In the wake of a global pandemic and a serious shortage of professional nurses it can be difficult to find your footing. As an RN, LPN or CNA you’re in constant demand, probably more than a little stressed and definitely at risk for burnout. In fact that is one of the biggest reasons nurses leave their profession in these post-pandemic days.
In order to prevent burnout and keep doing the job you love and to which you feel called, it is essential that you find balance between your job and your life. Work-life balance isn’t always an easy thing to achieve. For many in the nursing profession it takes some time and practice to turn off your inner call button.
Creating Work-Life Balance Isn’t Always Easy
For those in nursing, work-life balance isn’t as easy as dividing your time and attention 50-50. You’ll end up not giving either side of your fence the proper attention and only add to your stress. Here we offer some suggestions specifically for professional nursing staff who want to find a solid foundation for work-life balance.
Steps to Help Manage Your Work-Life Balance as A Nurse
Your first step in finding work-life balance uses your finely honed skills as a nurse to examine your priorities and put them in order. If your patient were suffering from stress due to an imbalance between their work time and personal time you would probably warn them of the effect it might be having on their physical and emotional wellness and likely their relationships with family and friends. Turn that around and use that tactic on yourself. Here are some other ways your nursing knowledge and instincts can help you achieve a blissful work-life balance:
1. Manage Your Time: As a nurse time management is a crucial part of your day-to-day. Take a good look at how you spend your time in all areas of your life. Do you spend an inordinate amount of your free time online, catching up with the latest on social media? Take a break and go “off the grid” so to speak for just a few hours a day to practice a little self-care. Block out device free, unplugged time when you can reflect on your life, your goals and what you hope to achieve. If you must, set a reminder on your phone.
2. Create Your Plan: Create your personalized plan for achieving your goals. Start small. Maybe you could plan an after-dinner walk with the family or a game night with friends. Use small successes to build on bigger goals. Maybe weekly meet-ups with your friends, big family dinners or even a vacation. You’ll begin to feel more in balance and a little less-stressed.
3. Your Work Schedule: This is the big one, the one thing that influences your work-life balance the most, your work schedule. Most nurses in a healthcare facility setting opt for three 12-hour shifts per week. Sometimes there’s no other option and sometimes it’s because having four days “free” appeals to them.
But the reality is three 12 hour or more shifts per week are exhausting and night shifts are especially rough. You spend the better part of your off hours catching up on sleep or preparing for the next shift. That’s a recipe for burnout.
Instead of working three long shifts speak to your supervisor about your stress and how you feel you may be headed toward burnout or compassion fatigue. Believe us, they will do everything they can to work with you so you are happy and healthy when it comes to providing patient care.
4. Find A Support System: Nurses are all very good at taking care of others. You’re there to support your patient through physical care, encouragement and guidance. You need to make sure you have your own support and care team. Trusted friends, mentors and family members are a good start but a professional therapist or life coach may help you even more. Many healthcare organizations offer these services for their nursing staff. Check with your supervisor or your HR people to find out. A professional support system is very beneficial to your work-life balance.
We hope these suggestions help you in finding your work-life balance. For more on how you can better your nursing experience contact BOS Medical Staffing.