Work-Life Balance Tips For Nurses
Today, on Redhead Mom, I’m sharing a partnered guest post about work-life balance tips for nurses.
Nurses are part of a system that continues to operate around the clock. This means that a lot of these professionals struggle with maintaining a healthy balance between work and family life. In fact, a recent study showed that more than 72% of nurses stated that they had extremely low levels of work-life balance that inadvertently had an impact on the quality of healthcare they could deliver. These statistics highlight a significant issue that requires immediate attention across the board.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, nurses have had to be on the frontline, working extra shifts while risking their own health and safety to deliver the best medical services possible. The pandemic and its aftermath have added to the professional pressure that was already a constant part of nurses’ lives. And while efforts are being made in this regard by policymakers and management of healthcare institutions, there are certain efforts that nurses can make on their own to improve things.
Here are a few tips for nurses to enhance their work-life balance and ensure that their overall satisfaction with their lives increases too:
Come to terms with the things that you can’t change
Nursing is a rewarding but challenging profession. There may be a lot wrong with it, like long hours and exposure to trauma, to name a few; these are some of the things that a nurse doesn’t have the power to change.
There are times when nurses can speak their voices, but at the end of the day, the final decision depends on a variety of elements that are beyond their control. Therefore, as part of being a nurse and focusing on the fact that these things come with the job, it is crucial to find coping mechanisms to deal with them.
Find what works for you as a nurse. It may be talking to a family member, a close friend, or even a therapist. Don’t judge yourself for breaking down and confiding in someone about your feelings. Suppressing these feelings can amplify the stress, and over time, it gets to a point where you can’t help it anymore.
As you burst, the reactions are extreme anger, frustration, and stress. Not to mention, how these triggers impact your ability to perform the task at hand. Since nurses have it in their nature to be empathetic, they can carry heavy burdens around, which is why it is crucial to let feelings out from time to time.
Protect your emotional health
Nurses are acutely aware of the need to offer holistic health care to patients, but they often neglect to prioritize the same for themselves. If you consider yourself a part of this cohort, it might be time to reorder respective priorities so that your mental, emotional, and physical wellness comes first. There is no shame in this because ignoring the needs of your mind and body can ultimately take a toll.
By putting yourself first once in a while, you’ll discover that you have more energy to help you care for your patients and engage with the people you love. Setting healthy boundaries is crucial for maintaining your emotional stability. Make a conscious choice to disengage from the tension you’ve been carrying all day when it’s time to leave work. While it may be tempting to relive upsetting events, focus on other areas of your life.
Avoid complicating your life
It comes back to the point about things that are beyond your control. Even by itself, nursing is challenging and keeps you preoccupied, but at the same time, you also need to pay attention to other things. Many nurses also look after their kids, elderly parents, or other family members. Even if simplification can seem like an impossible dream, it isn’t.
You can take action to bring about more serenity and less confusion in your work and personal life. Find ways to introduce actions that will simplify your job at work. Thanks to technology, you can use applications at work to monitor and interact with your patients. You can use personal phone apps to assist you in managing time between your personal and professional lives.
All of these steps eventually work in your favor allowing you to remain fresh to deliver the care your patients deserve.
Make an effort to manage your time
As a nurse, this one may put wrinkles on your forehead! With the long shifts and constantly having to work overtime, there isn’t much choice for a nurse left. How are you supposed to manage time when professional life is this hectic? Well, you have a point, but where there is a will, there is a way. Here are a few things that can help:
- Have a meeting with your friends and loved ones to discuss expectations. Ensure you clearly communicate the extent to which you can commit and deliver in terms of time, most importantly. Try dividing your time, even if it is for something small like taking a walk in the park or spending one night together every month,
- Ensure you are making time for habits that rejuvenate your mind and body. Eating healthy, exercising, yoga, meditation, reading, or anything else that calms you, dedicate at least half an hour to it every day,
- Although it may be tough, don’t overexert yourself at work. Set certain limits with patients and even with your colleagues sometimes. Some patients and their attendants may demand more from you, but know that you also have other people to attend to. Cut a conversation short if you need to while still being empathetic in your excuse,
- Last but not least is to prioritize time. The nature of nurses’ jobs means they develop a habit of urgency. Be an exception within your circle and carefully plan your time and the respective priorities. Every now and then, step out for a break and make some room in your schedule for other important things too.
Nurses form the foundation of our healthcare system, and without their benevolent contributions, the whole ecosystem can come to a halt. Even though efforts are being made to make their lives easier, there is still a long way to go. So, as these developments happen, as a nurse, you can take certain actions on your own that make life simpler and more manageable for you. It may require a bit of added effort, but the results are all worth it.