How to manage your life as a nurse

28 October 2021 By Michael Bowyer

​Achieving a healthy work-life balance is something that we all strive for, and is even more important for nurses who are so used to putting their patients’ needs first. Whether it’s the long shifts, high-paced environment, or lack of routine, neglecting your own physical and mental wellbeing can be easily done. It's important to remember that high levels of stress coupled with a poor work-life balance can lead to burnout, so it’s important you take the necessary steps to prioritise self-care so that you can continue to love what you do best!

Why is it important to maintain a healthy work-life balance in nursing?

It’s no secret that the past 18 months have been a challenge for those working in healthcare and taking time to rest and recharge before a full day at work is just as important as turning up for your shift. A certain amount of pressure at work can be good, helping you to perform at your best and feel energised and ready to meet new challenges head on. Though tip the balance slightly the other way, you can start to lose focus.

According to survey by Nursing Times, who looked to provide a snapshot of the current state of nurse mental health:

  • 33% described their mental health as ‘bad’ or ‘very bad’

  • 87% of respondents rated themselves either ‘a lot’ or ‘a little’ more stressed at work than usual

  • 90% said they were ‘a lot’ more anxious or stressed than usual

There’s no doubt that the period we’re in is unique, making it more important than ever to pay attention to your wellbeing and ensure there is balance in your life.

What factors at work adversely affect nurse life?

Nursing can be hectic at the best of times, but we know that by choosing to work in healthcare you thrive on a fast-paced, challenging and rewarding career. There’s nothing more satisfying than issuing exceptional patient care throughout your shift and truly making a difference to the lives of others. Though like any other job role, there can be ups and downs and hurdles to overcome that may have a negative impact on your wellbeing, such as:

  • Understaffing

  • Shift work

  • Complicated tech

  • Minimal resources

  • No breaks or downtime

  • Irregular routines

As a nurse, you may be thinking that you simply don’t have the time or the energy to focus on maintaining a good work-life balance. There are, however, some simple nurse-life hacks that you can incorporate into your day-to-day routine that will enhance your wellbeing and have a positive impact on your health (both physical and mental).

We’ve put together a useful guide detailing some tips on how to practice a healthy nurse life routine.

How to lead a positive and fulfilling life as a nurse

It’s no secret that you have a lot to juggle as a nurse and to ensure you are always performing at your best, take a look at some useful and easy to incorporate methods below.

Build effective time management

Managing your time when on a shift can be one of the most challenging hurdles to overcome, though determining the most productive way of working for you will allow you to complete tasks in a timely manner. Try arriving at your shift 15 minutes early to prepare yourself for the day ahead and be sure to schedule your breaks!

Invest in self care

Don’t forget to treat yourself! Plan a shopping trip or a meal out with friends and family to ensure you are making the most out of your free time.

Make time for exercise

After a busy day on the ward, exercise may be the last thing on your mind. Though physical wellbeing can massively improve your work-life balance and going to the gym or for a run will help boost your mood and help you switch off.

Have downtime

Try leave your work behind you and unwind after each shift, whether that’s achieved through getting stuck into a new series or spending time on your favourite hobby. Don’t be afraid to put your feet up!

Ask for help

If you find that your responsibilities at work have become overwhelming, leaving little time for you to get away from work, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Liaise with your colleagues and revaluate your role and if any additional support can be provided.

Find a role that suits you

Your priority should be finding a role that suits you, whether that’s part time or full time, agency work, out of hours or back-to-back roles, so that you can feel in control over your nursing career and continue to provide exceptional care to your patients.

When it comes to looking for your next nursing opportunity, we’ve got you covered.

We can ensure you are always able to provide the best care possible by sourcing short and long-term assignments, out of hours, or back-to-back roles. Our specialist consultants take the time to get to know you, your skills, and your long-term career goals so we can find assignments to suit you and are always on hand to help you with onboarding and compliance support.

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