To think I can't keep this up till 67?

(143 Posts)
GodImTired Fri 20-May-16 10:48:31

I' work in acute paediatrics in the NHS. We work 13 1/2 hour shifts with usually only 3/4 of an hour for break. I have a step counter and average 13500 steps on every shift sometimes nearly 20000. It's a mentally demanding job we are constantly under staffed and we are increasingly seeing more and more exceedingly unwell children. Our doctors are also stretched to their full capacity. I and nearly all my colleagues go above and beyond what we're meant to do for both the children in our care and their parents we know this as we frequently receive verbal and written comment to this effect. But we also receive endless trivial complaints about the food, the view out the hospital window, and other which are demoralising.
At the end of many shifts I'm mentally as well as physically drained.
I'm 51 due to time out to bring up my children I haven't paid enough pension to retire early so will work till 67. I'm increasingly thinking that this won't be physically or mentally possible. Also the NHS is literally falling to pieces I started nursing over 30 years ago I cannot believe it's got this bad. But I love my job have tried less demanding areas and hate it.
I'm aware it's not just nurses who are struggling many others in other occupations particularly the public sector must feel the same. What are we all going to do? Many are my age are leaving in droves pension or no pension. Are the jobs we love and feel passionately about eventually just going to wear us down? What are we going to do? Or AIBU should I thank my lucky stars I have a job hopefully till 67 (that's what are management tell us).

gleam Fri 20-May-16 10:58:49

Could you go for a different, less intensive job in the NHS?

Or possibly look at private hospitals? I don't know, but imagine them to be less intense.

Onlyicanclean10 Fri 20-May-16 11:00:13

I am a qualified nurse too op and left hospital work to go onto the district years ago (89) following the scrapping of the enrolled nurse courses and the introduction of university degree courses for SRNs.

The hours and pay were long but I had virtually free accommodation and bills in the nursing home and no tuition fees to pay back.

God knows why anyone goes into nursing now.

I now run my own business. However if you think things are better in the private sector it isn't. Running your own business is filled with endless and generally pointless red tape and my dh, who is also self employed works a usual 12 hour + day.

We arnt retiring anytime soon either and same ages as you.

Need a lottery win. sad

TheNaze73 Fri 20-May-16 11:01:53

Sounds like you need to redeploy within the NHS or a career change. With people living longer, it was inevitable the pension age had to go up. I think it'll be 70 for anyone in their 30's and younger

EveryoneElsie Fri 20-May-16 11:03:58

YANBU, but there are people who will tell you that you are.
There is enough to go round, for us all to live reasonable lives without working to the last gasp.
And there is no need for the nasty atmosphere that this Govt seen to love to create either.

GodImTired Fri 20-May-16 11:20:21

"Or possibly look at the private sector"
Fortunately there is very little private acute in patient paediatrics outside of central London. Most paediatricians are opposed to the idea. Although I've worked in the private health sector years ago I actually dont believe people should have to pay directly for health care. It should be free at the point of delivery especially for children and no one should make make a profit from someone's poor health. This government has privatised our community paediatric care it's been broken down into different aspects of care care is now being given by private companies who are charging the NHS for it and making a profit (sorry to rant!).

EveryoneElsie Fri 20-May-16 11:22:09

Rant away, people need telling.
They didnt know they were voting to abolish the NHS as it was never an election promise.
We didnt give them a mandate to do it, they just went ahead and did it behind our backs.
Talk about unconstitutional.

Cherylene Fri 20-May-16 11:30:48

I work in a dull job and can't see how I can do it either. My pension will be rubbish anyway. My dad retired at 50 hmm

tinytemper66 Fri 20-May-16 11:38:11

I feel the same about teaching. The thought of driving the 45 mins there and back let alone deal with teenagers, who are getting worse by the year, fills me with dread. I have been teaching for 15 years and will be 50 in the summer! So I will have to finish at 67 if I want a pension I have paid into for 25 yrs. I didn`t work when my children were little and I started my degree when I was 31.
Obviously the people who made the decisions about pension could probably retire early and had cushy jobs! That is probably a stereotype but is how I feel.

mayhew Fri 20-May-16 11:39:01

In my experience (NHS) people in your , and my position, do one or a combination of these things
: internal transfer to a different role, even if just for a respite eg project mgt or teaching
: specialist clinical role, usually 9-5 and one client at a time
: reduce hours
: resign and do bank work, still allowing pension conts

I have done all of these at times. A wise manager or HR lead can help you consider your options.

Although you can feel trapped there may well be hidden corners where you can make a plan for this stage of your working life.

WriteforFun1 Fri 20-May-16 11:40:54

if it makes you feel any better OP, I am not a nurse and I can't work till 67, happily I am in a position (not married, no kids) where I can save to pack it in a bit earlier.

I have the utmost admiration for people who do the job you do. Tbh I think a lot of people despair at the thought of having to work till 67 and that's people who are in much less stressful and physically tough jobs. I salute you and your co workers.

I just had news of my sister being promoted. she is the type who bounces out of bed, will never retire, and loves her work. I just do not know how these people do it.

Are your skills transferable to a different part of private healthcare - nursing etc? I agree that healthcare should be free but I also think that we all get stuck sacrificing some morals in order to pay the bills, sadly. You have to put yourself first and survive in this mad world.

stopfuckingshoutingatme Fri 20-May-16 11:41:30

I don't know how you do it Op, I really don't.

