Work-Life Balance for Healthcare Workers: Myth or Legend

My career in health care began as CNA 8 years ago, I later became an activity director, and now I am a BOM at a SNF. The thing is no matter which hat you wear in healthcare the burnout is very real and it hits very hard.

Here’s the thing, all healthcare facilities are short staffed, and the work load is intense. It’s a daily struggle to meet the needs of every patient/resident. Oh wait did you forget to eat lunch again? Yeah me too.

I run billing in my current position. Do you have any clue how much pressure they put on me? I thought an office job would be easier than working the floor. I was sadly mistaken. They are equally difficult in their own way.

How do you manage to unwind and reclaim your life when working insanely hectic 12 hour shifts? Well, that’s only if the next shift shows up on time. Let’s not forget being called in on our days off either. It sounds impossible right?

It’s not impossible. You can do it. You can actually have a life as a nurse… Did your jaw just drop? Don’t believe me? Well let’s get into those details.

5 Tips to maintaining work-life balance as a healthcare worker:

Learn to have fun while at work:

I know this can be difficult. Karen, the manager can be a real kill joy at times. No laughing, no talking, only pass meds.

Oh well though Karen, people need to live!

When I was a CNA I used to sing when I did round. Residents loved it! Some of them would dance with me, and sing along. It made it much less stressful and they loved me coming in their rooms.

I’ve seen nurses play music on their phones as well. I mean don’t be listening to Wiz Kalfia rapping about getting laid or anything. There’s nothing wrong with something work appropriate though. I play Pentatonix and Lindsey Stirling in my office all the time. It helps to alleviate stress.

Another thing is to actually take a lunch break. I don’t mean eat while charting either. I mean walk away from your hall, find a quiet place and eat your food. This one is crucial people!!! Listen to me, I’m a manager…

There are loads of other things you can do to make the work day less stressful. I may actually write an entire post just about that… Later on though.

Do not take work home with you:

Yes, I’m very serious. I’m not saying leave it at the time clock. Let’s face it, no one can actually do that.

However, you can use your trip home to let go of any frustration that’s plaguing you. Talk to God as you drive, call a friend, have a conversation about it with a stranger. I don’t care just let it go.

If you can let go of the work frustration before you get home I promise you it will be easier to go on with your day. You will sleep better, you won’t be bitching to your spouse about it, you will be able to enjoy the remainder of the day.

Learn to say no:

Yes Karen, I understand we’re short staffed. We’re always short staffed. I need my day for my own personal life. I am sorry, but I can’t work it.

Okay, maybe don’t say it like that. It’s still okay to say no though. I’m not saying abandon your shift. Just you don’t have to volunteer to work on your days off. Keep them as days off, you need it for your sanity.

This also applies to taking on extra duties. You should always help out when you can. However, if you are already behind and your about to lose it. It’s okay to say I’m sorry but I have X, Y, Z and every other letter of the alphabet going on right now. Could you possibly find someone else to handle that?

Put work calls on mute when you’re at home:

This one I learned the hard way. I was getting calls all hours of the night. There was always an issue with something.

That’s the thing though, the issues always exist. If you actually need your time off do not answer that can you come in call. You’re not obligated to answer your phone on your days off.

That is unless your a salaried DON, ADM, or something like that. If you hourly and not a manager you do not have to answer.

If it’s going to make you feel bad then put work numbers on silence, mute, ignore whatever your phone calls it when you are at home.

There’s no since having to feel bad, or feeling obligated to go in. It’s okay, I promise. We know when we call you that you don’t want to come in. We feel bad for having to call you. The thing is it’s part of our jobs, we can’t help it.

Plan some you time:

Having time just for yourself can reduce stress, increase your sense of self, relieve tension, and create happiness. I say this one because it’s so common for healthcare workers to be self sacrificing.

I mean helping others is our job. It’s what drives us.

You gotta help you though!

Go out with friends, have a nice dinner, watch that movie, get a massage, a pedicure, whatever floats your boat. Just go and do it. Take time for yourself. I promise it’s worth it.

Alright, there’s 5 things that can help to maintain Work-Life Balance for healthcare workers. Utilize this list and take your life back. Burn out doesn’t look good on anyone!

If you have any stories to share, tips that I didn’t cover, or you need to vent away your day comment below!

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