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Work-life Balance in a Nursing Career

Nicole Kraut

RN

Most people understand that stress is a normal part of everyday life. We have all experienced stress at school, with family, and especially at work.

Stress is a Significant Component of Healthcare Careers

Anyone who has chosen a career in healthcare can speak to the amount of stress they experience on a daily basis. Stress levels are generally high in any area of the hospital, as patients typically do not seek out healthcare when they are well. Nurses, especially, are continuously coping with sickness and death. In addition, as I have mentioned in previous posts, nurses truly care for their patients as if they were their own loved ones. Nurses are truly devoted to their patients, and it is not likely that nurses forget about their patients as soon as they clock out.

Burnout is a Concern

Due to the increased and ongoing amounts of physical and mental stress nurses experience, nurse burnout is a real concern. Burnout results in frustration, fatigue, disengagement, and a loss of passion for nursing. Burnout can also cause physical illness and emotional distress, which can lead to conflict in both work and personal relationships.

In order to reduce the risk of burnout, it is crucial that nurses develop a healthy means of balancing their work and personal lives.

The Importance of Decompression

Allowing for a period of decompression is a vital component of achieving a healthy work-life balance. Spending time with friends and coworkers who have similar work experiences is a great way to relieve some of the work-related stress that nurses experience.

Going out to eat after a shift ends is a popular stress reliever with nurses. Spending time with co-workers, away from work, helps provide relief from any tension or anxiety experienced during the shift that may be lingering.  Relieving these emotions allows for nurses to then focus their attention and energy on their personal lives once they arrive at home.

Adopting a “me first” mentality can be a useful method of reducing stress and focusing on one’s personal life. Nurses are notoriously selfless, which can easily lead a nurse to feel like he or she is on the job 24/7. Taking time each day to do something enjoyable allows nurses to feel refreshed and revitalized, allowing them to then focus on their personal lives.

It can be increasingly challenging for anyone to balance their work and personal life. Nurses can have an especially difficult time balancing work and personal life because of the increased amount of physical and emotional stress that nurses experience. Taking time to decompress after a shift and remembering to prioritize their own needs are necessary to developing a healthy work-life balance.

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About the Author

Nicole Kraut is a nurse working in Chicago, Illinois, who writes for us regularly about her experiences as an early-to-mid career nurse. She has been a RN for over five years.

Nicole graduated with her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Loyola University Chicago and recently obtained a Master of Science in Nursing with an Emphasis in Nursing Education from Grand Canyon University. She “was inspired to become a nurse because I wanted to work in a career field in which I could make a difference in people’s lives on a daily basis. I feel nursing is my vocation and am passionate about sharing my knowledge and experience in order to positively influence others.”

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