Burnout is common in pretty much every industry imaginable, but it is undoubtedly even more common among healthcare workers. On average, burnout rates in the healthcare industry range between 40% and 70% right now. Furthermore, as per professional dissatisfaction reports on Forbes, burnout is even a leading cause for many healthcare workers’ resignation. Of the nearly two million healthcare workers who have left their jobs, about 28% said they had quit because they felt overwhelmed and unable to find balance at work. Amongst this growing group of overworked healthcare workers, nurses are at the top of the list. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that many nurses long for a work-life balance in their professions. While achieving this also requires action from the powers that be, there are ways that nurses can directly encourage balance without compromising their professional or personal lives.
Pursue flexible work setups
Professional healthcare work is inarguably among the most demanding careers. However, for many nurses, this industry is their passion and not one they want to leave. Therefore, it may provide a happy medium for many nurses to instead pursue more flexible work setups instead. These include a role as a telehealth nurse practitioner which offers work-from-home opportunities. As noted in a post about remote nurse practitioner jobs on Wheel, such openings are much more workable because most posts don’t require availability during all operating hours. Aside from this, since remote positions are often available as full- or part-time positions, nurses who become a practitioner or work remotely can better control their schedules. This means that it’s much easier to make time for personal interests that can keep you inspired and happy.
Concentrate on a specialty
Nurses are among the most overworked healthcare workers because they oversee a huge scope of responsibility. This includes everything from patient care, to medical monitoring, to record-keeping. Frequently, this results in nurses feeling overburdened and unable to make room for other fulfilling pursuits. One way to remedy this is to choose a specialization instead. As Matt Walsh also suggested in a previous article on achieving your goals, choosing a specialty is also a great way to narrow down goals. This way, you can better set and achieve short- and long-term objectives (at work and at home) without spreading yourself too thin.
Maintain meaningful relationships
A survey on Frontiers showed that a growing number shared that they were feeling mentally taxed by their inability to find time for others. As a matter of fact, this is why many burned-out healthcare workers reported feeling isolated, anxious, and even depressed. This is why it’s of paramount importance for nurses to nurture meaningful relationships. Maintaining strong relationships provides not only a sense of connection but also a means to air out concerns. Because it’s increasingly difficult for many healthcare workers to find time outside of work to communicate with others, it’s helpful to explore digital channels as well. Online chat rooms and messenger apps make it easy to talk to people remotely while also discovering new interests. On top of this, there is also a multitude of online support groups for other nurses which may provide guidance for those looking for a holistic balance.
Adopt mindfulness practices
Sometimes nurses are so busy that any spare time is often spent alone. But rather than simply using these moments to brood or stay in silence, they can be made much more rewarding by practicing mindfulness exercises. Research about mindfulness among healthcare workers on PubMed further underscores that mindfulness interventions have beneficial effects. These include reducing instances of stress, depression, and burnout. Aside from this, mindfulness exercises have been shown to improve well-being and empathy. This is especially helpful among nurses and other healthcare professionals who are often made to feel cut-off or desensitized. Of the many mindfulness practices, one of the most effective and easy to do (even with a busy schedule) is meditation. Even a few minutes of meditation regularly can help nurses re-center, which can help them feel refreshed and re-motivated.
Though it’s easier said than done, finding balance as a nurse is essential for long-term fulfillment. With a well-rounded life, nurses can enjoy more private and professional achievements that don’t need them to give up their passions, their calling, or their wellness.