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How do I choose a job that works best for my family and me?


Dear Donna,

I have been a registered nurse for more than 10 years. Prior to this, I was an LPN for approximately three years. I landed my first full-time RN job at a well-known hospital. I learned a great deal during this time and absolutely loved it! Now I am a parent of two beautiful children who I adore. It is impossible for me to work full time now (12 hours) due to no after care once daycare closes. My hospital doesn’t offer per diem or part-time work.

I had to request childcare leave to accommodate my present situation. I have also taken two per diem jobs in the area, which serve my family and me well. I miss my full-time job, and my new employers both want to offer me full-time work, one job in one year the other immediately. I really like one job; however, it doesn’t pay as well as my first full-time job. I am also losing a lot of my nursing skills in the med/surg area since one job is school nurse, (I love it.) The other is a psychiatric nurse position, which pays well, but there are rotating shifts, which inconvenience my family and I. What should I do in terms of job selection? I live more than an hour from one job.


Dear Donna replies:

Dear Katrina,

You have to look at the big picture when job hunting. That means you have to take into consideration salary, benefits, schedule, commute, type of work/specialty, etc. Salary is only one factor. And while we all want to make as much money as possible, it is not the only or even the most important consideration. You have to consider quality of life for you and your family as well as professional challenge and growth, not to mention passion. If you can find those things, then the money is secondary. You can always go after the job that pays the most, but that will not necessarily make you or your family happy. Which is more important to you? You and I both know the answer to that question.

Follow your heart, and go with your gut. Do what works best for you and your family. The rest will work itself out. You may find it helpful to read “To Act or Not — It’s Your Decision” at

My best wishes,

Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, well-known career guru, is Nursing Spectrum/NurseWeek’s “Dear Donna” and author of Your First Year as a Nurse: Making the Transition from Total Novice to Successful Professional and The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses: Practical Advice for Thriving at Every Stage of Your Career. Preorder (through July 2008) your copy of the The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses for only 24.95 at To ask Donna your question, go to Find a “Dear Donna” seminar near you: Call (800) 866-0919 or visit


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By | 2008-07-11T00:00:00-04:00 July 11th, 2008|Categories: Blogs, Nursing Careers and Jobs|0 Comments

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