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Depressing thread about why I can't do nursing training and asking for your help with suugestions for my other options, please. (pretty long)

(39 Posts)
NomDePlume Fri 02-Jun-06 20:08:14

Over the last few days I 've had to admit to myself that doing the nursing degree, for me, is just not feasible [frustrated emoticon].

It's not that I'm worried about being able to cope academically etc, but the fact is that my DH is very often out of the country at least one/two nights a week, and we have no family nearby to help with those (inevitable) times where my shift pattern and DH's overnight stays will overlap. Obviously once I have qualified then I could shop around for a position where there are no night shifts etc, but in the meantime I have to take what placements I'm offered (by the Uni). I've got a place on the access course and I'm due to start it in September, but already I've had to re-arrange my appointment to attend the presentation evening due to DH's work schedule. In fact, he has had to juggle his schedule in order to accomodate this latest re-arrangement because I told him that I really couldn't ring them again to cancel and re-arrange.

DH's job is not all that flexible, he is the Director of his department and therefore it is not possible to delegate his responsibilities for 99.9% of his overnight doo-dahs. The fact is that his salary pays our (hefty) mortgage and puts food on our table therefore we have to dance to the corporate tune (most of the time).

I'd love to bring out my bra-burning side where my 'right' to a career is concerned, but the facts are that I have to compromise for the family as a whole. As parents, we all do to some extent.

I still want to retrain but the fact is I cannot do shift work (unless we got an au-pair - which isn't an option). I have to resign myself to the fact that I need to do a job that fits in with the 9-5 side of things, but a job that pays reasonably well and that I will enjoy going to every morning. Figuring out what that is, is incredibly difficult. All I have ever wanted to do is work in the NHS, but the problem is that the majority of the hands-on professional jobs within it are shift-based.

I don't know what people can suggest really. I just need to rant, tbh. Thanks for reading if you've got this far !

WishICouldGiveUpWork Fri 02-Jun-06 20:15:11

Sorry but unable to suggest anything-just wanted to say that I really do sympathise-it was something I seriously considered a while ago but for the same reasons,abandoned.

I really hope that someone has some pearls of wisdom for you-good luck.

Mazzystar Fri 02-Jun-06 20:15:12

Hmm, not sure that its quite what you are thinking of, but what about something like complementary therapies - reflexology or something. NHS frequenly employ therapists in hospitals and in clinic situations, and you could also practice privately.

OR maybe something like chiropody? If you are not foot-averse.

SenoraPostrophe Fri 02-Jun-06 20:19:05

I was going to suggest some sort of therapy - physiotherapy? occupational health? (not sure how much oh work there is in the nhs but it's kind of similar)

spacecadet Fri 02-Jun-06 20:20:22

have you thought of becoming a health care assistant? you could work in out patients clinics, so no problem with shifts etc and you could train on the job, getting your nvq,s, when you are qualified at nvq level 3, you can ask your department to second you to do your training which would only involve another 18 months training before you were fully qualified, you could do this when the time was right, whilst still working in the setting you desire.

SenoraPostrophe Fri 02-Jun-06 20:22:53

but health care assistant work is usually shift work too unless you are v lucky. it also isn't very well paid. day care centres might be an option though. then you could speciallise in eg. music or art or soemthing.

SenoraPostrophe Fri 02-Jun-06 20:24:01

sorry, sc - first part of that should have been a question. I know I had to work shifts when I was an hca, and the day jobs seemed hard to come by.

tamum Fri 02-Jun-06 20:24:08

I very much doubt that this is any better, but I have recently come across an MSc in Anaesthesia, which is apparently intended to get a new influx of assistant anaesthetists. It sounds really interesting, and a good stable career. Probably still shift work though, I guess

kalex Fri 02-Jun-06 20:27:58

Been there, done that, got the bloody Tshirt, got accepted onto nursing. Then all the shifts were talked about - NO WAY - single parent with 2 kids under 5. The nearest relative 20 miles away. So still stuck in the same dead end job, but allows me to drop them off and pick them up from school, and then run round like a Blue A*D fly taking them to after school activities.

Life sucks. Until you tuck them in at night

nicnack2 Fri 02-Jun-06 20:37:51

dental nursing/social work/vetinary nursing/dietician/radiograper hth

spacecadet Fri 02-Jun-06 20:40:30

SP-where i used to live, the hospital offered family friendly working hours for nhs staff and there were always plenty of day jobs, due to high staff turn over, but it was a large teaching hospital and i guess not all hospitals could offer that, however, NDP, could perhaps go on the nurse bank and therefore only take shifts that were convinient.

goosey Fri 02-Jun-06 21:02:36

There may not be that many of us about, but I offer registered overnight care on an occasional basis as a childminder and would happily take on children for overnight care to a shift pattern. Have you checked out the minders in your area?

edam Fri 02-Jun-06 21:12:05

I think you only have to do a certain number of night shifts - certainly when my sister changed course (due to a house move) she'd already completed all the required night shifts. So, given that it won't be forever, couldn't you look into some form of overnight child care, like Goosey suggests? Do you have helpful parents/friends/family who could come down/round? Does the university have any sources of help/advice - they must have some single mums among their students? Maybe once you start the course and get to know some other students you'll be able to swap?

