What is the Importance of Work-Life Balance in Nursing?
Nurses Need to Put Precedent on Achieving a Strong Work-Life Balance to Achieve Better Job Satisfaction
As a nurse, you’ve probably been annoyed at least once in your career by someone claiming “it must be so nice to have three whole days off!” — when you know that you work more.
than they do in a week. The importance of work-life balance in nursing is crucial, and it’s become a hot topic of discussion ever since the nurse shortage has become so prominent in the healthcare industry.
It’s obvious that being a nurse is a demanding job, but it doesn’t have to rule your life. Finding the right work-life balance can help you find more satisfaction within your career, but it’s easier said than done.
So what is a good work-life balance, anyway? It’s going to be different for everyone, but it’s essentially how you separate your work life from your personal life. When you have too much work, and it starts to overwhelm your life as a whole, you can start to feel stressed and burned out. Both of these make performing at your best extremely difficult and it can have long term effects on your physical and mental health as well as your relationships.
Unfortunately, due to staffing shortages, nurses’ work-life balances are often disrupted because of increased work demands, difficult work schedules, and not being able to say “no” when someone asks for help.
How Can Nurses Achieve the Right Work-Life Balance?
It can be hard to achieve a good work-life balance — especially for younger nurses — because of the challenges that healthcare facilities are facing. It’s also important to recognize that no one is ever going to be stress-free altogether. But what you can do is recognize the situations that aren’t within your control so you’re not working to cross an impossible barrier. Instead, focus on the stressors that are within your control and work to make positive changes.
There are several things that can impact a nurse’s work-life balance that puts it out of their control. The nursing shortage is a big one. Healthcare reform might change the way you’re expected to perform in your job. Challenges are also seen in nurses from different generations. Older nurses might have different training or skill-sets which can lead to changes or conflict within teams.
When you’re looking for the things that are within your control, look inward. Think about the areas of your job that are demanding the most from you, and what the impact is. If you’re working nights and struggling to maintain a good sleep schedule, putting an emphasis on relaxing can help you feel more in control. If situations get overwhelming at work, don’t be afraid to take a break to ground yourself. If you struggle with perfectionism in your role, work on accepting that there are things you simply cannot change. You should still strive to do your best but work on being flexible and less hard on yourself.
Outside of work, make an effort to make time for your priorities and values. Take advantage of downtime and focus on your self-care. Nursing is demanding, so it’s important that you take time to exercise, eat healthily, and get enough sleep. This doesn’t mean you need to turn your routines upside down either, you can walk around the block, make an effort to eat one healthy meal, and take short naps. Even small steps can create progress in obtaining a better work-life balance.
For some nurses, their normal schedule might not be the right fit with their lives anymore. Whether they want to spend more time with their family or make more time for the things they care about, it can be difficult when you’re working three 12-hour shifts or more every week. Per diem shifts are one way where nurses can flip the schedule and choose the shifts they want, rather than accepting what’s been scheduled for them.
But going through a staffing agency can be complicated. You might struggle to find good opportunities, and when you do, you might not know where you’re going until the day of your shift, and you don’t know who you’re supposed to report to. With new technology like NurseDash, you can communicate directly with the facility you’re interested in to give you a full understanding of the shift you’ll be taking.
NurseDash is a healthcare marketplace where registered clinicians can search through local healthcare facilities in their area who are looking for individuals to pick up their open shifts. If you’re selected to work the shift you choose, you’ll be able to contact the administrator directly and get all the info you need right through the app.
With NurseDash, achieving a work-life balance is easier than ever. Interested in seeing what shifts are available near you? Sign up today to get started.