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Night shift is truly a beautiful thing.

Discussion in 'Pharmacy' started by WVUPharm2007, Apr 2, 2011.

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  1. WVUPharm2007

    WVUPharm2007 "I hear the WMD is the bomb."

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    Man...I'm rolling towards the end of my week on...

    I'll tell you what...I'm starting to feel this weird, eff'd up euphoria. Everything is funny. I just got done laughing at my shoe because it looks kind of like a duck's bill. It's like everything has magically become absurd.

    I think I'm actually being driven crazy by working night shift. I have nightshift dementia. The last three nights, I turn into this happy-go-lucky, giddy, bizarrely happy version of Mike. The last night, I do nothing but smile all shift. It's hard not to. I have 7 days off in a row.

    Granted, I have the "wednesday night depression" thing when I realize that I'm tired already...and I have to do this 4 more nights after...

    ...but starting on Friday night...it becomes magical. The drunkest drunks, the highest heroin addicts, the most obvious of script fakers...they come out of the woodwork...and they enrich my life as I can slightly amuse myself at the absrdity of it all. This is the most advanced civilization in the world. And I literally have 5 people waiting outside of my pharmacy waiting for 12:01AM...the day shift people told them "You can get it filled Friday." They start to gather late in the 23rd hour of Thursday night...when the clock turns midnight, oh, indeedy...its Friday. If for some reason all of the clocks inside my pharmacy went out...I would know EXACTLY when midnight struck, if nothing else. After fighting each other over who gets their insurance adjudicated first...when midnight strikes, I inevitably get that "hey, will you run my Percocet through again, its Friday."

    I've coined them my "12:01'ers". I know them by name...and drug. Hell, they know each other. I like to imagine they all go down to the 24 hour diner down the road and sprinkle xanax and oxy into their burgers together...shoot the ****...have a good old time...talk shop and such...

    There is an entire lexicon that I've invented. Some things that I never considered a night shift dude would have to deal with. The entire concept of people so oblivious to the obviousness of their drug seeking behavior that they will camp out at 11:45PM the night before their insurance will let their meds go through...an amazing sight the first time you see it.

    One night, a girl, wafer-thin, likely an opiate addict (as if the perpetual percocet scripts aren't a sign)...comes up to the window...it's 2:45 AM...Thursday night...she's like 19 y/o, looks like she's about 14...she drops down $2.72 in a mixture of quarters, nickels, and dimes..."30 gauge, 1cc, short tip, please." Not only is she paying me for needles with exact change...but in pocket change. Exact pocket change. I can't help but wonder WTF? She knows how much a 10-pack costs? And the change? Was she panhandling somewhere all day? Does she own a metal detector? Nonetheless...its stuff like that.

    The patently absurd.

    ----

    And I kinda like it...the night...

    ...and all of the 10-pack syringe buying heroin fiends that come with it.

    ----

    To be real, though...

    The best part about night shift is that you can actually spend time talking to the patients that you do take care of. Want to talk about your meds, hemorrhoids, anger towards the deliciousness of salt and how it screws up your HTN? Well guess what. YOU CAN. You actually practice pharmacy. Uninterrupted. I've actually had counseling sessions that are like the mock counseling things you do in pharmacy school. A full 15 or 20 minutes...no phone interruptions...go over all the meds...explain how the disease works...explain how the drugs work..talk about which generics they could switch to that are cheaper. See, those mock counseling session weren't unrealistic and pipedreamish...they were mock night shift counseling sessions.

    There's this one woman...she goes into work real early...she kept coming in to get her blood pressure at like 4AM...it was always sky high 170/108 one day...165/109 the next...she'd talk to me...and bit by bit, I realized what the problem was...after a few weeks, I educated her about the amount of salt in ketchup (she used to put it on everything)...not to eat TV dinners...I made her talk to her doctor about adding lisinopril to her regimen...just last night she comes in..."Hey, Mike, my blood pressure is normal! It was 129/85 yesterday." She goes over to the blood pressure monitor...sure enough 120s over 80s...she asks me if her insurance company will cover a home blood pressure kit. Yeah, sure I'll call Aetna...why not...it's not like somebody is going to call me at 4AM or a line of 4 people will all of a sudden show up.

