Becoming a nurse is like a jack-of-all-trades kind of job. You become a better person while making the world a better place. You play the role of a crucial healthcare provider within the system without actually being a Doc. Most nurses will tell you that every nursing job requires them to listen to patients carefully, be compassionate, and ground their caregiving instincts. These are all great personas for anyone, but especially for working nurses who are also parents.
A livelihood in nursing can be gratifying for anyone raising kids, but it does entail various obstacles. However, when you combine parenthood with the most demanding job on earth (being a nurse), you might call yourself the strongest Avenger.
It’s never easy being a parent trying to juggle family life and a full-time nursing job. Read on for tips on how you can get closer to reaching a remarkable work-life balance.
- Set your priorities from day-one
When you’re a nurse with kids, you have many lives depending on you – at work and home. It would be unfair to prioritize your kids over your patients or the other way around. You have to spend every waking moment catering to those who need you, including your kids’ emotional and physical needs.
It can be challenging because nurses are very busy. Things can get even more tedious if you plan to pursue higher education in the nursing field, which is crucial, of course. Luckily, an online education makes that bit easy to manage. Now, you can do an online MSN with the same amount of efficiency and up-skill. Indeed, a master’s in nursing gives you the upper hand to take on an advanced clinical role, meaning flexible working hours. Hence, you can effortlessly manage both: a life in the hospital and at home smoothly.
Now, coming back to our sheep, setting boundaries and priorities from the start. Be open when you discuss it with your supervisors and family members. You may not attend every recital or soccer practice for your kids, but you can commit to some. You can show your children your efforts to secure the best shifts for them. Co-workers, too, will seldom ask you to talk with them after work or swap shifts, and sometimes you should, but not when it’s your family’s turn to spend time with you.
- Don’t rely on your training entirely
Children can quickly get sick, and nurses have a unique ability to spot various symptoms right away. It’s an excellent gift you possess. However, keep in mind that sick children require frequent medical attention just like any other kid or patient. Being a parent who is a nurse can save you doctor visits if you don’t like the sound of that throat, but don’t always depend on your nursing experience. Health providers who aren’t family members can offer a more pragmatic assessment. Besides, it’s always better to consult a doctor, right? Doctors carry a license to prescribe medication and treatments; nurses don’t – unless they acquire significant higher education and licensure.
- Establish a routine
Establishing a routine can help nurses manage time. Yes, work routines are essential for the nurse, but family schedules are also something to consider. Some routine practices nurses can create include:
- Selecting school and work clothes for the week
- Meal preparation – packing lunches for the kids, yourself, and spouse the night before
- Having dinner and family time
- Creating a healthy bedtimeand morning routine
- Don’t hesitate to say “No.”
Nurses are so fond of multitasking that they might lean towards over-committing with their loved ones and work simultaneously. Whether it is signing up for fundraisers, extra shifts, or extracurricular events, sometimes it can all be devastating. The result isn’t pretty either — work fatigue, a lot of stress, mood swings, etc.
If you can, create personal and professional goals. If a commitment is not in place with your current plans, learn how to say “no” without feeling bad. If you can’t be there for a particular patient, let another nurse handle the case. Similarly, if you’re kids demand time than the designated amount in your routine, try explaining to them nicely that work is necessary too.
- Have a support system
Having a support system can also be helpful for nurses with kids. The nurse’s family, spouse (extended and immediate), and friends can all help with this as well. The thing is, nurses should not be afraid to acquire help from friends or family.
Furthermore, the support system helps reduce stress and pressure. Nurses can also include their children and spouse in household chores and involve them in setting schedules and tasks for the house. If the kids are big enough, you can even let them assist with trivial work-related tasks that do not expose them to the risk of infection.
- Find some time for yourself
That may sound impossible for any working parent, but it’s a necessary part of avoiding exhaustion. Your home and work life both require a lot of mental, emotional, and physical energy. If you keep giving and giving, eventually, that will leave you with nothing. Carving out a little “me time,” whether it’s 10 minutes with your cup of coffee or a matinee once a month, can enlighten you. Even consciously making your commute time your time can do you good. Try to ignore all of the thoughts about the things you’ll need to do as you begin rounds or get home and bestow that time to yourself.
Promoting a healthy relationship with your kids fits into the holistic nursing philosophy, regardless of what you are in the healthcare profession. At the end of it all, there’s no one-way approach to being a good parent and an excellent nurse at the same time. But no matter how you try to make both ends meet, know that you are doing two of the most challenging jobs ever – and you’re crushing them both!