Beyond Work: Why Is It Important to Maintain a Work-Life Balance for Nurses?

Nursing has always been one of the world’s most invaluable professions. They help patients with various medical concerns, ranging from minor illnesses to life-threatening conditions.

For instance, nurses are essential members of palliative care teams that treat people with severe diseases like mesothelioma, a rare cancer type usually caused by asbestos exposure.

Depending on the mesothelioma stages, some patients may need extensive care. Consequently, attending nurses might have workloads beyond their usual limits.

Maybe you’ve been working as a medical-surgical nurse for three years, and you always thought that your job makes it difficult for you to achieve a work-life balance. You might ask: why is it essential to maintain a work-life balance for nurses? Also, how can you maintain a work-life balance in the medical-surgical nursing profession?

While medical-surgical nursing is physically, emotionally, and mentally taxing, it’s still crucial to have a work-life balance.

This article lists and explains several ways a work-life balance can benefit nurses, particularly those in the medical-surgical setting. The write-up also suggests tips on how nurses can maintain a work-life balance.

Why Work-Life Balance Is Important for Nurses

          Healthcare workers face busy, non-stop work environments. We’re finding it harder and harder to refresh our minds. This factor may lead to the prevalence of burnout and other work-related issues among medical-surgical nurses.

For instance, nursing turnover affects all specialties. Still, it’s acutely felt in the medical-surgical field, where high nurse-patient ratios, point-of-care technologies, and stressful work environments require adequate numbers of highly trained nurses.

However, we’ve observed that maintaining a work-life balance is an excellent answer to managing work-related stress effectively.        

Work-life balance means equally prioritizing your duties at work and the demands of your personal life. Balance isn’t about working half your life and playing half of it; it’s about achieving harmony in your physical, emotional, and spiritual health.

Here are some reasons work-life balance is vital for nurses:

1.  Better stress management

          Shift work and staffing patterns can cause stress in healthcare workers. Medical-surgical nurses might find it challenging to balance patient needs and work demands.

         Taking time for self-care outside your nursing job can help reduce stress, which is good for your health, mental well-being, mood, and work performance.

For instance, recharging helps you come back to work feeling refreshed. Having more energy and motivation can make you perform better and provide better patient care.

2.  More time to live and enjoy life beyond work

Like most people, medical-surgical nurses face home pressures like budget problems, marital conflict, chores, kids’ activities, elder care, and adult education.

Balancing home and work responsibilities is crucial to sustaining your nursing practice.

         Nurses can enjoy life more if they have a healthy work-life balance. A well-balanced work-life balance may give you more time to pursue hobbies and spend quality time with your loved ones. 

Keeping healthy relationships and pursuing interests requires connecting with the people and things you love.

3.  Burnout and other health issues

          Keeping a healthy work-life balance is essential to minimizing burnout potential since it allows you to rest adequately between shifts.

Burnout means you’re physically and mentally exhausted due to work-related conditions. It can make you disconnected from both work and home.

5 Tips for Sustaining Work-Life Balance in the Nursing Industry

          Here are five work-life balance tips for medical-surgical nurses:

1.  Know what matters most

Establish what’s most important in your life and eliminate activities that don’t help you accomplish it. Prioritize essential tasks and goals.

2.  Maintain good relationships

          An environment of good coworker relations is conducive to a peaceful workplace. Communication can be productive if you maintain workplace professionalism and respectfully handle conflicts.

3.  Don’t forget to take care of yourself

          Nurses have busy schedules and long shifts that make it hard for them to get enough leisure time, eat healthily, and exercise.

Getting up and moving during your nursing tasks differs from taking a walk, riding a bike, running, swimming, or going to the gym. Performing these exercises helps activate muscles you do not usually use at work, improves your heart rate, and increases your energy level.

Also, distinguish leisure activity from sitting in front of the TV. Engage, explore, and challenge yourself in ways that stimulate you. These leisure activities include spending time with friends, doing your hobbies, volunteering, or attending religious services.

4.  Self-awareness is key

          Get to know yourself. Keep track of your goals, desires, likes, wants, and needs by periodically evaluating yourself. Achieving balance, inner peace, and happiness is extra challenging without a sense of self.

Readjust your work and home demands as much as possible when assessing and reevaluating yourself.

5.  Seek support

          Let your friends, family, and coworkers help you when you need it. Consult peer associations, support groups, and your company’s employee benefits program for assistance.

         Keeping your mental health and work-life balance will help both you and your patients.

Nurses’ communication and counseling skills positively impact patients’ perceptions of the quality of care these patients are getting. Generally, you can develop these skills if you maintain a work-life balance.

Nurses may have difficulty taking care of themselves due to their profession’s demanding, fast-paced nature.

However, using the proper techniques and strategies, you can preserve your mental health and maintain a work-life balance.


1. Relationships between workload perception, burnout, and intent to leave among medical–surgical nurses

2. Perceived Quality of Nursing Care Among Cancer Patients Attending Hawassa University Comprehensive Specialized Hospital Cancer Treatment Center; Hawassa Southern Ethiopia: Cross-Sectional Study