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Analysis

Is Nurse Work-Life Balance a Myth?

By Jennifer Thew RN  
   February 20, 2018

This drive to further their skills and their careers is a trait often tied to the millennial generation. However, it can also be a factor that contributes to their workplace turnover. According to the RN Work Project, almost 18% of newly licensed RNs leave their first employer within the first year.

"We have the job to educate these younger nurses on opportunities to find satisfaction in the job they're in. So, when you want more, you can sign up for a committee. You can look at policy in your community or state. There are opportunities outside of leaving your unit that can meet your needs," Webb says.

"How exciting it would be for a young nurse to have the opportunity to be on the quality committee at a hospital. Or to have the opportunity to contribute to care algorithms or standards or care or policies. They would learn [so much] from it [and] they could contribute so much."

While baby boomers are more likely to stay in their positions, they, too, have a need for life satisfaction and often value time and self-fulfillment, says Webb.

For example, offering tuition assistance to pursue a master's degree may give this generation a sense of satisfaction. Or, they may find fulfillment in sharing the knowledge they've garnered over their years of experience.

"[Give them] the opportunity to be involved and be on a budget committee at the hospital and understand the finances and the contributions they make," Webb suggests. "Train them to be preceptors. Let them share that knowledge with the younger generation."

What's next?

Webb is in the beginnings of reviewing the literature for existing information on work-life balance and satisfaction and plans to interview nurses about their insights. Once she has a working thesis, she plans to connect with nursing professionals through presentations and conferences to see whether her definition and evaluation of work-life balance or work-life satisfaction rings true.  

Jennifer Thew, RN, is the senior nursing editor at HealthLeaders.


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