As a nurse, you get to help your community and save lives. This can be very fulfilling, but in some cases, it can take a toll on your family life. This is why many nurses feel conflicted between their jobs and their children, especially when they’re the sole breadwinner in the family. If you feel like the family dynamic is suffering from your work, here are some tips nurses can use to balance their family and work-life better.
Have a Family Meeting
The first thing you should do is sit everyone down for a family meeting. Ask them how they feel about your work schedule and if they feel you should be more present. If you can sense that they want you there more often, then you must find out if they’re willing to take what comes with you working less often.
Let them know that you may not be able to afford some of the things they’ve been taking for granted. You can even put forward the idea of downsizing to a smaller, less luxurious home and see how they take it. If you notice that they are not crazy about the idea, let them know that you have to maintain your current schedules for them to enjoy the lifestyle they have, and they might become more understanding.
That would also be a good time to table some solutions with your other partner and see how you can divide chores and assignments better.
Consider Working Longer Shifts
This might seem strange as a piece of advice at first glance, but we’re not advocating that you overwork yourself. Instead, you should see if you could move to a three day/12-hour shift schedule if you’re currently working 8-hour shifts five days a week. It may take a little bit of time to get accustomed to, but you’ll have four days free out of the week to do whatever you want.
Connect with Other Nurses in the Same Situation as You
Another thing you should do is try to build a support system around you. If you’ve never considered joining nursing organizations, now would be a great time. This could give you the chance to get in touch with other nurses who may have children. Just interacting with them could allow you to get some tips on how they manage their families.
Or maybe you could look for other nurses where you work who have families of their own. They will be even better equipped to help you since they understand the dynamics at your place of work.
If you feel like your current position is what’s hurting your relationship with your family, then you may need to look for something else. Working on call is a bad idea for a parent and will affect your family life in one way or the other, so if this is the kind of arrangement you have right now, try to find something more permanent.
We would also suggest that you look at positions that would offer a steadier schedule. Corporate nurses, for instance, get to enjoy the same schedules as everyday employees and will rarely have to do overtime. You could also move into nursing education if you have the credentials. Nurse educators enjoy fixed schedules and less stressful work conditions, so you’ll not only be able to be there more often, but you’ll be much happier when you’re home.
Or you could become a school nurse, even at your children’s school if you like. You could also find a position at a school and enroll your children there. This is the absolute best job for a nurse who wants to maintain a close relationship with their children.
Advancing Your Career as a Nurse Parent
Working and advancing your career as a nurse and a parent may seem impossible, but it can be done if it’s planned properly, and you make the right choices. You could get your advanced degree online instead of physically attending classes, for instance. You’ll still have to be physically present for clinical assignments, but you’ll do most of the work online.
Depending on the program you pick, you could follow classes on your own time within a specific schedule or follow classes part-time. Or you could follow classes in the evening and/or on weekends. If you’d like to learn more about online advanced nursing degrees, click here.
You must let everyone know of your plans before you embark on a higher career path, however. Sit down everyone together and tell them that you won’t be able to get there as often because of school, but that the family will eventually benefit from it. They should understand as long as you’re not blocking yourself from them too much.
Know the Things You Can’t Miss
You can’t be there for every gymnastic trial or piano concert your child has, but you have to know which events are special to them and know them well in advance so you can clear up your schedule for them. If you have a partner, make sure that you work together and cover for each other in case one absolutely can’t attend an event.
There will also be cases where you’ll have no choice but to call something off. If this happens, make sure that your children are the first to know and that it doesn’t happen repeatedly.
Ask for Help from Friends and Family
Don’t be afraid to reach out to people outside of your direct family circle. You might not want to bother your older parents or friends you assume have busy lives, but you might be surprised at how supportive some of them may be. Don’t unload your children on their porch and leave, however. Make sure that you know what their schedules are and only use their help when you absolutely need it.
These are all tips that you can use to make managing work and family life easier as a parent. Remember that you can always get another job but damaged relationships with your family can last a lifetime, so set your priorities properly.