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The Busy Nurse Mama’s Guide to Raising a Family

Here's how to manage your career and your personal life without burning out.

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Nurses who are also moms are busy. Not only are they juggling an inconsistent work schedule, late night shifts, and frustrating patients, but they’re also managing lunch prep, soccer practices, and bed time tantrums.

A career in nursing is both physically and mentally demanding. Time comes at a premium for healthcare professionals who often work overtime to make up for personnel shortages. Resultantly, nurses may find it challenging to balance a career and parenting and might end up feeling burnt out.

Nursing is a noble and rewarding profession. However, you can’t take care of your patients – or your family – if you don’t take care of yourself first.

There are several options and life hacks out there for busy nurses to make their lives easier. If you feel overwhelmed by trying to do both, you’ll need to do something about it.

Getting Things in Order

There are a couple of things that you can do to make it a little easier to find work-life balance if you work in nursing. First, recognize that you can always work in another health capacity.

An alternative role, such as school nursing or private nursing, may provide you with more flexibility. Many private nurses work 48 hours a week. However, they work four days and take four days off, giving them more days to spend as they please.

Other roles, such as nurse writers, coders and transcriptionists, enable nurses to work from home. Alternatively, dialysis nurses and health clinic nurses typically work office hours.

Begin the process of reclaiming your life by discussing your concerns with your manager. More than likely, they’ll help you find a solution.

If you’re trying to balance work and family life, you can also reach out to family members for help – if it’s available. By recruiting family members to help with childcare, you allow your child to bond with that relative. If you have no family support network, you may want to seek the advice of a family practitioner to help you figure out how to find safe and reliable assistance.

Flex Scheduling May Save the Day (and Your Sanity!)

Healthcare institutions are finding more creative ways to fill staffing shortages. For instance, the Cleveland Clinic has run the parent-shift program since 2004.

The program helps the institution meet staffing shortages, but it also helps individuals get back into nursing. The program allows busy parents to work in between the time they drop their kids off and pick them up from school. It’s available for any registered nurse who cannot work a regular rotation.

Parent-shift nurses don’t receive benefits, but they don’t work traditional nursing hours and aren’t required to work nights and weekends. They also aren’t required to work on holidays.

So far, 64 nurses participate in Cleveland Clinic’s parent-shift program. They choose their schedules and must work in 2- to 6-hour shifts for at least eight hours every month.

The program has turned out to be a boon for full-time nurses. With the heavy demands of nursing, they’ll take whatever help comes their way.

Don’t Forget Your Number One Patient!

Pregnancy can prove especially challenging for working nurses. However, if you’re pregnant, you can combat fatigue by practicing self-care.

For example, a spa session designed for expecting mothers is probably just what the doctor ordered. Before attending a spa session while pregnant, consult with your physician to make sure it’s safe for you and your baby.

A physician will typically caution you against any spa activity that involves heat, such as hot body wraps, hot tubs, saunas and steam rooms. Still, there are plenty of other wellness treats that can alleviate pregnancy-related ailments.

For instance, a body scrub can help expecting moms to stimulate circulation. It will deliver oxygen and other nutrients that will replenish your organs and cells. Also, gentle scrubs can help rehydrate dryness caused by pregnancy.

Finally, massages aren’t out of the question for pregnant moms. However, make sure that your massage therapist is certified to treat pregnant clients.

Healthcare organizations continually look for ways to meet the needs of medical professionals in a society with ever-increasing responsibility. If you’re feeling overwhelmed on the job, ask your nursing manager if there are programs to help you manage work-life balance.

It’s becoming increasingly challenging for healthcare organizations to find skilled talent. More than likely, your manager will make a concerted effort to help you regain balance.

It is not impossible to successfully manage your nursing career and family responsibilities. However, you have to do more than roll with the punches. Take a second to acknowledge where you need help and seek out that help. And don’t forget to breathe and remember you’re doing a great job.

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