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ER "lifestyle" and family obligations...


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#1 ERCat

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Posted 14 September 2016 - 08:08 PM

ER is touted as a lifestyle specialty but to me it doesn't seem like that at all. I work about 180 hours a month and they are always random days. Many nights and weekends. So usually each month I have about four weekend days off. When you combine that with the fact that many of my shifts are 3 PM - midnight and my fiancé works normal hours (Monday through Friday 8-5) I feel like we don't have very much time together. So it annoys me more than anything when I finally have a weekend off and am bombarded with texts from family to get together. This weekend I have off and I already have dinner with my dad, brunch with my mom, dinner with my fiance's family and my aunt's birthday party on the table. As an introvert this is just too much for me. I am tired of saying no to everyone but with such a demanding job sometimes I want to go into a weekend with absolutely nothing to do, and just be at home with my fiancé chilling and working on the house.And of course that means my family would rarely see me. Haven't seen my fiance's family in six weeks! And they don't like that and I don't think they understand. And then there's holidays and I am becoming known as that one weird family member that only sometimes makes an appearance.

How do you guys balance a crazy ER schedule working weekends and nights with family time? What about the introverts like me who really NEED that downtime to recharge and are drained by social events?

#2 GetMeOuttaThisMess

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Posted 14 September 2016 - 08:20 PM

Seriously, I got out of the ED for reasons such as these. Now I've gone the other extreme. I hide in the house on weekends, usually with not too much to do, well except for taking my wife to breakfast and grocery errands. I go and check with my mom in her ECF before/after work during the week since I'm already out.

#3 RuralER/Ortho

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Posted 14 September 2016 - 08:48 PM

180 hours is a $&!t ton of ER work monthly unless your in a lower volume are doing 24s with down time, etc. Can you cut back your hours to give yourself a little break?

#4 True Anomaly

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Posted 14 September 2016 - 08:49 PM

To be frank, I have to sacrifice time with my family- extended family, that is.  With my wife having a crazier schedule than I, we just make sure that when we're actually off together we spend time together- whenever that comes around.  But when it comes to extended family, either I can trade off shifts or I accept that certain events I or she cannot make.  Last year, we both missed Christmas, and my wife missed Thanksgiving.  

 

I don't even work as many hours as you- I'm about 130-140 each month


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#5 sk732

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Posted 14 September 2016 - 09:52 PM

I got into ER because I needed to leave work at work and it wasn't happening in family med.  There are only two PA's in my Dept, and the only important shift we need to be there for is the AM, as there is a single doc coming on that usually is getting a boat load of handovers and admits from the night dude/ette.  We work 12's 8-8 right now with a rotation that gives us each 2 long weekends a month and it's a predictable rotation that gives us 160hrs a month.  I'm happier, I can plan my life and little in the way of extra work crap save my Army Reserve unit.

 

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#6 jen0508

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Posted 15 September 2016 - 05:41 AM

Why are you working so many hours? My group has us fullime at 150 hrs a month. In my opinion, one of the perks of EM is having 3-4 days off a week. That is what makes the late nights/working weekends worth it!
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#7 EMEDPA

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Posted 15 September 2016 - 05:52 AM

I start a new job 10/1 and will be cutting down to 168 hrs/mo from 212+. my new job is all 12 and 24 hrs shifts so I will have 18-19 days off/month. I also only have to work 1 weekend/month. it has taken me 20 years to get to this point after lots of years of 200+ hr months and working crazy schedules, but if you look hard enough the good schedules are out there. Boatswain is now working two 72 hr shifts/month. I think within the next 5 years I will be down to six 24s at one place and a weekend at another with 3 weeks off every month.


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#8 Boatswain2PA

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Posted 15 September 2016 - 04:09 PM

Way too many hours ERCat.  140 hours a month at a "real" ED should be considered full time. 

I'm in an extremely fortunate situation where I can get paid well to work 72 hour shifts (very rural, average ED census of 8 per day) that gives me lots of time to either enjoy quality time off or to pick up additional shifts at other places.  One other place I work is a fast paced "real" ED where I do one or two 10-12 hour shifts a month.  I couldn't IMAGINE working 180 hours a month at that place!



