It’s not just in healthcare but in many industries it seems the way we work is changing, in the past it was ‘normal’ to have a full time job as a nurse and on top of that many nurses also worked with an agency to pick up an extra shift now and then. Thinking about it now it was something we just did and we always were pushing through any fatigue
Even comparing from just 10 years ago work now has a different meaning to how we used to be it feels the pace of work has quickened. These examples are based only on observations that have been in my ‘lens’ as a nurse, the changes I have noticed in the last decade are –
- Technologies & medications have advanced with our knowledge of best practices & treatments constantly improving.
- With primary care, community services are improving health outcomes & are better delivered in the persons own environment of their own homes. People who come into hospital are usually acutely ill.
- Life expectancy is longer with more chronic health backgrounds & complex social issues being presented to healthcare facilities.
- The physical work of nursing is more challenging- we have better equipment for manual handling, but trying to manage impulsive or cognitively impaired patients in a healthcare environment by trying to keep them safe & not hurting themselves is a never ending struggle during a shift. Dementia and Alzheimers are quickly becoming the leading causes of death both here in Australia and around the world (https://www.aihw.gov.au/ -2022 & https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/dementia -2022).
For a sustainable and long term career many nurses have turned to working part time and moved away from the traditional full time work hours, this allows room for a person to put focus on appropriate time for rest and rejuvenation on days off before returning back to work.
3 Benefits Of Working Part Time For Nurses Are –
1. Better Work-Life Balance –
Working part time helps to prioritise work-life balance, it offers flexibility to separate time between work and leisure time. This can be done by making time and space for yourself to pursue lifestyle activities that are meaningful for you.
What’s important with our own time is different for each person, it might mean having more time with family, pursuing passions like creative hobbies or having a little more time to self without getting caught up in the frantic rush of daily life.
2. Pursuing New Opportunities –
Working part time gives you space to find new opportunities away from your main job, with all the different career pathways in nursing we all have different ways of working that fit us well and many nurses can have 2-3 different jobs in different specialities within healthcare.
Different workplaces offer a wide range of experiences and each role can allow growth for a nurse as different skills and knowledge are gained in each of the areas worked in. Also having more than one job is appealing to anyone who feels weighed down with the expectations of a traditional full time job.
Another opportunity with finding balance of part time work is with exploring further education, learning is very enriching as it allows us to understand the work we do at a deeper level, it makes you a more valuable person to have at work.
3. Reducing Burn Out –
As workplaces in healthcare can be complex and the work being fast, trying to get everything done is demanding and we may have feelings of being constantly overwhelmed. Of course, nurses are well known as self sacrificing we do put others needs before our own and over time this can affect us both emotionally and physically.
Having larger breaks between work days helps to have some separation from workplace issues by managing the daily frustrations better and it helps to maintain better workplace relationships too. Working part time may help our wellbeing by allowing us to give time to meet our emotional needs in a safe and healthy way to reduce stress.
– It Benefits The Workplace Employer Too!!
Nurses working part time for a company that promotes a healthy lifestyle can boost levels of job satisfaction without sacrificing employee productivity, the workplace experience for employees and employers then becomes a positive by being a win-win for both. Some other benefits for employers are less presenteeism, reduced sick leave, enhanced employee morale and more staff retention.
Working Part Time, Things To Consider –
Before reducing hours at work to go part time there a few things to consider as there may be further long term affects to any changes made to your work hours, this all depends on your own individual financial situation and personal responsibilities. Working part time might affect –
- Career Progression- Working part time may not be beneficial for anyone that wants to move ‘up the ladder’ into a management role in a company.
- Wages- Working part time may mean your regular pay can be less every fortnight/monthly.
- Superannuation or Pensions- By going part time, over the long term it reduces income & decreases the regular amount paid into superannuation. Near retirement the sum expected to retire could drop- always seek professional financial advice to find out how you could be affected.
- Job Insecurity- Working part time may mean being handed fewer responsibilities than you are used to, this can make anyone feel less confident that employment is guaranteed in the future.
Part time work definitely allows for more lifestyle choices, I remember in the past I would work more than full time hours every fortnight and I found one of the things I didn’t pay attention to was my health. I was always ‘running on fumes’, living on sugar with a can of fizzy drink in hand and grabbing whatever ‘quick’ food was offered at the hospital cafe, there was a constant feeling of being worn out.
To survive and thrive in nursing and have a life outside of work, working part time now for a few years with the flexibility has allowed me to have a different pace to life, my work as a nurse has improved and more than anything its easier to look past these frustrations that happen at work so often. Being part time at work has allowed me to aim for a long and sustainable career as a nurse with feeling more useful too.