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Ruth Underdown explains why it's important in Nursing to prioritise your work life balance.
26th January 2018
Written by Ruth Underdown
Caring for other people is emotionally demanding and combined with the physical nature of the job, physically exhausting.
Spending 12 hours on your feet, running between patients, trying to attend to their hygiene needs, turn them, help to feed them and make them comfortable, often barely getting a chance to get a drink or stop for a toilet break. It is a job that demands dedication and a desire to do the right thing.
That said, with the added pressures of a lack of resources, short staffing and increased demands placed on the nursing staff on shift, it is important to take care of yourself and those that you love as well.
There is a saying that when you die, no one will remember you for your great shoes or nice couch. Nursing is no different. The NHS is no different.
When you leave, you are often quickly forgotten and replaced. Sometimes you aren’t replaced due to lack of funding; known as natural wastage
As things are today, it is easy to fall out of love with the job that you trained and studied hard to do.
There is therefore argument to ensure that if you are spending nearly every day of your week at work, make sure it’s doing something that you enjoy and want to be part of.
Choose a career path that makes you happy. With the NHS in various states of disarray, and a shortage of staff in most departments, qualified nurses can pretty much pick and choose where they want to work.
If you’ve always worked in a hospital and are suddenly thinking that there is more that you would like to learn, to see or to do, then the time is ripe to consider a move to a different area.
As a one-time single parent, I have moved between specialities and trusts as I wished depending on my childcare needs and interests at the time.
Moving from an A&E post in a central London trust having fallen asleep once too often at 70mph coming home from night duty, I opted for school nursing more locally for 18mths thinking that I would enjoy learning about prevention and social inclusion.
It added to my skill base, and allowed me to take those newly learned skills back to acute adult medicine, giving me an understanding of the socio-economic problems faced by those in the local community and how this led to problems later.
It also meant that I was able to be around more for my children whilst they were small.
Nursing can be a family friendly career choice if you are able to work with your employer.
If not, there are other options out there.
As an older nurse once told me whilst I tried to balance working full time nights, obtain career progression, pay over half my salary for child care and be the mum I wanted to be; ’You can’t be servant to two masters.’
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