Finding childcare with a nursing schedule may seem difficult, but it is possible. One month after I graduated from nursing school, my oldest daughter was born and I was faced with competing interests. How could I take care of a newborn while pursuing my career? Here are five tips to find childcare with while maintaining your nursing schedule.
1. Be flexible in your job choices. Nursing is going more and more back to its roots, which means flexible scheduling and the ability to make your own hours. My first job? Administering flu shots. Not glamorous, ER or Grey's Anatomy-type stuff, but it was a good experience. I picked my schedule and was able to spend time with my baby. Also, home health nurses are able to set their own schedules with the clients they visit. School nurses, case managers, and other nursing jobs keep normal business hours, which are more easily accommodated than a marathon 12-hour shift.
2. An alternate shift may work for you and your family. Some nurses thrive on the graveyard shifts. They come home and sleep in the morning, which allows them to be with their children after school. A night or evening shift can make it possible to alternate childcare with a spouse. Some hospitals will offer a variety of shifts to fit your specific situation. Part-time or per diem work may also be a good option to consider.
3. Enlist family or trusted friends to help. A family member or friend looking to make some extra money could be a great option to care for your little ones. If they are unable to do a whole 12-hour shift, others can fill in gaps as needed. Working this out with another family can be a mutually beneficial and rewarding experience as your child feels loved and cared for by a network of individuals.
4. Before and after school programs, Daycare, YMCA programs, or a combination of the above can be a solution for your childcare needs. Schools should have information on these programs available. Some hospitals even offer on site daycare for their employees (for a fee), so check with the hospitals in your area. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job market for nurses is expected to grow over 26% through 2020 and because of this, more childcare options should become available.
5. Some nurses use a network of reliable babysitters, from high school or college age students or friends. Post an ad on job forums for the school, or ask a trusted friend which babysitters they have used in the past. Be sure to ask for references. Let them know you have a nursing schedule and see when they are available and what kind of errands or meal preparation they are willing to do. It's always wise to have a few backups in case of emergency.
Finding childcare with a nursing schedule is sometimes a challenge, but with some creativity and effort, it can be done. A functional solution will be different for each family, but with these five tips as a starting point, finding childcare to accommodate a nursing schedule can open the door to your nursing career.
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