    I think back to the time at my hospital gig where I was the only person in the entire building that could figure out how to relieve a patient's pain...you know...that WAS rewarding...but only in the intellectual sense. It's like some sort of remote empathy that is only rewarding to you in a narcissistic way. You made a name and hospital ID number's pain go from a 10 to a 5. But I didn't see him. I didn't see his family's relief as he felt less pain. He didn't look at me and say "thanks, man, that feel better." Helping a woman you see a few times a week in the flesh...seeing her improve...feel good about it...start to trust you and your judement...it's much more empathetically satisfying...and less intellectually satisfying. It's not exactly high level therapeutics to tell people to not eat as much sodium....to ask their doctor about adding about blood pressure med...

    Kind of a weird conundrum...the intellectually, but narcissisticly and emotionally removed satisfying experience vs the empathetically satisfying experience...

    But to digress on that...

    See, that **** is seriously rewarding as all hell. In the world of the 15 minute office visit and the busy as all hell dayshift pharmacy where the pharmacist is being twisted in all directions...there is still a way to be old school...be able to talk to people about their problems...I've beem doing this a month and about a dozen and a half or so people already know my name like I've been taking care of them for years.

    You just have to work hellish hours and 7 days in a row.

    And I'm fine with that.

    ---

    The unbelievably high pay, ample opportunity for overtime and side PRN work with a week off every other week ain't bad, either...
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2011
  2. Pharmacy Kid

    Pharmacy Kid LT Smash

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    This reminds me of the first post you wrote after you got that hospital job . . .
  3. awval999

    awval999 New Member

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    I love night shift. I don't know how people work 5/7th's of their life away. I only work <1/2. Holla.
  4. Maximum404

    Maximum404

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    In all honestly, that was quite well written as far as language and content. It reminds me slightly of Anthony Bourdain's style of writing. You could probably write a very entertaining book with this style. Either way, great post and good luck with the night shift!
  5. Namishin

    Namishin

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    Is there a big pay diff for taking night shift? :D
  6. owlegrad

    owlegrad Uncontrollable Sarcasm Machine Staff Member Administrator SDN Senior Moderator

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    Surprisingly positive post. Glad your job is going well.
  7. steveysmith54

    steveysmith54 Member

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    Wait Mike, you're doing retail now??? I thought you were moving to Texas for a hospital job and you hated retail? Where are you working now?
  8. rxlea

    rxlea Unicorn wannabe Moderator Emeritus Gold Donor

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    Wow. One of Mike's posts actually made me feel good instead of making me feel like ****. Wtg, bro.
  9. dgroulx

    dgroulx Night Pharmacist

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    When did you switch to community? I'm overnight hospital 7 on / 7 off. The week off is great, the week on I am constantly sleep deprived. It is too bright and sunny in Florida. Shouldn't be a problem when I go to Seattle this summer.

    I'm glad you are liking the new job.

    Dana
  10. Momus

    Momus

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    Pros
    - 7 days off (woot!)
    - ~4 hours everyday not doing anything (read magazine, pull up your ipad, watch movie, do whatever you want)
    - Don't deal with "need to call doctor" rxs
    - Don't need to call pt in the middle of the night to give some stupid reason why their medication can't be filled NOW
    - More opportunity to make more money (shift differential + ability to get more OTs)
    - Way less drama

    Cons
    - 7 days on (you don't have a life; work eat sleep X 7)
    - 7 days off (you tend to get bored...)
    - Circadian Rhythm Disruption (increase heart attack/stroke in long term)
    - Narcs at 12:00 refill too soon, crazy people, homeless visit # go up
    - Easy target for robbery
    - Doing tons of tech work... (fill robot, cleaning pharmacy, outdates, overstocks, CII count, aged rxs)
  11. Rebel78

    Rebel78

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    I did it for about 5 years, guy opposite of me for about 10. We both agreed you really don't know what it's like until about 6 months straight of doing it, it does start catching up to you, the ups and downs of "restfulness" or whatever it is can be tough after a while. No doubt it shortens your life, I've lost about 40 pounds since giving up overnights.

    There are many benefits that are mentioned above. I enjoyed it while I did it, especially the 7 off and all the OT I worked, it was nice. You have a small clientele, which is nice, easy to get to know everybody.

