Nursing is an up-and-coming, high demand occupation in Australia – but is it a family friendly one? If you’re looking for a career that will allow you sufficient time to take care of your children, how does nursing compare against other careers? Let’s take a look at some of the factors that could help you decide whether or not a nursing career would be the right choice for you.
Not all nursing career specialties are created equal
The first thing you need to be aware of: Different nursing specialties have different requirements. Some of the specialist nursing requirements are notoriously unfriendly to family life. In particular, many nursing roles would require you to work night shift and during public holidays.
Emergency situations can arise at all hours. So if you’re thinking of working as a critical care and emergency nurse, you will have to be prepared to work some late nights and holiday shifts. This would not be an advisable career choice for any mum who cannot count on having reliable help with childcare.
However, there are some nursing roles that don’t require such grueling working schedules. There are nurses who are able to negotiate regular day shift working hours. These roles tend to be exceptionally family friendly. Some of these options include the following roles:
- School nurses
- Fertility nurses
- Nurse managers
School nurses typically work at either primary or secondary educational facilities. Their job description typically includes the following sorts of tasks:
- Provide health assessments for students
- Advise students about healthy habits and behaviours
- Maintain students’ school-related health records
- Assist with health emergencies as needed
Fertility nurses work in a variety of settings. They can work at fertility centres, gynaecologists’ offices, doctors’ offices, hospitals, clinics and counsellor’s offices. Work hours and responsibilities can vary greatly depending on the employer and type of healthcare facility. These are the types of duties a fertility nurse typically handles:
- Inform patients about various aspects of fertility, infertility treatment options, and self-care
- Administer patients’ hormone tests and take patients’ blood samples
- Perform patients’ ultrasounds and diagnostics
- Confer with fertility specialists regarding patients’ treatment
- Administer pregnancy tests to patients
- Monitor early stages of patients’ pregnancies
Nurse managers might or might not be able to work regular day shift hours; it depends on the specific role and the terms you negotiate with your employer. Some nurse managers enjoy a regular day shift only work routine. There are also some nurse managers who have to do shift work and end up working holidays and nights.
Becoming a nurse manager typically requires a substantial investment in your education and your career. You must first obtain your credentials to work as a registered nurse. Many nurse management roles also require substantial hands-on nursing experience. It is also common for employers to require their aspiring nurse managers to obtain formal postgraduate education. A master of nursing in Australia would prepare you well for this type of role.
Nurse managers typically supervise others to achieve the goals of the healthcare facility they work at. In addition to regular nursing tasks, they might be responsible for tasks such as recruiting, training, motivating, retaining and scheduling of other staffers.
As you can see, there is no simple, clear-cut answer to the question “Is a nursing career family friendly?” But there are many mums who successfully work as nurses – and you have quite a few family-friendly career options to pursue within the broader field of nursing.
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