Sometimes as a nurse practitioner, finding a job that works well with your family’s current structure and schedule just doesn’t seem possible. Perhaps you work in the emergency department and must cover your fair share of evening and weekend shifts. Or, you might be a surgical nurse practitioner with an unpredictable caseload that often leaves you painfully late for family dinner. If you’re feeling stuck when it comes to finding a family-friendly NP position, why not consider changing your family instead of your job?
A physician I work with recently took a novel approach to this problem. She has four awesome kids, is an involved mother, and still manages to make time for herself. As an emergency department doctor, she works odd hours including evenings, weekends and holidays – not a schedule conducive to parenting four children. So, she came up with an innovative solution (did I mention she also has a can-do attitude?).
With children rapidly approaching middle school years, she decided it was time to focus on family togetherness before negative teenage attitudes and conflicting commitments became front and center in her home. So, she pulled her four kids from their school opting to take a year off to homeschool. During this time, she frequently scheduled her shifts in the emergency department in blocks so that on days off the family could go on road trips, camp, or simply spend time together. The fact that she worked evenings and weekends became a non-issue when her kids were around during weekday afternoons as well.
The result? Her family loved taking a break from the norm so much that the homeschooling experiment continued for an additional year. Their two non-traditional years are something they will always look back on with a smile.
Strategic planning when it comes to your family schedule helps maximize and intentionally set out time to spend together regardless of your nurse practitioner work commitments. Create a shared Google calendar among family members. Block out certain days/times that you plan to spend together. From downtime Sunday afternoon at the house to a full-on vacation, you must be intentional about scheduling for your family just as you are with your professional commitments. By thinking outside the box, you can keep the nurse practitioner job you love without sacrificing the importance of family in the process.
How has your family adapted as a result of your nurse practitioner career? Has this had a positive or negative impact?
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