be required.
Of course, you’ll also need the general supplies that are required for nurses. Do some research to discover the best shoes for nurses, find scrubs that are appropriate for the climate in which you will be working, etc.
The Bottom Line
Life as a travel nurse can be challenging, but it is also incredibly rewarding. If you think this career path is right for you, now is a great time to start preparing for your future. Whether you prefer to keep your travel distance relatively small or you dream of helping patients throughout the entire country, when you look and feel your best in your favorite scrubs and are committed to reaching your goals, anything is possible!
Adela Ellis, RN
Adela Ellis is a full-time nurse and part-time ambassador for Infinity Scrubs. Adela attended the University of Arizona and has been a travel nurse for the last six years. She enjoys working with different doctors, nurses, and patients from all over the country and blogging about her experiences. In her free time, she loves true-crime podcasts and cooking for friends and family.