A proper work-life balance is essential for nurses to maintain their level of competency and job satisfaction. Without any time away from their job, nurses may jeopardize not only their own well-being but also the welfare of the patients in their care.
What Does Work-Life Balance in Nursing Mean?
A work-life balance means that you obtain professional and personal satisfaction. It is not about splitting your time equally between the two. That is impossible. Each day presents new challenges and commitments. Moreover, priorities shift according to your stage of life.
Why Is Work-Life Balance Important?
Overworked nurses are at risk for fatigue that can lead to burnout, which is common in nursing and is the result of chronic and excessive stress. Signs of burnout include exhaustion, poor performance and a disconnection from work duties.
What Are the Adverse Effects of Poor Work-Life Balance?
If nurses are overstressed or too tired to perform their nursing duties, they may become distracted, irritable and careless. This can lead to medical errors, miscommunication and disruptive behavior that can negatively affect patient outcomes and damage work relationships with other nurses, healthcare professionals and staff members.
What Are 5 Tips For Achieving Work-Life Balance?
No matter what difficulties nurses face at work or home, they must practice self-care. Here are five self-care tips nurses can use to achieve a work-life balance.
- Take a break.
Yes, you need breaks to use the bathroom, eat and hydrate. But you also may need those precious seconds to do some deep breathing, quick mediation or walking to relieve tension or gain clarity about the tasks you have to complete.
- Address your habits.
Make a conscious effort to start eating heathier meals and snacks so you can keep fit and boost your immune system.
Nurses who have to sleep during the day should invest in light- and sound-blocking curtains. And, you need to stay off the computer before going to bed because light from electronic devices can inhibit the body's production of melatonin, delaying sleep.
In addition, nurses should exercise to increase their stamina. Physical activity improves blood flow and releases endorphins that can raise your energy level.
- Practice effective time management.
Setting boundaries can help you manage your time. Ask your family members to help by pitching in with household responsibilities. Eliminate time sinks by learning to say "no" to unnecessary meetings or functions. As for patients, zero in on their needs, deliver care, convey empathy and be friendly while limiting irrelevant communication.
- Use technology.
- Do things you enjoy.
Discover a passion that brings you joy outside of work. It may be a hobby like reading, gardening, hiking, volunteering or traveling. Or, you may want to spend your free time doing family-related activities.
Nurses need to decompress from the rigors of nursing by allowing themselves to have moments when they can step away from the pressure of work. They should try to put aside thoughts and worries about patients when they are at home so they can concentrate on family obligations or indulge in fun and relaxing pastimes. This enables them to recharge mentally, emotionally and physically so they can provide safe, quality patient care.
Learn more about St. Thomas University's online RN to BSN program.
Sources:RNnetwork: Seven Ways Nurses Can Have a Better Work/Life Balance
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