Work-life imbalance for doctors/nurses & consequences


 

For doctor and nurses, time of work and action is determined by need of the patient. Whereas in most of other professions, time of  work  can be carried out at any convenient time. As a routine, most of the  human being  work  during day time, by  convention that is 9 AM to 5 PM . whereas, It is not uncommon for medical and nursing professionals to have more heavier  and challenging night shifts.  Most of clinical branches, doctor and nurses  remain busy through out night.

Across the globe, in the  medical systems, specially  not so well organized, it is  a common routine  for the  doctor to get night calls  everyday and  lots of them  rarely gets undisturbed normal sleep.

Needless to say that doctors and nurses do a herculean task to stream line their family and professional life. Kudos to those, who can nurture their hobbies, along with difficult clinical branches. Maintaining a work-life balance remains a distant dream for most of successful clinicians. This balance can be defined as a satisfaction gained by spending time on activities according to one’s wishes, which are besides their clinical work.

Areas of life other than work–life may  include  personal interests, family, social or leisure activities or hobbies.

Work–life  imbalance is the lack of  proper alignment  between work and other important life roles. It is a kind of balanced  state of time, achieved by spending time  on  demands of personal life, professional life and family life, that  is satisfying.  Work-life balance  is not limited to flexible work arrangements  to carry out other life programs and practices.  Work-life balance is a term commonly used to describe the balance that a working individual needs between time allocated for work and other aspects of satisfying life.

The thing that strikes as a  surprise  to most of doctors  of  starting a family  is simply how difficult it is. The learning curve of taking care of family  along with professional responsibilities is  so steep,   While working as doctor  in learning or training  phase, parenting requires  an abundance of energy, time, and grit

And when the responsibilities of being a parent are compounded with the realities of being a trainee doctor, it starts to be too much. It never feels like enough time for anything and  it really becomes utterly exhausting. There is always a struggle constantly with the balance of spending quality time with  family,  trying to study and perform well.  There is little time for hobbies or doing things  to  maintain  sanity of mind.

The environment of work today for doctors has become  more intense with legal issues,  burdening much more   than it was few  decades ago. Burdens beyond clinical work and associated stress  have   created  the need for a better  balance between work and life. Doctors have started thinking to devise or alter  the working in an effort to have a better balance. Experience of  being over-worked, long working hours and an extreme work environment has proven to affect the overall physical and psychological health of  doctors  and deteriorate family-life.

Although there are no structured studies on the issue, but doctors have started feeling difficulty balancing work and family. But the effects are already evident like alcohol and drug abuse, increased rates of divorce and suicides. Increased feeling of stress and  early burnout is an  natural outcome. Doctors,  who have attained  stage of financial security tend to have an early retirement, or reduce working hours.

Consequences of work–life imbalance

Problems caused by imbalance and consequent stress  has become a source of major concern for doctors and nurses.  Symptoms of stress can  result in  both physiologically and psychologically changes. Profession suffers as the workplace becomes the  greatest source of stress.

Persistent stress can result in cardiovascular disease, sexual health problems, a weaker immune system and frequent headaches. It can also result in poor coping skills, irritability, jumpiness, insecurity, exhaustion, and difficulty concentrating. Stress may also perpetuate or lead to binge eating, smoking, and alcohol consumption.

In medical profession,  simply working hard is not enough anymore. To get ahead, a rigorous trainings, prolonged working hours are  new standards. There is very  little time left to be divided   among relationships, kids, and sleep.

This ordeal is prolonged over years  results in  less time spent with family, friends, and community as well as pursuing activities that one enjoys and taking the time to grow personally. Even close friends and  relatives slowly start  becoming distant.

Extending family and becoming new parents  causes  extreme stress  in doctor’s life.  It can have  negative effects.  Between trying to balance a new schedule, managing additional responsibilities, and lacking flexibility and support, they can only increase stress.

Consequently, the evolving system of  health care have made doctors more prone to burnouts. Their  quest to be the  ideal, hard-working, perfectionist ultimately  turns them loner, the grim and stressed individuals.

related article: women doctors  and nurses prone to work- life imbalance

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