Part of being a medical professional is knowing when to clear other thoughts out of your mind and put your nose to the grindstone, but in the quieter moments, it’s hard not to think of what else you could be doing. The debate and demand for more work-life balance is changing a variety of industries, but due to the nature of the medical profession, it’s a bit harder to try and carve out that time for your family and yourself.
Perhaps the biggest impediment to work-life balance in medicine is the sheer time you need to be available for work. Most physicians work 40 to 60 hours per week and nearly 20 percent report working 61 to 80 hours each week. Assuming you get some sleep in, what does that really leave for work-life balance? One good thing to keep in mind is that work-life balance takes a lot of different forms. You don’t need to plan a week-long vacation or elaborate spa day to get a piece of that balance (though, if you can manage it, that’s great). Any of the following items can help get that peace of mind, and some can be squeezed into the tightest work week:
⦁ Getting proper rest
⦁ Eating well
⦁ Finding time for exercise
⦁ Spiritual activities like going to a house of worship or meditating
⦁ Spending time with family and friends—formally or informally
⦁ Maintaining your home through chores or errands
Keeping realistic expectations about what work-life balance means is probably going to be the best way to handle things in the medical profession. There may never be the part-time/work-from-home arrangements that other careers are enjoying, but you can work on time management and make sure that the personal time you set aside stays personal. Another good idea is to try and reassure yourself on why you got into medicine in the first place, as when time for yourself is short, you will have added motivation to power through.
There are plenty of reasons to do so, and it’s the next generation of medical professionals that are leading the wave in a lot of ways.
Arun Saini, M.D. is an assistant professor in the Division of Critical Care Medicine at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, and recently wrote on the subject. "Most millennial physicians are paying more importance to work-life balance after seeing the first-hand effect of burnout in their colleagues and among their family members…This has put additional pressure on their abilities to manage work-life balance," he explains.
One of the biggest things you can do to try and further your work-life ambitions is find ways to cut down on parts of your professional development without compromising on the quality. A great example of this is taking care of your medical certifications with an online organization like ProMed Certifications. Whether you need ACLS, PALS, BLS and CPR, AED & First Aid certifications, you can take your course and exam in a matter of hours, with a certification recognized by most hospitals and medical establishments.