A Guide to a Greater Work-Life Balance in Healthcare


Hospitals and clinics depend on hard-working, dedicated healthcare professionals to care for patients to the highest standard. Yet, long shifts, significant pressure, and a fast-paced environment can take a toll on a person’s physical and mental health, leading to burnout and dissatisfaction. What’s more, the demands can make it feel impossible to build theirs on education and secure senior positions. 

However, you will be happy to learn it is possible to manage the pressures of the job alongside self-care, a personal life, and career advancement. Read this guide to a greater work-life balance in healthcare.

Find Purpose in Your Career

Most people enter healthcare to care for patients each day by improving their health and helping them recover from various illnesses or injuries. Yet, long working hours and many demands can cause a practitioner to lose sight of their purpose.

If you struggle with low morale during the working day, try to remind yourself why you entered the profession. For example, read thank you cards from past patients or call patients to check-up on their recovery. The passion and joy will come flooding back to you, which could help you fall back in love with your career.

Improve Time Management

Your work-life balance will be determined by your time management skills. Your goal must be to avoid wasting one second of the working day, which can improve patient care and ensure you return home to your family on schedule.

For example, physicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals should:

  • Organize a huddle to discuss patients before clinical hours
  • Create clinic checklists
  • Prep electronic health record templates in advance

Also, improve organization and efficiency in your personal life by batch-cooking meals, assigning household chores to family members, outsourcing cleaning tasks, and prepping for work the night (or day) before a shift.

Prioritize

Healthcare professionals don’t need to choose between a flourishing career and a happy family life. For example, you can prioritize your family or career advancement by switching to part-time hours. It will allow you to reduce your workload to spend more quality time with your family or expand your education. It can prevent parent guilt during working hours, too, which will allow you to focus 100% of your attention on improving the patient experience.

Graduate from a Flexible Online Program

Building on your education alongside a healthcare career doesn’t need to be difficult. An online program can provide ambitious professionals with the flexibility to complete their desired course at a time and pace that suits their career and family life. 

Options are available for almost every profession. For example, you can complete an online MSN-FNP program at Carson-Newman, which is delivered 100% online and offers stress-free clinical placements. The right online course can grow your skills, qualifications, and confidence, which can help you become a stronger asset in the healthcare sector.

Stop Wasting Your Spare Time

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to a work-life balance. Your stress levels are determined by your personality, coping mechanisms, and attitude toward self-care. To find a perfect balance between a happy family life and a thriving career, you must put your wants and needs at the forefront.

Don’t spend your spare time completing household chores or running errands if you feel tired and stressed after a long shift. Instead, use your free time to watch your favorite TV show, read a good book, take a nap, or spend quality time with loved ones. Dirty dishes can wait, online stores can deliver a product to your address, and you can make your bed the next day. Give yourself a much-needed break to relax, de-stress, and lift your mood.

Fatigue and burnout are common issues that affect various healthcare professionals, but they don’t need to be inevitable. Preventative tactics can prevent exhaustion, stress, and a low mood. Find ways to add more relaxation and joy into your life, such as exercising, enjoying a good night’s rest, finding a hobby, or taking a much-needed vacation with your loved ones. It will make you feel happier, healthier, and more energetic each day.

Ask Others for Help

There is no shame in asking for help if you feel overworked, stressed, or low. Talk to your supervisor to inform them how you are feeling, as they could reduce your shifts, adjust your responsibilities, or find ways to alleviate the cause of your stress.

Also, you must talk to your loved ones to ask if they can provide greater support. For example, split household chores with your partner down the middle or ask your parents if they could care for your children while you are at work. A short conversation with your boss or a loved one could make a dramatic difference to your working life, which could help you feel more in control of your busy schedule.

Start Saying No to Requests

Many nurses, doctors, medical assistants, and other healthcare professionals will face many pressures in their jobs each day, such as caring for multiple patients, organizing paperwork, and improving infection control. Yet, many can face additional pressure in the roles, such as covering shifts for colleagues, supervising students, or leading group projects. Therefore, if you struggle to say no to requests, you must stop being a people pleaser and start focusing on your wants and needs. 

While helping others might feel inherent, it can cause you to put your own health and wellbeing on the backburner. Stop sacrificing your physical and mental health and start saying no to off-the-cuff requests. It doesn’t matter if you have a social event to attend or an evening on the sofa to enjoy; you have every right to say no to a sudden request. It could support your general health and passion for the industry.

Stop Placing Pressure on Yourself

Nurses, physicians, and other healthcare practitioners strive to deliver the highest standard of patient care. As a result, they might believe they need to go above and beyond in their roles, which might mean arriving early or staying late. However, placing too much pressure on your shoulders can cause you to burn out or develop a mental health disorder.

As you know, stress can cause a variety of mental and physical health issues, such as depression, headaches, obesity, heart disease, and even an ulcer. Stop placing pressure on yourself and start leaving the workplace on schedule when possible. If you struggle with burnout or a mental health condition, you will need to take time off work to recover, which will prevent you from caring for patients altogether.

Switch to Another Role

A work-life balance can mean different things to healthcare practitioners at different stages of their life. For example, young physicians and nurses might have once enjoyed a work-life balance that tipped more toward their career but allowed them to enjoy a healthy social life or travel. Yet, once they start raising a family, they might want to tip the balance toward spending quality time with their children.

For this reason, you shouldn’t rule out changing healthcare settings to match your needs. For example, you could transition from a private practice career to a senior position in a public hospital or vice versa. It could provide more time to focus on your loved ones, and the improved work-life balance could help you maintain a passion for your field.

Find the Right Environment for You

Your working environment can shape your quality of life. For example, if people often compete with you in the workplace, don’t lend a helping hand when necessary, or appear incompetent, you might need to work harder than necessary each day.

If you can’t trust your colleagues or teamwork is non-existent, look for an employer that provides a more supportive setting. While moving to another hospital or clinic might feel like a sideways step, it could lead to a positive working life, which will improve your general happiness and home life. 

Look for a position that offers fantastic flexibility, a supportive environment and allows you to take greater control of your busy schedule. In addition, it could increase your job satisfaction, which can lead to a better performance and greater career aspirations.

Summary

A healthcare career can provide many benefits, which few fields cannot rival. For example, it offers exceptional job security, rewarding salaries, much job satisfaction, and many career paths.

Despite its many advantages, you might want to find a better balance between work and your personal life. Yet, it is possible to raise a family and enjoy an active social life alongside a career in medicine. 

Transform your quality of life by improving your time management skills, asking others for help when needed, saying no to sudden requests, and switching to a more positive environment. Plus, you shouldn’t allow a demanding job to stand in the way of your professional goals or self-care. An online degree program can advance your skills to help you enter a senior healthcare position, while a vacation and some pampering could lower your daily stress levels.


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