As you begin your nursing career, you will have many exciting prospects ahead of you. Working your first nightshift, applying your nursing school learnings, and helping others in need account for great experiences. At the same time, nurses also have to forgo breaks, put in lengthy shifts, and work irregular hours due to the nature of their job. Therefore, it may be difficult to strike a good work-life balance, which could lead to serious repercussions in the long run. Fret not! We have gathered some amazing ideas to help you find that much-needed healthy work-life balance:
Develop Time Management Skills
The fast-paced nature of the nursing profession is a tell-tale factor contributing to a poor work-life balance. Nurses have to juggle several responsibilities simultaneously to ensure top-notch patient care. As a result, these forefront healthcare professionals often end up working longer than they need to or more intensively than they should. That is where time management can help you!
One way to stay on top of time management is to arrive about 10-15 minutes early for your shift. That way, you can get things lined up for the day and get off to a good start by finishing handovers, reviewing patient charts, or performing other minor tasks before your shift officially begins. If you are enrolled in any of the online BSN to DNP programs, you may utilize this time to prepare for the lecture. Be sure to prioritize the time-sensitive tasks in your detailed plan and then work on the other tasks around these fixed deadlines.
While prioritizing tasks, do not forget to be flexible. The unpredictable nature of nursing necessitates adaptability in the face of sudden deteriorations, fatalities, and admissions. Make sure to leave some wiggle room in your schedule for unplanned events like physician visits, inquiries from concerned family members, or the absence of a nurse colleague.
Focus on Your Health
As a nurse, you are likely more concerned about others than yourself. But it is important to prioritize investing in your own well-being to achieve a healthy work-life balance. After all, if you are not feeling well, how can you properly fulfill your obligations at work? So plan out how you would like to take care of your mental and physical health, and then follow that plan.
Typically, nurses get brief breaks between shifts. When they finally arrive home, they are too worn out to prepare anything to eat. Consequently, most of them resort to eating unhealthy takeout or leftovers. To deal with this issue, you should leverage the concept of meal prepping. This means you will not have to cook a full dinner or munch on unhealthy processed food items the next time you come home.
Aside from a healthy diet, regular exercise is another way to keep your body and mind in optimum shape. Do not think you need to commit complete two hours of your day to a fitness class to accomplish this goal. Exercising for about 15-30 minutes first thing in the morning is all that is needed.
Narrow Down Your Life’s Purpose
Many people consider nursing to be their “calling.” But when this calling begins to impact other facets of your life, it might be difficult to maintain a balance. You are not just a nurse. You might also be a parent, spouse, friend, etc. Having a clearer vision of your life’s mission will enable you to determine your nursing career. By figuring out what you value most, you can select a specialty within nursing that will help you achieve that goal and eventually pave the way for the right work-life balance.
A mother with young children, for instance, may realize she needs to spend more time at home. For this particular nurse, achieving a healthy work-life balance may require selecting a specific work environment, such as working in an outpatient clinic. This job will provide a more family-friendly schedule than working in an emergency room on night shifts. Or maybe you have a heart for helping out underprivileged communities. In that case, urban healthcare and travel nursing jobs might be the right fit for you.
Try asking yourself, “Who do I aspire to be?” Thinking deeply about this question and discussing it with reliable friends and role models might help you determine the best path to fulfilling your deepest aspirations.
Say “No” More Often
Setting limits sometimes involves saying “no,” which can leave you feeling selfish or guilty. However, doing so is virtually inevitable for achieving a healthy work-life balance in the nursing profession. Saying “yes” to everyone and everything could lead to increased stress levels. Therefore, it makes sense just to say “no” when you need to and not beat yourself up over it later.
It bears worth mentioning that you should always say no clearly and directly. This will likely get you a better response. If you are not completely confident in your choice to decline, it may be more difficult for other people to appreciate your decision. So when it comes to saying no, always strive for simplicity and clarity.
Acknowledge That You Cannot Change Everything
There are job-related issues in every sector that employees wish they could change. Sometimes you have the power to fix them, and sometimes you do not. This is also true in the field of nursing as well. When we try to ignore a frustrating reality, it simply becomes worse, but when we accept it, we feel better about the situation. So it would be best if you accepted that things are never going to be perfect. If you find yourself getting overwhelmed easily, try setting aside time during the day to just sit back, breathe deeply, and refocus.
By 2030, it is anticipated that the demand for nurses will rise by about 10%. Even if statistics show that there will be an abundance of jobs in the nursing field, this does not change the fact that nurses work in an environment that can cause tremendous stress and emotional exhaustion. Fortunately for nurses, if they follow the principles outlined in the article, they can maintain a healthy work-life balance.