Because health care is such an important and occasionally unpredictable field, it can be difficult for people with a career in nursing to balance work and life. While it's certainly important to be devoted to your career - after all, you went into nursing for a reason - finding balance will help you be a happier, healthier nurse, and that will improve your patient care.
Create a schedule
Sometimes stress resulting from the difficulties of balancing work and life doesn't result from working too much, it comes from not staying organized and sticking to a schedule. It can be easy to get off track and forget to give yourself some leisure time, so write it down! Creating designated times of the day to go for a run, catch your kid's soccer game or explore your love of cooking will help you relax when you get home from a long shift. It may seem like there simply aren't enough hours in the day to do everything you want to do, but creating a schedule can help you find some wiggle room.
Have active down-time
After a long day at the hospital, do you find yourself watching TV and surfing the web, only to discover that you haven't been able to decompress at all? Leisure activities during your downtime should stimulate your brain, not turn it off. Consider going for a walk around your neighborhood for a bit of an endorphin rush, or meeting friends at a local cafe. The more active you are during the hours you're off the clock, the happier you'll be.
Share the load
Balancing work and life is a team effort, so don't feel like you have to go at it alone. If you find yourself constantly taking work home, talk to your supervisor about delegating some of your responsibilities. Don't put pressure on yourself to "do it all" - eventually you'll find that you're simply burnt out. Figure out how much of yourself you are capable of giving to work or home, and stick to it. Setting boundaries will help you stay sane.
Western Governors University is a nonprofit, accredited, online university. WGU offers online RN to BSN, BSN to MSN, and RN to MSN degree programs to working nurses who already have a current RN license. Find out more about WGU's College of Health Professions!