I feel the same about retiring at 67, but am sat at a desk and I don't deal with what you have to emotionally or physically

I saw another post from a Nurse with major back ache issues, she literally could NPT turn a patient.

however- you have some time to work out less pressurised role and seriously Jeremy Hunt cunt needs to wake up, smell the coffee and treat out lovely NHS staff a BIT BETTER

SymbollocksInteractionism Fri 20-May-16 11:43:26

YANBU and if everyone has to work until 67 where on earth are the jobs for the young people just starting their career?? confused

HazelBite Fri 20-May-16 11:47:55

I work in the public sector, and had time out to raise a family. I am now 64 with 20+ years service under my belt but my pension should I retire at 65 will only be £6000 pa, together with my state pension it will all I will have to live on.
How much longer can I physically go on for. I commute daily, journey each way on public transport takes 1.45 hours, I don't know if I can go on until I'm 70 or till I drop?

MaryMargaret Fri 20-May-16 11:48:58

Thanks OP for sharing this and thanks 1,000,000 times over to you and your colleagues for doing the job you do. I sense it wasnot so much a 'what should I do?' question as much as a 'how can this be?' question.

I doubt if anyone could kerp up working ad you are nowinto their 60s. In yheory the great thing about you still being in the workplace then will be your wisdom and experience. I truly hope this can be used to pr an even better service in years to come without grinding you and your peers into the ground. It's what I'll vote for if anyone's offering anyway. flowers to the whole ward!

DailyMailFodder Fri 20-May-16 11:49:14

Blimey OP, YANBU. I'm a similar age and fit and healthy but I'm sure I'd find that really tiring too. If it's any consolation I think lots of people, like me, do appriciate or at least try to appriciate how dedicated and hard working people like you are.

Would you be able to reduce your hours? Or is that not financially viable? thanks wine brew

GoblinLittleOwl Fri 20-May-16 11:49:39

I have no helpful advice to offer, but I really sympathize. I cannot understand why nurses have to work these incredibly long shifts either. This is one of the reasons I felt little sympathy for doctors in their recent strike action, because nurses work just as hard, work anti-social hours, but receive half the salary and none of the security.

AlcoChocs Fri 20-May-16 12:02:31

You need to start looking around for a less physically demanding job within the NHS. They do exist smile.
I'm in my mid fifties and started nursing 35 years ago, three children so had time out for each.
Started out working in Intensive Care, loved it for 6 years or so then realised it was a young person's job, there was a high burn out rate. Changed to midwifery, when hospital shifts got too much I became a community midwife.
Then moved on to health visiting, stressful but lovely working 9-5 with weekends off.
Have recently gone into HV education and been able to reduce hours due to increased pay. I think I'll be able to carry on till I'm 67.
Definitely wouldn't be able to physically cope with acute paeds now so YANBU.

AlcoChocs Fri 20-May-16 12:08:52

Have you thought about practice nursing? Once you've got your foot in the door there's a chance you could be sponsored for Nurse Practitioner training, especially with your paeds experience. GPs really love being able to pass on children's "minor illnesses" to nurses smile.

WriteforFun1 Fri 20-May-16 12:17:42

OP can I just ask - I don't want to be accused of starting a TAAT - why are the shifts so long? It doesn't make sense to me. I presume it's simply about extracting the maximum from staff at a minimal cost level?

CocktailQueen Fri 20-May-16 12:20:19

*YANBU, but there are people who will tell you that you are.
There is enough to go round, for us all to live reasonable lives without working to the last gasp.*

Really, Elsie? Are you an economist? Where did you get your figures?

KitKat1985 Fri 20-May-16 12:24:52

Oh I feel your pain OP. I did a 14 and a half hour shift yesterday, and didn't get a break all day due to staff shortages. I'm also 12 weeks pregnant. I work in inpatient mental health. A lot of the patients we get are aggressive or present with challenging behaviour. It's stressful and mentally draining. It can be very rewarding but there's also mind-numbingly ridiculous complaints sometimes (like the man who spent 45 minutes moaning at me last week because his wife had lost a pair of her knickers whilst on the ward). There's no way I can do this until I'm 67.

mummymeister Fri 20-May-16 12:26:04

When the state pension was introduced it was on the basis that less than 50% of the population would actually live to the age where they could draw it. the state pension at 65 was when people (particularly men) had an average life span of around 62. that was the only basis on which it was affordable.

Now we have average lifespans in the late 70's early 80's and people thinking that the state can take care of them from 65 or 67. working on the basis that the pension was originally introduced the state provision wouldnt kick in until people were in their 80's!

whilst I am not suggesting this I think we all - workers and govt - have to get our heads around the fact that we are going to be working longer and that in most if not all cases this will mean career changing or downsizing in our older age to cope.

blitheringbuzzards1234 Fri 20-May-16 12:27:03

I can't offer much but sympathy either. Working until your last gasp sounds almost Dickensian, doesn't it? We were all hoping that things would get better but they haven't have they? I was almost killing myself working at a physical job which was too much for me. In the end I had to stop due to illness.
My late husband worked long hours as a lorry driver and that's stressful with heavy traffic, timed deliveries, etc. He died at 56 of motor neurone disease and I wonder if the long hours and stress (as well as any hereditary or environmental factors) had something to do with it. Maybe if he'd worked at something less stressful he'd still be alive and well. I'll never know. If at all possible we mustn't let our work kill us.

You are doing an amazingly important job but a hard one.
Looking at things from the other end, have you got a State Pension forecast and looked whether you make up some of the missed years (I think you can go back and make up contributions for 6 years). Secondly, can you make additional contributions to your work pension to enhance your final pension. Thirdly, can you start building up some savings and investments that might bridge a year or two between leaving work and getting your pension.
None of this will stop your job being demanding but it might help you get out sooner. It might also help psychologically if you know you are digging your escape tunnel with every penny you squirrel away.

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