Nurses live and work in two different worlds. In the first one, these professionals are caregivers who work tirelessly to deliver optimum care and improve patients’ experience. While in the second world, these individuals are steadfast and caring friends, loving family members, and looking after their needs.
However, when both worlds collide, nurses find it extremely challenging to meet the contrasting demands of their profession, personal life, and well-being.
Unfortunately, attaining a healthy balance between work and family isn’t as easy as walking out of the healthcare facility when the shift ends. The steady flow of text messages, updates, and emails makes it next to impossible for nurses to unplug from work. However, not switching off isn’t just detrimental to your health. It also poses a threat to patients’ health since they are at the risk of an exhausted and burnout healthcare practitioner.
If you are in the same boat and are struggling to strike a balance, don’t sweat. Here are some useful tips for nurses to achieve a healthy work-life balance:
1. Take advantage of online opportunities
The recent technological advancements have entirely revamped the healthcare industry. Given this, nurses should earn advanced education to stay abreast of the latest developments and trends and deliver top-notch quality services. But unfortunately, most nurses find it hard to pursue higher education due to demanding physical prowess, geographical barriers, or lack of time.
Fortunately, full-time nurses have it easy with the emergence of cutting-edge technologies. Today, numerous RN to BSN online programs are available for nurses who wish to grow in their career trajectory.
The advanced degree allows nurses to broaden their knowledge spectrum while commencing jobs and forget their skills up to par. You can learn more about the online degree options, fulfill your academic pursuits, and become eligible for advanced nursing job roles.
2. Embrace a healthy lifestyle
If you wish to counteract burnout and fatigue, try making smart choices and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Healthy living encompasses two things – choices and actions. The choices you settle on every day and the steps you take to fulfill those choices.
Therefore, eat a well-balanced and nutritional diet. Unfortunately, after bustling for hours, it’s easier to resort to junk and processed food, and the availability of vending machines might seem tempting. However, avoid this by preparing your meals well in advance.
Additionally, increase the endurance to withstand long hectic shifts by exercising regularly. A healthy lifestyle not only makes you stand better against diseases. It also boosts energy levels, enhances mood, and improves your mental health.
3. Make self-care a priority
Nursing is undeniably a demanding profession. Unfortunately, there are times when you get so engrossed in enhancing patient outcomes that you might overlook your health. However, you can only provide quality healthcare services if you are at the best of your health.
Therefore, if you feel under the weather or notice any signs of uneasiness, ensure to take the necessary medicines and rest. Similarly, you can dedicate some time and practice mindfulness before your shift to stay grounded and warm yourself up.
4. Socialize with others
If there’s one thing that gets most affected by the improper work-life balance, it’s your social life. In contrast to other occupations, the shifts of nurses, at times, exceed beyond the 9-5 daily grind. And this leaves them with almost little to no time to meet up with their friends.
Therefore, try to squeeze in time for your family, friends, and passion. When you are not at work, arrange a hangout plan with your friends to catch up on things and spend quality time together. Even if you don’t have time for a good night out, you can always go hiking or opt for other exciting activities with your partner during the day.
And when you are at work, try to catch short breaks. For example, sit outside on benches, or take a stroll at the nearby park to get your mind off things and reenergize your brain.
5. Learn to say no
If you are a people pleaser, practicing this tip might seem a bit challenging for you. There is nothing wrong with helping others. But you can’t do that while risking your physical and mental health.
Therefore, learn to say “no” or establish boundaries in personal and professional life. For example, if your friend pressures you to attend a party or hang around with them, and you want a quiet night in, it’s alright to decline their wishes. Or if your colleague is habitual of asking you to cover their shift while they go home, it’s time to say no.
Moreover, don’t forget to set some boundaries with patients, too. Although it is your job to offer the best care to them, keep in mind; all your time is not for a single patient.
6. Manage time effectively
It’s common for nurses to meet the urgency of the moment, attending to one pressing issue then moving on to the next. Due to this constant flow of demands, nurses find it challenging to manage their time effectively.
Therefore, if you wish to stay on top of your schedule, try setting a realistic plan. For instance, if your brain works at its peak efficiency during the night, ask your manager for a night shift. Or perhaps you are someone who enjoys afternoon hours since it lets you have personal time. Whatever works best for you, ensure to communicate with your manager. Likewise, inform your family members or partner about your schedule beforehand to avoid any problems.
And since nurses must stay proactive in protecting their well-being, it’s indispensable to learn the art of priority setting, problem-solving, and balancing. Only then can you deliver the highest-quality care and cater to the patient’s needs.
As the healthcare industry continues to evolve, the roles and responsibilities of nurses will also continue to expand. However, without setting healthy boundaries and practicing self-care strategies, nurses are at a greater risk of succumbing to burnout and growing apathetic to the patient’s needs. Therefore, try to master the art of time management and maintain a healthy lifestyle. And while you are at this, carve out some time for recreational activities.
Remember, being a nurse, you possess more power than you even realize. And with determination and perseverance, you can navigate this complex challenge of your career – balancing family and work.