    Robberies is a whole other discussion.

    www.rxpatrol.com
  12. khydroxide

    khydroxide

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    i just never know what day of the week it is when i wake up. think its impairing my memory as well but other than that no complaints here.

    Question about lunch breaks for pharmacists. Can I legally demand a 30 minute break during my graveyard shift? I know for the graveyard shift its not necessary to take breaks to eat but I am asking because I want to be made unavailable for a half hour so i could take a power nap. Obviously that's not what im going to tell my boss but either way what do you guys think ?
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2011
  13. All4MyDaughter

    All4MyDaughter SDN Mommystrator Staff Member Administrator SDN Senior Moderator Lifetime Donor Partner Organization

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    I don't know if you can demand it. Particularly if the pharmacy has to close while you take your break. Also, be careful with the napping. I've worked places where sleeping anywhere on company property was a fireable offense, even in your own car in the parking lot.
  14. Pinser555

    Pinser555

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    Couldn't agree more. I generally work nuc. pharm over as a student, but also moonlight nights at a 24 hour CVS (they have techs till 2am most nights at my store to conquer the 10 pages of readyfill's) I kinda like nights in retail. I know the people who chill in the chairs and read the paper by name, and they usually shoot me some candy. One a retired laywer, another a CPA. There just divorced, retired, can can't sleep. So why not CVS all night...
  15. Ackj

    Ackj

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    Ghetto speak for "they share their percs with me."
  16. Pinser555

    Pinser555

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    No, just regular old candy... perc's would put me to sleep anyways
  17. Its Z

    Its Z Retired

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    Being able to sleep at night and getting up in the morning fully rested is a beautiful thing.

    hth
  18. WVUPharm2007

    WVUPharm2007 "I hear the WMD is the bomb."

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    Sleeping from 11AM-7PM and waking up fully rested for me is better than having to be somewhere at 7AM half dead and about ready to fall back asleep. I'm staying up late...I have to do some stupid teleconference thing, thoug...lame...
  19. awval999

    awval999 New Member

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    This. Albeit I sleep from 9am to 5pm its just so nice. Little/no traffic. No noise in the apartment complex. Just wonderful. Always refreshed for work. Only work 70 but get paid for 80. Night shift may not be for everyone but its very good for young professionals, in my opinion.
  20. Sparda29

    Sparda29 En Taro Adun Gold Donor

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    I think the best shift for young people is probably 2nd shift. 3PM-11PM or something like that. That way, I can go hang out and whatnot after work. Come home around 5AM-6AM, sleep until 1-2PM.
  21. Filler

    Filler It's V

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    no way doood, 1st shift = optimal social life. With the second shift, the schedule you posted would work great for Friday/Saturday...rarely any friends (employed/with children) would be willing to hang out after midnight on a weeknight.
  22. rxlea

    rxlea Unicorn wannabe Moderator Emeritus Gold Donor

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    First shift allows for going to happy hour after work. Five dollar glasses of wine is perfect.
  23. Praziquantel86

    Praziquantel86 Moderator Emeritus

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    Happy hours have made my P4 year much, much better.
  24. awval999

    awval999 New Member

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    I have to disagree. Unless you are very disciplined you'll wake up at noon and just kill time before work on the computer/tv and then won't get home until midnight. I think either 1st or 3rd shift is the best. With 3rd shift you never miss football during football season (except Sunday/Mon night), sleep while others are working, etc. 1st shift is great, but unfortunately it starts very early in some hospitals. To be at work by 6am makes staying out even a little late very hard.
  25. Its Z

    Its Z Retired

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    Better shift is 7 on 7 off 2nd shift. This allows you to maintain a sane sleep schedule and doesn't require a recuperation time between work and off week.

    Here's the reality of 7 on 7 off graveyard schedule (may not apply to all but everyone I know who did it all agree), assume Mon - sun work week.

    Let's talk about the "off" week which suppose to be nice.

    You come home Monday morning... most try to stay up to get back on the normal sleep schedule and go to bed Monday PM.

    Tuesday: Get up...and try to recoop.
    Wednesday: PRN job?
    Thursday: Another PRN job? or kick back or take off
    Friday: Feeling good...it's weekend..
    Sat: Crap...off week is coming to an end..
    Sunday: Crap...gotta work tomorrow
    Monday PM...back to work.

