Nurses are some of the most hardworking and dedicated people in our society. They work long hours, often putting their own needs second for the sake of others. It’s no wonder they sometimes get burnt out or need to take time off. But can nurses work a 9-5 schedule? The answer is yes!
Nurses can work a regular 9-5 schedule. In recent years, as the healthcare community has become more aware of the need to reduce nurses’ job stress and increase their abilities to take care of themselves, many hospitals have been encouraging their employees to return home at a reasonable hour rather than burning themselves out with hours that were once considered standard for medical professionals.
Many nurses now work a typical Monday through Friday office look, with a total number of 40 working hours per week. At some facilities, this was all it took to be considered full-time! Of course, if you’re looking for extra shifts or additional side jobs, nothing is stopping you from working beyond your typical 9-5 schedule. But your primary position should not require so many hours that you don’t have time to eat or sleep.
Nurse Burnout and Overtime
There’s a reason nurses are notorious for working long hours: they’re dedicated, hardworking folks who want to make a difference in the lives of their patients. But sometimes this means they work too much! When nurses suffer from burnout, it puts patients at risk because it detracts from the nurse’s abilities to carry out his/her professional responsibilities.
Not only that, but when nurses work excessive overtime, this can lead to medical errors and ultimately increase the cost of healthcare. So one-way hospitals try to reduce this risk is by encouraging their employees to take advantage of flexible scheduling options and other resources intended to keep nurse stress down.
The Importance of Work-Life Balance for Nurses
Nurses are not machines; they’re human beings. That’s why it’s so important that hospitals institute policies that encourage their employees to take care of themselves. A healthy nurse is a better nurse!
Here are some ways employers can help ensure that nurses have adequate time at home:
Paid time off – Allowing your employees paid vacation and sick leave sends the message you care about their health and wellbeing. If they need an extended break or even maternity leave, give them the opportunity for this without the fear of losing their job.
Expanded options for part-time employment – Many times, nurses would like more flexibility in their schedule, but the hours required by their position make this impossible. If you can, look at your employees’ schedules and consider offering multiple, part-time positions that would allow them to work what is really a full-time schedule in smaller chunks.
Changing shifts – Many nurses are restricted to working from 5 AM to 1 AM due to hospital needs. But if you’re willing, see if they would like to trade shifts or find other creative solutions, so they don’t become burned out after years of working overnight!
Alternative work arrangements – Enhance the workplace by allowing nurses flexible options for getting their jobs done without requiring them to be physically present all day long. For example, many hospitals now offer the ability for nurses to check in remotely and even allow them to work from home. If you’re open to these ideas, it shows your employees that their wellbeing is important to you!
Less on-call duty – On-call duty can be stressful because nurses are expected to drop their lives in an instant when they get the call at night or on the weekend. To keep nurses happier, avoid overworking them by hiring more staff so when one gets an overnight call, it’s not always the same person.
Here are 6 tips on how you can make your nursing job more manageable while still maintaining your sanity:
1) Take breaks – Don’t try to power through an 8-hour shift without taking any breaks at all; this will not only lead to burnout but also mistakes that could cost someone their life! Remember that it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to patient care.
2) Follow a schedule – It’s so easy to get lost from one hour to the next when you’re working 12-hour shifts or more. Many nurses end up feeling disoriented and exhausted by the end of their shift because they aren’t sure whether it is morning, afternoon, or evening. To prevent this from happening, try to follow a strict schedule that tells you what time you start and finish work. This will make your nursing job much less daunting!
3) Take naps during your break – If you’re following a schedule as mentioned above, then taking a quick nap during your break should be fine as long as it doesn’t affect your productivity.
4) Take care of yourself – You can’t care about anyone else if you don’t take care of yourself first. Eat healthily, exercise regularly, and get enough sleep (especially on your days off).
If you can’t seem to make time for this, try waking up an hour early to go for a quick jog or making your lunch beforehand, so it’s ready when you leave in the morning. It is crucial that you find some kind of balance between taking care of others and taking care of yourself.
5) Take advantage of benefits – Some employers provide great perks like free coffee, tea, access to doctors/dental services, etc. Taking advantage of these benefits will help keep nurses happy at work with minimal effort on their part.
6) Use available resources – From schooling to books and journals, there are numerous opportunities for nurses to take advantage of. If you’re feeling particularly overwhelmed by your work duties, it may be a good idea to invest some time into learning more about how other nurses deal with similar situations.
As long as you care about the wellbeing and satisfaction of your patients (and yourself!), then these tips should go a long way in helping make your nursing job much easier and more enjoyable.