Nurses are the unsung heroes of modern society. Time and time again they have stepped up and played their role side by side with doctors. Just think of their services during the Covid-19 pandemic. They are always the front-end warriors in healthcare, putting their own lives and health at stake to help others. Therefore, it is natural to feel burnt out as a nurse. Not only are they compromising their own well-being by being exposed to germs of all kinds 24/7, but they also have to come to work for extensive hours.
It is frustrating and exhausting and impacts your mood and morale, but the worst thing about being burnt out is the loss of passion. What will happen if nurses start losing passion for their jobs? They will quit, obviously. In order to avoid that from happening, nurses need to strive for a work-life balance so as to keep enough energy and willingness to continue their jobs.
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Tips to achieve work-life balance in nursing careers
It is okay to feel a bit all over the place as a nurse. The job is very demanding, and you are trying your best. Maybe what you should be working for is balance in order to stay sane. Here are a few things you can do to make life bearable.
Make a List of Priorities
You need to know the things that matter the most to you. Aside from work, what are the things that you must do? If you have a family, you might want to set aside some part of the day just for them, such as having a cup of coffee in the morning together or reading bedtime stories to your kids before they sleep, etc. If you value exercise, then you must keep at least 30 minutes aside to work out every day or at least a few times a week. If you want to take up additional courses, make sure you prioritize your hours in a way that allows you to study as well. Nurses have enough responsibility as is, so it is always better to have things set out.
Work from home
There are nursing jobs that can be done from home. If you are finding it too difficult to keep up with some personal stuff, you can always choose to shift your working style. If you feel like working from home isn’t a good fit, you can always go back into the field.
Often when we are working on building careers for ourselves, we forget that we have the right to say no every now and then. If you are giving your required time to work, you are completing your daily tasks, and you are there when you are needed, you’re allowed to have your time off to yourself. Learn how to politely reinforce these boundaries when your supervisor rings you up asking for favors.
You must make sure to consume a very healthy diet, so you have the energy to keep up with nursing. Other than the food, make sure you do things for yourself that are good for you, such as getting a full 8 hours of sleep or watching a nice movie every now and then. Your job is very stressful, so you need to invest in looking after yourself to avoid burnout. Worklife balance is key for nurses, and universities and training providers are now ensuring that students are taught to look after themselves – as without their own health, they aren’t best prepared to help care for others.
Make friends at work
It is so important to be friends with people you work with because the support system you get here is unlike any other. These people understand firsthand just what it is that you go through every day. So, if you don’t get the chance to hang out very frequently and socialize with others, go out with your work buddies when you have breaks or when your shifts end so that you get the best of both worlds,: a reliable group of people at work and a fun time out with friends.
Choose your shifts
Nurses are allowed to choose their shifts in most cases. Depending on your lifestyle and your commitments, choose the timing that best suits you. If you want to be home during the day to be able to see your family, then work nights. If you prefer being home at nighttime because you would rather use that time to decompress and go back energized the next day, do that. Choose your schedule so that you don’t feel like your life is only work.
Work For a hospital with a big staff
Often nurses are forced to give more hours because so many places are understaffed. If achieving a work-life balance is something you are dead set on, look for hospitals where you know there are plenty of nurses who can cover shifts, so you won’t have to move mountains. It is easier said than done, though. Be sure not to quit your current job until you land the perfect one.
Depending on the policy of your hospital, use all the paid work leaves you can get. I don’t mean to encourage the practice of just bunking work, but if you do have a number of days that you can use, then don’t be a goody-two-shoes and use those days. Be careful not to finish all of them, though, because you never know when there might be an emergency.
You must know that in order to do what you do best, you have to be your best-kept version. While that may not be perfect, it still has to be a version where you have enough to give. So, strive to find the perfect balance between your job and your own health and peace. You don’t have to give everything up to be a good nurse. There will be days when work will require most of your attention but make sure to find days when you can take some time off.