Healthcare is a strenuous field. Many in the industry find that while the work is fulfilling, it’s often taxing to the point of highstress levels, widespread employee dissatisfaction and frequent burnout. Additionally, the healthcare environment has become increasingly understaffed and demanding in recent years, which is pushing employees closer to the brink.
Because of this, taking steps to maintain a healthy work-life balance is crucial for people in all manner of healthcare positions — not just for themselves and their families, but for their patients as well.
Below, we’ll go over the importance of work-life balance as a healthcare professional as well as a few tips on getting started.
Reasons Why Finding Balance Matters
Compromised patient care quality
With all the demands on healthcare workers, remaining kind, compassionate and thorough when caring for patientscan be difficult. This, in turn, can negatively impact the quality of patient care. In fact, studies on the topic revealed the rate of patient safety issues can increase with higher rates of provider burnout. It can also impact patient outcomes as stressed physicians, nurses and other care providers deliver potentially substandard care.
Weakened personal health
Overworking and other conditions leading to stress can affect mental and physical health. For healthcare professionals, this means putting their well-being in jeopardy as their immunity may be compromised. In other words, burnt-out staff members need to look after their own health so that they may look after those in their care effectively.
Relationships may suffer
Another important consideration is the effect burnout can have on relationships. As people become physically, emotionallyand mentally exhausted due to workplace conditions, it can impair their ability to maintain healthy relationships in their personal lives. Such connections are critical for happy home life, and, therefore, mental and emotional well-being.
Tips On Achieving Work-Life Balance
One route to improving work-life balance is to set healthy boundaries at work as well as at home. For instance, by limiting time spent answering emails or completing other work-related tasks when at home helps you disconnect. Restrictions such as this can make it easier to relax and recharge when off the clock.
Another example of setting boundaries is learning to say no. This pertains to overextending yourself at work by covering shifts or leading a new project as well as in your personal life by stepping back from time-consuming commitments. While saying no isn’t always easy, it can make a big difference in avoiding burnout.
Advocate for change at work
Although issues in healthcare are far-reaching, there are feasible solutions. If understaffing or other problems surrounding staff are interfering with productivity, communicate it to higher-ups by asking for help or otherwise encouraging change. A great way to make work more manageable when shorthanded is to hire out certain tasks or fill gaps with interim healthcare positions. From nurses to hospital executives, these services help alleviate workloads and lessen the burden on overextended staff members.
Make time for you
Last, but not least, it’s vital to prioritize your well-being by taking breaks and pursuing healthy outlets. This could be using your vacation time to fully unplug from work and spend time with loved ones. It could also mean setting aside time routinely for exercise or stress-relieving practices, such as meditation or yoga. Along the same lines is getting enough sleep throughout the week.
While the long hours and busy pace of work make it difficult, practicing self-care is essential for your overall health and career longevity. After all, being in the business of saving lives is overwhelming. Be sure to take care of you so that you’re ready to take care of others.