There’s one thing we likely all have in common: we’ve experienced a nurse’s care. Whether it’s a trip to the school nurse as a kid or watching a loved one take their final breath, nurses profoundly impact our lives.
This week marks National Nurses Week. As we salute America’s four million registered nurses for the vast contributions they make, let’s help them achieve what they love most: caring for and helping others. As a former emergency room nurse for 15 years and now chief nursing officer of Netsmart, I know firsthand how hectic and demanding a nurse’s job can be.
I love being a nurse, but as any nurse will tell you the job has its share of challenges that can hinder work-life balance, jeopardize job satisfaction and negatively affect one’s health. Over my 27-year career in nursing and healthcare technology, I’ve come to realize there are a few vital strategies both the healthcare industry and nurses can do to foster a good work-life balance and achieve job satisfaction.
1. Maintain boundaries by keeping a list
It’s okay to say ‘no’ to requests, but if you find yourself saying ‘yes’ a lot, keep track.
I think one of the biggest traps nurses fall into is this: we are often so busy we sometimes lose track of what we say ‘yes’ to. Because we want to be team players and help our peers out, we jump into extra work without stopping to really assess our workload.
Here’s a simple tip that can help enormously. Grab a sheet of paper. Across the top, write whatever it is you have a hard time saying ‘no’ to with your job (i.e. taking extra shifts.) Draw a line down the middle, making two columns. Label one column ‘yes’ and the other ‘no’. Then each time you’re asked to come in for an extra shift, pull out your list. Keep track so that you are able to balance how much extra time you spend working. This can also apply to home life, helping balance family, work and leisure.
2. Focus more on what matters most
While there are a host of factors that impede a nurse’s job satisfaction, let’s start with the four-letter word that seems to be associated most with dissatisfaction – time.
Overwhelmingly, most nurses feel they are unable to spend the amount of time they’d like with their patients. That’s because nurses are being asked to do things outside their licensure like typing extensive notes into electronic health records (EHRs), mastering different technologies and keeping up-to-date with regulatory policies.
It’s important that nurses can work with an easy-to-use EHR system and use digital tools that that help them – not burden them.
Finally, remove the biggest burdens in a nurse’s day: eliminate duplicate data entry, decrease documentation time and remove click fatigue. Doing so will give nurses what they truly desire – more time for patient care and ease of mind that they are doing the right thing for their patients.
3. Embrace mobile solutions
Nurses feel more satisfied with their jobs when they have tools that make their job easier. So, let’s give them tools they are already using – their mobile phones.
Mobile phones and tablets allow nurses to document at the point of care, rather than after their shift or at home. With nurses providing more care in peoples’ homes, it’s essential that nurses have access to mobile technology solutions.
Working more efficiently makes all of us feel better and more satisfied. Nurses are no exception, and mobile technology is key to achieving more efficiency on the job.
Nurses are the heart and soul of healthcare. We owe it to nurses to help them achieve a healthy work-life balance, so they can feel fulfilled in their job. When nurses can gain more time in their day to do what they love – help others – positive outcomes for everyone results.
Thank you nurses for all that you do. Have a fantastic Nurses Week!
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