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Making it work on the night shift

  • Lead orthopedics nurse Julie Hadley checks on Jerry Simpson as he recovers from a knee replacement operation at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital. Working the night shift allows Hadley to spend more time with her four kids, she said. (BETH SCHLANKER / The Press Democrat)

At first glance, working overnight shifts at a full-time job outside the home might not seem like the easiest way to raise children.

But some moms, including Julie Hadley, a nurse with four kids at home, say that working at night works out just fine.

“I started out on the day shift, but I went to night shifts because I have three teenagers and an 11-year-old. So it gives me more time with the kids,” Hadley said. “I miss a lot less working the night shift.”

Hadley, 42, of Wikiup, works as lead orthopedic and trauma nurse from 7 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. three or four days a week at Santa Rosa's Memorial Hospital.

She's one of the many invisible workers among us, with an upside-down schedule that has them doing their jobs while the rest of us sleep.

“Everyone thought I was crazy when I switched over to this shift, but I'm able to sleep when they're at school, then pick them up, do their homework with them and eat dinner with them,” Hadley said.

She and her fiance, Kevin Quider, a commercial diver, are raising their four children from previous marriages, so she has some backup at home.

Hadley gets home in time for breakfast with Kevin and their youngest, Sophia, and takes her to school. And since Hadley's working on her master's degree in nursing, she sometimes does homework before she goes to bed.

Night workers often tackle the tough jobs, nursing the injured or fighting fires. But some of them also help entertain the night owls who choose to stay up late having fun.

Jodi Cohen, a card dealer working from 2 to 10 a.m. at the Graton Resort & Casino in Rohnert Park, and Giulietta Miller, a Santa Rosa Fire Department captain, tell similar stories, using their daytime hours off as family time.

“In the beginning, it was really hard to get used to sleeping during the day,” said Cohen, 38, who lives in Santa Rosa and co-owns the Sonoma Cutlery store in Petaluma with her husband, Dylan.

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