Or maybe she’s looking over her pay stub.
Nah, can’t be that. She’s smiling!
The size of our paychecks (and what we go through to increase it) is the subject of this guest post by Julie, a registered nurse with an interest in finance who is a staff writer/blogger at The Millionaire Nurse Blog.
Welcome, Julie and thanks for guest posting at Emergiblog!
Take it away…….
Working Overtime? Are the Benefits Worth the Risks?
We go to work week after week, trudge through shift after shift aiming for that one special day…payday!
There never seems to be enough to meet our financial demands of mortgages, car payments, insurance, child care, fuel, and other day-to-day expenses that keep our wallets and bank accounts drained.
In short, we all just need more money. As nurses, our easiest resource is working overtime.
But after working a long, exhausting week:
- caring for needy patients and families,
- running down physicians for orders they failed to give you (not you, Dr. Dean!)
- dealing with the demands of managers and administrators who are out of touch with the real world
I would be insane to go back for another shift!
But nurses are compassionate creatures. We care about our patients and each other. We can’t just sit at home while our co-workers are struggling, short staffed as usual!
(And that extra $300-$500 sure would be nice!)
So what do we do? We agree to work another shift. It may be simply to pay that overdue bill or maybe those Lucky Brand jeans or the latest techno gadget such as the iPad or Nook reader we’ve had our eyes on. Christmas shopping is the biggie…how can I afford that iPhone my hubby is dying for?
But are the financial benefits worth the risks?
Nurses are extremely concerned about the care their patients receive, yet don’t realize the risks of harm to their patients through increased errors by working extra shifts. Most hospitals have changed nurses’ schedules in recent years from 8-hour shifts to 12-hour shifts, lowering staffing requirements for the hospital.
However, studies show that fatigue increases and mental alertness decreases with the extended 12-hour workday even though nurses may not be aware.
Medication errors are the number one area affected by fatigue!
- Do errors occur during a regular work shift? Sure, they can! But it is more likely to occur when you?ve worked longer hours, are physically tired, and not as mentally sharp.
- Your family…whether you have children or not, the strain your work places on you mentally and physically not only affects you, it also affects your spouse and children.
Who wants to live and work with a grouch?
It’s a matter of establishing priorities. Is the financial benefit of that extra shift worth the lack of time spent with your family?
(During the time of our economic crash, I was guilty of working every extra shift I could get. While the extra money was great, I was totally unaware, until my husband finally communicated with me, that my extra time and focus spent at work made him feel lonely, and unappreciated! Wake up call!)
So, where does that leave us in regards to needing extra income or wanting to help our co-workers when staffing is short?
- Don’t give in to working that extra shift if you’ve been short on sleep or have already had a very busy, exhausting week.
- Make sure working the extra hours doesn’t jeopardize your family
- Don’t forget about taxes-that extra income will be reported to Uncle Sam! Been there, done that!
- Remember, trimming expenses first is always an option
Think about the safety of the patients you care for, the strain on your family, and the added stress on yourself and choose your extra hours wisely! When it comes to making mistakes, administration may forget they begged you to take that extra shift.
The risks could very easily cost you your license or family!
Have you ever worked when you knew you weren’t safe?
Have you ever been pressured into working shifts, and then wound up regretting it because you knew you were not at your best?