We all know that nursing is difficult. Arguably, it’s one of the most stressful and underpaid roles in the health industry. You’re required to dedicate years of your life and soul to the training process, and that’s before you reap the rewards of the pay scale. You will sacrifice your social life and spend long hours around the sick. You need to be compassionate and care about other people’s issues even when you’re in personal turmoil. You will see families grieving loss and you will see them rejoicing recovery. You get to benefit from knowing that you’ve helped save lives and made a positive impact. However, the job takes a toll on your life and if you’re not careful you can find yourself seriously ill. Therefore, it’s essential to understand how to achieve a healthy work-life balance – we explore below.
What Is An FNP?
A family nurse practitioner (FNP) is an expert registered nurse who takes on responsibilities similar to a regular nurse practitioner (NP). The primary difference between the two roles is that an FNP will specialize in family medicine. The perk of becoming an FNP over other NPs is that you can focus on a broad spectrum of ages. You may need to diagnose an elderly grandparent or provide care for a sick infant.
Your daily tasks will be largely similar and include physical examinations and routine checkups, creating care plans, and prescribing medication as required. As the FNP, you are in a position of management and will need to learn the art of delegation.
If this sounds like something you are interested in, you can learn how about becoming an FNP in Oklahoma at the Texas Woman’s University. Just because you choose to become a family nurse practitioner, it doesn’t mean you are anchored to working in a family clinic – you can specialize anywhere you desire.
The Importance of a Work-Life Balance
There’s no single definition of a work-life balance because it will be different for everyone. For example, if you don’t have much family left and don’t want to start a family, your work-life balance will be grounded in work. However, if you have a family and the demands are high there, you will need to work out a way to balancing the scales. If the balance of work and life is out of sync, you can find yourself with high levels of stress and potential burnout, which is common amongst nurses.
If you struggle with a work-life balance and feel you need support in taking control, you’ve come to the right place. Despite a busy and chaotic job, it is possible to achieve a healthy balance.
Look After Your Emotional Health
You spend your whole life taking care of the needs of others, so you clearly understand what emotional support is. However, you likely don’t know how to support yourself. If this sounds like you, you need to take steps to strengthen your mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing. Once you are filled with more positive energy, you can use that to project onto your patients – they will benefit from the difference.
You need to create stick guidelines and stick to them. For example, if you finish work at 10 pm, make sure that you leave on time. Part of this will involve learning how to say no to extra work. When you are on your way home from work, listen to a podcast or do something relaxing to help wash the stress of the day away.
If you’ve had a particularly difficult day, you will need to develop a process of releasing negative feelings. You could start keeping a journal and process your thoughts this way. Alternatively, you can build a relationship with someone outside of the nursing profession that you can unload on. Further, if all else fails, there is no shame in talking to a counselor to get the support you need.
Guarding your emotional needs will greatly improve your work-life balance because you won’t be taking the stresses of work home with you.
Work Exercise Into Your Routine
Exercise is a proven way of adding positivity to your life. With the stress of the job, nurses are prone to feelings of depression and anxiety. Through the power of regular exercise, you can flood your brains with endorphins and overcome these feelings. However, you need to note that you should pair exercise with other strategies including talking therapy.
If you’re stuck working back-to-back 12-hour shifts and can’t think of ways to squeeze exercise in, consider altering your route to work. If you drive to work at the moment, you should consider getting yourself a bike and cycling. With a bike, you are getting exercise in as well as avoiding the predictable stand-still rush hour traffic.
Accept The Uncontrollable
There are some things in life that you can’t change, and you need to learn that if you want to have a healthy work-life balance. If you spend too much time stressing over the uncontrollable, you’re wasting time on managing things you can’t bend to your will.
Your stress is part of the job and there’s no way you can avoid it. Instead of ignoring it and hoping it goes away, you should accept that it’s there and acknowledge it. You don’t have to let stress run your life; you can help disperse it. To do this, you can write down everything that you wish you could control but can’t. Then, you can create effective ways of dealing with those things.
On the flip side, you need to make the most of the things that you can change. If you keep on taking more work but feel burnt out, this is something you can control. All you need to do is say no to the extra work and feel okay with taking a minute to yourself.
Don’t Let Conflict Fester
Whether it’s an argument at work or tensions rising at home, you can’t be on top of your nursing game if you have unresolved conflicts hanging over you. The best way to eliminate the burden of conflict is to practice immediate conversations. Sometimes, you will need to suck it up and apologize first despite not being in the wrong. If you let conflicts drag on at work, it can impact your professional and your teamwork abilities. Anything that hinders your ability to carry outpatient care is a hazard to public health.
Sorting out issues straight away is easier said than done and will sometimes require a little help. If you’re at work and are in conflict, you can speak to your manager about how to resolve it. Alternatively, if the issue is at home, you can use mediation to try and reach a solution. Unfortunately, no matter how hard you try, there will be some conflicts you can’t control. In this circumstance, you need to learn how to walk away.
Learning how to end conflict straightaway isn’t an easy task but will greatly benefit your nursing quality.
Arrange Time Off To Reset
Resetting your mind and body is a great way to add balance to the scales. You are entitled to holiday time throughout the year, so make sure you use it. Plan time off to get away from life – leave the country and your work along with it. For best results, don’t take your work phone on holiday with you – use an answering machine.
The same goes for break times at work. You are entitled to take time off during your arduous shifts, so make sure you take it. You can use this time to go for a walk and get outside of the nursing environment for just a short while. Make sure that you eat a healthy snack, otherwise, you’ll have no physical energy, which could impact your mental capacity.
Practice Better Time Management
Time management is one of the most important skills when it comes to having a healthy work-life balance. When you’re working long hours and have to balance that with seeing friends, being present with your family, and trying to exercise it can become overwhelming. This is why you need to start getting into a routine and planning your time better.
When you create a plan for your time, you need to make sure you’ve packed everything in there. However, there is a fine line between too many commitments and not enough. Leave some space in the plan for your time and space in the calendar for unplanned events.
A career as an FNP will be fruitful and enjoyable. However, you need to know how to look after yourself and achieve that work-life balance. Before you start creating plans and jumping into tactics, you need to decide what’s important for you. Then, you can work out tactics to help. As a general rule, you need to build better time management, learn how to say no, take time out for yourself, and accept that your job is stressful and you can’t change that. If you get stuck, make sure you speak to a professional.