    The best schedule still is Mon - Friday 8AM-4pm type of work with no weekends and no holidays.
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2011
  26. TemSirolimus

    TemSirolimus

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    My thoughts on this: where did this 40 hour work week come from and became the standard?

    I need three, 12 hour *day* shifts per week, live modestly and do things I like to do. Working your life away is depressing.
  27. Its Z

    Its Z Retired

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    You should've been a nurse.
  28. VeraShield

    VeraShield

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    George F. Johnson of Endicott-Johnson factories in 1916.
  29. PharmDstudent

    PharmDstudent

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    You couldn't pay me to work everyday at 8am...

    It's so aggravating when you're off of work and there are too many people at the store, on the road, lined up at restaurants, etc. Yuck!

    I have horrible flashbacks about having to be at school at 7:55 in the morning every day. :scared:
  30. Ackj

    Ackj

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    I kind of liked working 6-2 in the hospital, since you had the whole day ahead of you when you got out of work. Sure you had to go to bed early, but honestly, most places besides bars and Dennys close at 9-10pm anyway. You still more or less get that "nobody on the road" feeling going to work also.
  31. Filler

    Filler It's V

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    Thee best feeling one can have on an early morning 1st shift. A 20 minute commute actually being a 20 minute commute..
  32. PharmDstudent

    PharmDstudent

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    School zones are from 2-4 here. I would hit school traffic if I got off at 2, which usually ends up being 2:15 or 2:30 because you have to stay over for a few minutes for some reason or another, eg finish up what you're working on, get crap out of locker, talk to the boss about something, wait to get out of the parking garage, etc.

    Regarding money, I'm averaging about $3200 per week right now. Multiply that out and you get ~$165K a year. Sure, it's crazy hours, but I love it! :love:And my schedule is only going to get crazier this summer...
  33. awval999

    awval999 New Member

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    No, that's not how a young professionals off week goes, I mean PRN job? What is that? :D

    Mines Thurs-Wed so to compare my current off-week:

    Thursday: get home in AM, have a nice Jack and Coke, watch some Morning Joe on MSNBC, nap until 3pm, go to nice Merck sponsored dinner in Little Italy, come to home to g/f drink a glass of wine
    Friday: be lazy
    Saturday: Get a frozen pizza and six pack of beer with girlfriend, watch HGTV
    Sunday: Wrestlemania party with a group of friends
    Monday: Went to movie, went to nice Mexcian place, margartias and nachos, National title game
    Tuesday(today): who knows, go shopping, live and love life
    Wednesday: the world is my oyster
    Thursday: prepare for work week

    Going to NOLA on my next off week. Excited.

    I would not recommend PRN or OT during off week if one plans on doing any 7 on 7 off shift.
  34. Its Z

    Its Z Retired

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    Good thing you're a dood... since graveyard work shift is a probable carcinogen for breast cancer, you should still check yourself for it...

    I thought I read that somewhere..
  35. Sparda29

    Sparda29 En Taro Adun Gold Donor

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    All my friends hang out after midnight on weeknights. (The ones I hang out with the most is my friend who also owns a hookah bar, so I'd probably be there all night hanging out, smoking hookah, playing Texas Hold Em.)

    My hospital IPPE preceptor used to ask me why I was so sleepy all the time and my answer was that because I don't go to sleep until 2AM-3AM, wake up at 6AM to be at the site at 8AM, and then rinse and repeat until I could get some extra sleep in on the weekends. The hours at the hospital are not friendly towards night people.

    If I ran the world, rounds would start between 2-4PM.
  36. Ackj

    Ackj

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    Livin the dream
  37. Pharmavixen

    Pharmavixen foxy pharmacist

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    I did graveyards for a while (midnight to 8 am), and it was a bit of a party - we had a Tim Horton's inside the store, and there was free coffee and donuts for the night shift. The stock boys would be showing signs of caffeine poisoning @ about 4 am and start making random announcements over the PA when there were no customers in the store, eg, "Where are the newborn size Pampers?" "Up your ass!" At 6 am, the Timmys threw out the remaining baked goods in preparation for delivery of fresh stuff @ 7, so we'd grab shopping bags and take home breakfast/dinner.

