Many that work in healthcare are also parents, and parents can make fantastic doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals because they care. While the two can complement each other well, it can also be challenging to manage a healthcare career and parenting because both are demanding, and healthcare workers often work long shifts. You may have aspirations to climb the ladder and advance your career, so how can you do this while still making your child a priority and being the best possible parent? It will be tough, but a few tips will hopefully come in useful and allow you to excel in both areas.
Communicate with Your Boss
The most important step to take is to communicate with your boss. While you should not expect any kind of preferential treatment and it is likely that many of your colleagues are also parents, you do still need to make them aware of your situation, and it will help them in terms of scheduling so that you are able to get the time off that you need to look after your kids and look after yourself. Your boss is likely a parent too, so they will understand that emergencies can happen, you just need to be upfront with them when they do occur.
Use Your Support Network
Having a support network is hugely important when you are a parent that works in healthcare, and you should not shy away from reaching out. A partner, family, your partner’s family, friends, other parents at their school, and neighbors are just a few people that should be able to help out when you need help with the kids while you are working. It is not always obvious that someone is struggling, so you should bring the subject up if you are struggling to manage and not be too proud to accept help.
Communicate with Other Colleagues That Are Parents
It is also worth communicating with any of your colleagues that are parenting. In addition to being a great source of support, you might also find that you are able to help one another out so that when one person is not working, they can look after the kids and vice versa. Colleagues in healthcare often form strong bonds and friendships outside of work, so hopefully, you will be able to find people that you can rely on and strengthen your relationships with your colleagues.
Master Your Scheduling
Scheduling is everything when you are a parent that is a healthcare worker. When you know when you are working and when you will be off, it allows you to formulate the best possible plan, and you need to stay organized to keep on top of everything. When you know that you have time off, you must make the most out of this. You do not want to waste your time off simply by crashing on the sofa, but equally, you may not have a huge amount of energy. This is why you need to have suitable plans for your time off and think about fun things that you can do, which will not be too tiring, or plan bigger events where you are likely to have more energy.
Look After Yourself
It is hard when you work in healthcare as a parent as it often feels like you have no time to yourself as you will be looking after patients at work and then looking after your kids when at home. It is vital that you are looking after yourself, though, so that you can be the best possible professional and parent. This means that you need to get enough sleep and rest, eat a healthy diet, and find ways to de-stress. Many people find that meditation is a great way to de-stress as it is something that you can easily do at home when you are 5 or 10 minutes, and it has a positive impact in the moment but also throughout the day. Crucially, if you are struggling with burnout or mental health, you need to reach out for support.
Find Ways to Be Social
Following on from this point, it is also important for your wellbeing that you lead an active social life. One of the best ways to do this is to visit family and friends with the kids when you have time off so that you can kill two birds with one stone and get some help while socializing, but if possible, you should also try to arrange the occasional night off without the kids by getting a loved one or babysitter to look after them. This is so that you can let your hair down, not have to worry about anyone else, and get some separation from time to time.
If you have aspirations to advance your career and take it forward, you might wonder how this is possible when you are either working or looking after the kids. Fortunately, these days you can usually get the qualifications that you need with online study. A doctorate in education online is a great qualification for those looking to advance to leadership roles in healthcare and will teach you everything that you need to know to be an effective leader and to implement positive change, plus you can study entirely online with flexibility which makes it much easier to fit into your schedule.
Exercise at Home
Exercise is another area that might seem impossible to fit into your schedule when you are a healthcare worker who is also a parent, but your physical and mental health needs to get enough exercise each week. Many healthcare workers spend a great amount of time on their feet and cover a lot of mileage which is a good start, but you can top this up with exercise at home, which allows you to look after the kids at the same time. In particular, yoga is good for healthcare workers because it can improve your physical and mental wellbeing, it is easy to do at home with little equipment, and it could make being on your feet all day much easier.
Use Meal Prep
A good diet is vital for good health, but when you are a healthcare worker, it is very easy to fall into a routine of takeaways or TV dinners as it is much quicker and easier. This will not be good for you or your family (not to mention expensive), so instead, you should look to take advantage of meal prep. This involves batch cooking multiple meals, storing in the fridge or freezer, and scheduling what meal you will have when depending on how long it will last. This will help you eat a much healthier diet both at work and at home; it will save you money and save you having to cook each day. The key is to use one of your days off or when you have a few hours and then spend this time preparing your meals for the week ahead.
Get the Kids to Help Out
There are always ways that the kids can help out, too, even from a young age. Tidying, washing, cleaning, and preparing food are all tasks that the kids could help out with, and this can be a massive help to you; plus, it is also important to develop these skills and teach children the importance of responsibilities at a young age so you are doing them a favor by getting them to help out (although it might not feel like it to them!). Nothing is worse after a long shift to coming home to a messy, untidy house, so getting the kids to help out can make a big difference to your life and in more ways than one.
Have Fun & Maintain Positivity
When you spend practically all of your time either at work or looking after your kids, it is easy to become negative, tired, and fed up. You do not want your free time to become another chore and responsibility, so it is important that you make sure that you are having fun with the kids and maintaining positivity and energy. If you don’t have the energy to go out and do something with the kids, try to find something fun to do at home so that you can enjoy your time with them while also being able to relax and recharge your batteries.
Healthcare is an incredibly demanding field to work in, so when this is combined with the demands of parenting, it can understandably create a very difficult situation. Healthcare workers often make the best parents and vice versa, but it is important that you know how to manage and a few tips for excelling in both areas of your life. Hopefully, the tips in this post will help you provide the best possible care and advance your career while still being a great parent and making the most of the time that you have off work.