What is it like in A&E – the shifts

The shift pattern in A&E is something of a Marmite brand that almost no-one loves. Wave goodbye to your evenings, people, for you shall have precious few of them remaining! Say hello to mornings off and random days midweek you don’t have work at all! And always, always remember – weekends are for conformist losers who want to ‘see their friends’ or ‘spend time with family’. Pathetic!

On the current rota I work every other weekend and am on nights every 2 weeks, and believe you me – arranging to see your friends is exceptionally challenging. Sometimes I don’t even see Partner in Climb for a week despite us living in the same house – and this is with a 5-minute commute.

Shift Pros:
– Random days off means there is always time to go to the bank/post-office/hairdressers.
– Weekends you actually have off are much more likely to be long weekends.
– It is, I am told, easier to manage childcare provided your partner is not on a shift pattern.
– It is easy to work part-time or to locum in a shift pattern.

Shift Cons:
– You get very few evenings off.
– There are only so many visits you can make to the bank/post-office/hairdressers.
– You have to look at your calendar daily to see when you’re working, as it is never the same.
– Frequent nights and late shifts mean you are always tired.
– Your social life gets a boot to the face.

This is all very tolerable now, but would I still be happy working a shift pattern in, say, ten years? Or thirty? I am really, really enjoying A&E, more than I thought I would or could this time last year, but the thought of doing nights every week, working weekends and evenings with a family or aged 65…well, that isn’t so lovely.

Om nom nom Food for thought.

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