    Drunk friends would come visit after the bars closed.

    And there were the sex trade workers who'd come in to buy condoms and mouthwash, and literally pay by pulling money out of their bras.

    Not bad times - but graveyards messed with my life too much. I don't sleep well during the day, despite a sleep mask and ear plugs. So back to the boring busy incessantly ringing phone day shifts.
  38. Momus

    Momus

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    GY the only reason, my last year income was $230k; I paid a whooping ($57K fed + $20k CA state tax). I literally had 1 day off every 2 weeks. I stop all this OTs **** all together. Time, health, friendship and relationship are more important than money. I realize by the time I am 40 yo I could be having $2M with no memories and no one to share it with if I worked like last year...
  39. Sparda29

    Sparda29 En Taro Adun Gold Donor

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    Get your hands out of my pocket Uncle Sam.
  40. PharmDstudent

    PharmDstudent

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    I would rather make it while I'm young than when I'm an old lady. My mom's job situation is helping to make this very clear!
  41. diplomat

    diplomat

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    Grown ups with grown up jobs with normal family and friend relationships work M-F, 1st shift, weekends off. Working 2nd shift, 3rd shift, working weekends (unless overtime), is abnormal. Nothing wrong with being abnormal.
  42. p-rog

    p-rog Junior Member

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    does normal = the majority?
  43. WVUPharm2007

    WVUPharm2007 "I hear the WMD is the bomb."

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    I'm pretty sure that I'm still an adolescent. Like, if they were to do a scan of my brain and compare it to that of a 19 year old...prolly about the same brain chemistry. I only shave once a week and couldn't grow a full beard with TID testosterone injections. When I say "shave", I mean the whiskers on my chin and the spread out, pathetic, random whiskers that pop up on my cheeks. I *actually* didn't hit puberty until I was 17, so I suppose its normal in an abnormal way. Just look at me, I look like I'm in high school.

    So, yes, I am pretty dang immature. I know this. But I accept this, suppress it as needed, and go on with life. As such, I will continue to work nights. Being able to enjoy Dave and Buster's half-price Wednesday at 11AM every other week is worth it for me. :thumbup:
  44. sap24

    sap24

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    very interesting post and definitely experienced that myself

    but it was definitely not for me as my pharmacy was extremely busy but if it works for you - its a charm esp cuz some pharmacies do 1 week off and 1 week on schedule
  45. diplomat

    diplomat

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    People out after midnight = alcoholics, drug addicts, cops, EMS, and security guards. Everyone else is sleeping.

    If you have a family and work 2nd shift you will never see them, especially if you work weekends. And as a previous poster stated, any non-college friend with a family does NOT go out after 11pm.

    It sounds like a lot of people on here have a hard time picturing their life past "the college years". Everything changes once you have your own family.
  46. diplomat

    diplomat

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    Someone once told me, "Never trust a grown man that can't grow a full beard."
  47. PharmDstudent

    PharmDstudent

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    You're off-base or out of touch. Every industry that I can think of has a range of operating hours, except for the government (which just shows how nonessential it is!) I even get calls from dentists in the middle of the night even though their offices are closed.
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2011
  48. ucrx

    ucrx

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    What about government hospitals (NIH, military hospitals)? They're still going to function with limited staff and no pay. I'm really hoping they at least pass something so military gets paid (and not entirely for selfish reasons, although living here on a resident's salary could get fun). Can you imagine a soldier's wife (or husband) who stays at home taking care of the kids (or even works but relies on the soldier's salary) struggling to pay for everything while she worries about the soldier overseas?

    And yes, there will be back pay for these people, but at this point who knows how long the shutdown could last.

    Although it could be nice to have no parking tickets in DC!
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2011
  49. All4MyDaughter

    All4MyDaughter SDN Mommystrator Staff Member Administrator SDN Senior Moderator Lifetime Donor Partner Organization

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    The VA will be operating during the shutdown and employees will be getting paid. That's what our chief told us, anyway.
  50. ucrx

    ucrx

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    Connecticut
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    My fiance works at the Naval hospital here, and he was told he won't get paid during the shutdown. He would get back pay once a budget is passed. Maybe it is different for the VA or for civilians though.

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