A career in the healthcare field is rewarding and essential, but the work often takes a gradual toll on healthcare professionals. Given the nature of the job, the lasting effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and a widespread nursing shortage, nursing professionals can benefit from tips and tools to reinvigorate their passion for the field.
Why Is There a Nursing Shortage?
Many factors contribute to the nursing shortage, but one significant reason for the nursing shortage is the lack of employment-based mental health resources provided by administrators.
Some healthcare professionals are dissatisfied with their work-life balance because they rarely find time to rest. While COVID-19 may have exacerbated the issue, strain and fatigue were present before the pandemic. Additionally, employees' work environments can affect their happiness levels depending on the facility's management and interactions with other healthcare staff.
According to HealthStream, "Some healthcare jobs make the flexibility demands of a modern life too difficult to manage," and employees are looking for "more favorable schedules, improved daily commutes, and different travel commitments."
Setting Healthcare Professionals Up for Success
Healthcare administrators must evaluate the positives and negatives of the work environment to retain employees and facilitate a healthier work-life balance.
Administrators should ask employees how they feel about their job and work satisfaction. This transparent approach can identify positive aspects of the job and determine situations that might lead to employee shortages. Once administrators and providers know the root of the problem, they can implement changes to help employees feel valued and respected.
Each nurse has different work-life balance needs, so not every employee will feel the same way about the management of their organization. As a result, their opinions about improving situations or implementing changes will differ, but administrators must make accommodations to improve employee satisfaction.
Administrators should realize that nurses work hard for their patients and deserve ample time off to refresh their minds. It is best to give nurses the tools to manage stress and exhaustion before burnout happens. Therefore, administrators must understand the need for flexibility in the workplace, especially for students or those just starting their careers.
Work-life balance is especially important in healthcare due to the nature of the work, but prioritizing work-life balance is not easy. It can be difficult for most healthcare professionals to avoid bringing work home. Most are "on call," sometimes unofficially, and must check their phones frequently to ensure they do not miss crucial correspondence.
In an interview with EduMed, work-life balance expert Mari Verano states that it helps to "discipline yourself to not check any work-related e-mail if you don’t have to — or from doing any work-related tasks" on your days off. It also notes: "if you must do work-related tasks during time off … only do the essential ones and reward yourself for doing these afterward."
Advocate for Work-Life Balance With an MHA Degree
One way to increase work-life awareness as a healthcare professional is to further your career and earn your Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA) degree. Those who enroll in the MHA online program at the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) will expand their knowledge in human resource management and operation management, further expanding their professional capacities.
In as few as 12 months, students will gain the essential knowledge and practical expertise needed to deliver effective, ethical and innovative leadership across a wide range of healthcare organizations.
This structured program enables students to instill positive outcomes in the continuously evolving field of healthcare administration. For example, the Introduction to Healthcare Management explores management and organizational behavior in healthcare. In addition, the Managing Human Capital in Healthcare course covers critical issues related to employee turnover, retention and motivation.
Each future healthcare administrator will obtain the knowledge required to enter influential roles in healthcare settings, such as mental health organizations, public health departments and hospital/health systems.
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