#9 ERCat

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Posted 15 September 2016 - 06:25 PM

Sounds like maybe I am working too many hours... Believe it or not when I first started I was doing about 200. A few months I did 220. This was by my own choice. I make time and a half for overtime and made a killing those months...This month I am working 16 and same thing with next month, and maybe I will feel a little better about the social obligations. It's hard as an introvert because socializing takes so much out of me - and when work already takes so much out of me I am almost starting to get resentful towards family asking me to do things on weekends...
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#10 ERCat

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Posted 15 September 2016 - 06:50 PM

And yep, Boatswain - my ER is one of those crazy ERs where there's always ten in the waiting room at LEAST (in the winters, over 30) so those ten hour shifts are CONSTANT keeping your head above water kinda things.

#11 EMEDPA

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Posted 15 September 2016 - 07:22 PM

And yep, Boatswain - my ER is one of those crazy ERs where there's always ten in the waiting room at LEAST (in the winters, over 30) so those ten hour shifts are CONSTANT keeping your head above water kinda things.

the full time job I am leaving is an inner city place like this with 10-20 in the waiting room almost all the time. new job is solo coverage rural night shifts...avg census 8/shift.


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#12 Boatswain2PA

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Posted 15 September 2016 - 08:21 PM

And yep, Boatswain - my ER is one of those crazy ERs where there's always ten in the waiting room at LEAST (in the winters, over 30) so those ten hour shifts are CONSTANT keeping your head above water kinda things.

Find a rural gig that pays better and work in that crazy ER part time.  You keep your game up with the busy shifts, and reap the benefits (money and time) by working the slower rural ones.

But right now it sounds like you're on quick path to burnout.  Better to cut back now than lose your shit later and quit.

 

Where are you at?  I know a place that's hiring.  You could make about $4K for a weekend shift.  


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#13 jen0508

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Posted 16 September 2016 - 04:35 AM

I start a new job 10/1 and will be cutting down to 168 hrs/mo from 212+. my new job is all 12 and 24 hrs shifts so I will have 18-19 days off/month. I also only have to work 1 weekend/month. it has taken me 20 years to get to this point after lots of years of 200+ hr months and working crazy schedules, but if you look hard enough the good schedules are out there. Boatswain is now working two 72 hr shifts/month. I think within the next 5 years I will be down to six 24s at one place and a weekend at another with 3 weeks off every month.


why did you work so many hours for so long? financial reasons (optional) or did your job require it?
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#14 jen0508

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Posted 16 September 2016 - 04:54 AM

Sounds like maybe I am working too many hours... Believe it or not when I first started I was doing about 200. A few months I did 220. This was by my own choice. I make time and a half for overtime and made a killing those months...This month I am working 16 and same thing with next month, and maybe I will feel a little better about the social obligations. It's hard as an introvert because socializing takes so much out of me - and when work already takes so much out of me I am almost starting to get resentful towards family asking me to do things on weekends...


I think you are. We need at least 3 days off a week (or 4 if you work 12s). ED work is draining. Even my rural prn job is now busy and sometimes I see over 2 an hour now. it's not what it used to be.
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#15 jen0508

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Posted 16 September 2016 - 05:00 AM

sometimes I wonder how ED folks hold relationships with normal people. it seems majority of my colleagues are married to nurses, EMTs/medics, cops etc.
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#16 Boatswain2PA

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Posted 16 September 2016 - 08:29 AM

Yup. I'm married to an ICU nurse. Who else goes to the gym at 0130 in the morning? Lol
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#17 EMEDPA

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Posted 17 September 2016 - 07:42 PM

why did you work so many hours for so long? financial reasons (optional) or did your job require it?

for a while I was a lead PA and had to cover all the shifts left open in the schedule. I wrote the schedule and scheduled myself last everyone else got vacation, cme, sick leave, etc.

later, I had one full time job for benefits (that I grew out of after 5 years or so) and several per diem jobs that I was trying to nurture into a full time job. this just happened when I group I work for started solo staffing nights with PAs at a facility previously only staffed by docs. I already worked 6 shifts/month for that group elsewhere, so by committing to a total of ten shifts between 2 facilities I was able to create a full time job.


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#18 piteog

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 02:57 PM

How do your groups handle vacation in groups that contract you to work a certain number of hours per month?  For example, you get 4 weeks vacation a year, but are contracted to work 150 hours per month.  What do you work in the month you take 2 weeks vacation?  Is there a minimum in vacation months?  What about summer when everyone wants off?



#19 EMEDPA

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 05:34 PM

Varies by facility. in large groups, it's easy to take time off. in smaller groups you may need to straddle 2 months for a longer vacation and work your regular # of shifts around the "vacation". I did this for years. when I left my first job I had almost 10 yrs of unused PTO on the books, which they cashed out.


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