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