Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Night shift dilemma

Working night shift definitely has drawbacks, This week I get to experience one of them, which is trying to sleep while the rest of the world is working.

Yesterday while trying to sleep in the middle of the day I was distracted by the construction work going on outside my window. Yes, I know it's for a good cause, I did ask for the garage, but the constant clicking of the nail gun makes it somewhat difficult to sleep. I couldn't help but be a little bit happy about the weather this morning when I got off work. It was raining so that meant they probably wouldn't be working on the garage today seeing as tool guns and water don't mix. I got a few hours of sleep before the rain apparently stopped, I heard the nail gun going again, so I was awake at 11am. But then it got quiet again, either they left for lunch or it started raining again, either way, I was happy to have peace and quiet and was back asleep again, only to be awaken again at 2. Apparently it stopped raining. It't going to be a long night at work with only 5 hours of sleep. But I have to admit I was impressed with the progress on the garage. Just 2 days ago it was a cement slab, this is what it looks like now.

And speaking of working night shift, I don't do it because I like it, yes there are some things I like about it, but for the most part I would much rather work normal daytime hours like everyone else. Apparently the majority of nurses feel the same, because it is always the night shift that has the most trouble finding regular staff. Which is where I benefit being an agency nurse. I make more $$ than a staff RN, but have no guaranteed hours, minimal benefits and I know that I can be replaced at anytime with a regular full time nurse. So far I have not had to worry about this, I have worked full time hours at the same ER for a year now as an agency nurse. I get to pick my own schedule because they do not have a single night shift nurse that isn't agency and I give them full time hours every week, so therefore I get first pick of the schedule. It has actually been very nice, but I'm worried this can't last forever.

They are trying to recruit their own staff, and are therefore offering a $10,000* sign on bonus for experienced ER RN's for a 2 year commitment. So my dilemma is, do I take the job or call their bluff. They haven't been able to hire anyone for nights in the past 3 years, and they would need to hire 4.5 nurses to fully staff the night shift. If I take the job, I give up a lot of control over when I work, when I take vacation, and what holidays and weekends I work. If I don't take the job and they do fill all their positions, then I am basically out of a job. Of course I'm sure I can get another job somewhere else, but nothing would compare to what I have right now as far as pay, flexibility, commute, and workload. Decisions, decisions, I guess for now I'm going to call their bluff and hope they can't hire enough staff. Maybe if they would give me internet access I'd reconsider. (just kidding)
*This isn't as good as it sounds, when you take out taxes, and divide it out over 2 years, it's only about $75 a week.


Scoobers said...

That is a tough decision. I took a pretty large pay cut when I signed on as staff. The piece of mind was worth it, but my creditors would tell you differently.

If you can pull it off financially I would say, go for it. Maybe you could work internet access into negotiations ; )

Rachael said...

I don't know how you manage night shift on a regular basis. I CANNOT sleep without absolute dark and quiet. The months that I worked night shift during my residency, I basically never slept. You can't maintain that lifestyle longterm.

If I were you, I wouldn't make any commitments right now with your upcoming maternity leave, although the 10,000 would be a nice way to "get paid" during that time. You probably will really enjoy the flexibility though of staying agency once you have the baby.

Wow -- I can't believe how quickly your garage is going up!

Shannon said...

The $$ is tempting. Especially since it would be in time for a nice maternity leave. Rachael had a valid point though. Night shift sucks! Of course though, If you are the only staff RN, they might be generous and staff agency on holidays and be accomidating with a specific schedule. Two years is a long commitment. Especially when you think about how old the baby will be by then... Hmmh

Max's Mom said...

I worked night shift for a long time as well. Do you build up any senority being agency? Would it help to take the sign on bonus so that you would be given some senority once a day shift position would come available? Just a thought!