Night shifts are an essential part of nursing training but I'd imagine not a requirement for some of the professions allied to medicine such as the therapies - physio, occupational (OT in mental health, for instance), or phlebotomy, radiography and so on ... I'm sure there's a site somewhere called NHS Careers where you could have a look.


Smurfgirl Fri 02-Jun-06 21:13:07

NDP what about physiotherepist, speech therapist, occupational therapist etc. They usually work 9-5ish (or 8-4)? My trust currently had advertisements for assistants for these therapies so that could be a good way to get experience.

I thought you were considering radiotherapy, that is relatively 9-5 I think?

Oh and so far I have worked no nights and about 3 weekends (at my own choice) and have been able to chose my own off duty, but I have had to work 7-8 shifts which I appreciate is not practical for you. x

Smurfgirl Fri 02-Jun-06 21:14:44

Oh and if you do learning diability or mental health most placements are community and so you work standard 9-5 weekdays, with the odd weekend shift, much less unsocial hours than adult/child nursing.

edam Fri 02-Jun-06 21:14:45

Ooh, you could train as a dietitian and actually be qualified to give people real, serious advice about nutrition ie ill people. At least there'd be one sensible person out there combating all the self-appointed 'never eat chickpeas after 7pm' nutters.

edam Fri 02-Jun-06 21:16:03

Smurfy, my sister's training as a learning disabilty nurse and she did have to do night shifts. Sorry.

Smurfgirl Fri 02-Jun-06 21:22:14

sorry, friends doing LD have only had community but we are only in first yr, just assumed that would continue

tissy Fri 02-Jun-06 21:23:08

radiography would have a certain amount of shift work in the actual job, but not much in the training I would think

how about some kind of health-care technician, such as audiology- measuring people's hearing levels, or cardiology- measuring heart tracings etc- the work can be pretty much degree-level, so it's not noddy work at all- plenty of opportunity for advancement and independent work, if that's what you want.

medical laboratory work can be shift-based, but doesn't have to be (less patient contact though)

phlebotomy- getting blood out of people- doesn't need much training, but salary would probably reflect that

physio and OT training is mostly sociable, I think, but the job can involve shifts

seriously, there MUST be something within the NHS that would suit you- they employ allsorts (including me!)

tissy Fri 02-Jun-06 21:24:21

NHS careers

tissy Fri 02-Jun-06 21:26:15

ooh, forgot about orthoptist! my dd loves hers, and has been known to scream the place down when Hazel is on holiday!

CristinaTheAstonishing Fri 02-Jun-06 21:35:19

A different angle. Can your DH not find something else suitable that would allow a "normal" 9-5 job? Even if it meant a reduction in his salary? DH and I made some substantial changes these past couple of years. He's now on half his previous salary and I'm on 1/3. The mortgage still gets paid and we had the extra expense of DD in nursery. We have a v low mortgage, though.

Good luck finding something suitable.

mancmum Fri 02-Jun-06 21:40:28

have not read the thread but just saw your comment that an au pair was not an option -- jsut wondering why that was I have 2 friends currently using them and they are both amazing -- to the extent I am considering extending house to get one... both love their mindees kids and are so fab round the house it makes me weep when I see the paradises they have created... just do not dismiss them out of hand as they could be the key to your future....

cheesypeas Fri 02-Jun-06 21:48:43

Which branch of radiography are you thinking of? If it is diagnostic, then yes I would expect shiftwork due to working alongside an A&E dept. However, if it is therapeutic radiography then I think it would be unlikely that there is a requirement for shiftwork as the equipment for 2 reasons - the scanners cannot cope with more than c.8 hours work a day and need to rest overnight plus appointments for patients are generally made during a 9-5 in an oncology dept.

lexiemum Fri 02-Jun-06 22:58:12

LD and MH will involve shift work for the majority of nurses - it will only be the managers (bands 7& 8) that wil get 9-5 as a rule. But there are also more working environments where nights are not common.

Very few nights are done throughout training - recommended you do some but only where learning opportunities occur.

I do think that most courses run that the student has the choice to manage their own shift patterns. Our local course gives students XXX hours per sememster to achieve plus 1 - 2 days in college. This approach makes childcare very achievable for parents that we've seconded.

NDP - what were your first thoughts on how you'd manage the childcare if you did the course? Do you have lots of notice of DH's work pattern or is it last minute? Could you do it part-time - will your uni offer this? Why not do the diploma instead - slight less work / placement time and still the same salary at the end?

Personally, I do feel that LD and MH are a bit more flexible with shift patterns but maybe I'm biased!

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