A good work-life balance is essential if you want to achieve personal and professional happiness, which is why it’s important to factor it in to any future career choices. When you pursue a job role that allows you to fulfil your ambitions while still finding time for your family, friends and hobbies, you can enjoy a well-rounded lifestyle.
In contrast, rigid career paths that offer a limited work-life balance can leave you feeling demotivated and at risk of burnout. If you want to avoid the unnecessary stress that comes with working in this type of role, it’s important to consider your lifestyle when mapping out your professional future.
Many people assume that the healthcare sector offers limited flexibility, but this isn’t the case. In fact, nursing can be a surprisingly adaptable career option and you can certainly achieve a great work-life balance as a nurse. To find the right role for you, take a look at these eight nursing careers with a good work-life balance:
1. School Nurse
As a school nurse, you’ll be responsible for the physical and mental well-being of your students. In some instances, school nurses may also provide medical care for faculty members, as and when it’s required.
Many educational environments have full-time nurses on their staff, including day schools and boarding schools. An average day could include treating students for acute injuries and sudden illness, caring for children who feel unwell, administering medication to students, supporting children with chronic illnesses and, in the event of an emergency, stabilizing the patient until the emergency services arrive on scene.
Generally, you’ll need at least a BSN and be qualified to practice as a Registered Nurse (RN) to secure a role as school nurse, although some educational facilities do hire Licensed Professional Nurses (LPNs) for this role.
Many professionals enjoy the opportunity to care for the student body on an on-going basis, as you’ll see the students grow up while they’re under your care. Furthermore, the work-life balance can be extremely advantageous when you choose to become a school nurse. While nurses at a boarding school may work a regular shift pattern, working in a day school can enable you to work during school hours only.
2. Nurse Educator
If you want to inspire the next generation of nurses and shape the future of nursing, a role as a nurse educator could be the right fit for you. As a nurse educator, you’ll teach educational theories and methodologies, as well as evidence-based practices. As you gain experience, you may also be tasked with creating new curriculums, undertaking research and monitoring and evaluating your students.
Combining your professional experience and clinical knowledge with your desire to improve the healthcare system will enable you to perform effectively as a nurse educator and provide you with a great deal of job satisfaction too.
If you want to become a nurse educator, you’ll need an advanced qualification to secure your dream role. The World Health Organization sets out eight core competencies which nurse educators must achieve, including ethical/legal principles and professionalism and management, leadership and advocacy.
After completing your BSN or MSN, enrolling in online nursing PhD programs can be the most effective way to prepare yourself for a role as nurse educator. With advanced research and analytical skills, a PhD in nursing will give you the opportunity to develop the skills you’ll need in your future career.
When it comes to work-life balance, you can be confident that becoming a nurse educator will enable you to enjoy a flexible career. If you choose to work in an academic setting, such as a university or college, you’ll typically teach during term time and have the opportunity to conduct research or publish papers, articles and books during between semesters. Alternatively, you can teach in a clinical environment and may move from one hospital or clinic to another and teach core modules to different groups of students.
3. Family Nurse Practitioner
If you want to take on more responsibility and enjoy a leadership role, becoming a Family Nurse Practitioner could enable you to fulfil your ambitions while still maintaining a healthy work-life balance.
Nurse Practitioners (NP) are highly qualified nurses who typically have an MSN qualification. As a Nurse Practitioner, you’ll have the opportunity to specialize in a particular field, with Family Nurse Practitioner being the most popular track.
As the name suggests, Family Nurse Practitioners deliver care to patients of all ages, often seeing their patients grow from infants to children to teens to adults. In many instances, you’ll care for members of the same family and provide continuity of care in a community setting.
Nurse Practitioners work with a higher level of autonomy than RNs, although your state’s practice environment will determine just how much professional independence you have. However, policymakers are consistently increasing the authority of Nurse Practitioners, so it’s highly likely that the role will continue to expand in the future.
Often, Family Nurse Practitioners work in a clinical office setting and, if you work in a full practice state, you’ll even have the opportunity to open your own clinic. As such, you can choose to set your own hours and decide exactly how to achieve your own work-life balance.
4. Nursing Administrator
There are more than 4 million registered nurses in the U.S., and almost a million licensed nurse practitioners. Working in hospitals, clinics, schools, retirement communities and a variety of other settings, managing the nursing workforce requires a great deal of expertise and organization.
Within hospitals, clinics and communities, nurses are typically placed into units, with each unit being run by a nursing administrator. A single administrator can manage units that span multiple hospitals and clinics, which highlights just how important and challenging the role can be.
The operational efficacy of a nursing unit depends on the nursing administrator’s ability to manage staff effectively, so you’ll carry a large amount of responsibility as you undertake a range of executive-level nursing tasks. These may include developing training protocols, conducting performance reviews, recruiting and hiring nurses, budgeting and financial reporting, ensuring compliance with staff policies and developing a strategic vision for healthcare facilities in your remit.
While the role rarely involves direct patient care, your success as a nursing administrator will have a significant impact on how effectively the nurses in your unit operate and, therefore, the level of care that patients receive.
As the role of a nursing administrator is generally office-based and managerial in nature, you will usually work standard business hours. If you are highly motivated and have good organizational skills, this could be a prestigious role that affords you a great work-life balance.
5. Public Health Nurse
Public health nurses play a critical role in educating communities and promoting healthy choices among the population. Additionally, public health nurses often play an important role in engaging and providing medical care to underserved communities within the local area.
Sometimes working in county health departments and federal health-related organizations, public health nurses can also be responsible for creating and implementing community-based programs that are designed to enhance health and well-being throughout a town, area or state. As you gain more experience as a public health nurse, you’ll have the opportunity to apply for roles which incorporate more managerial and leadership tasks.
The role of a public health nurse can be varied and may depend on particular community needs at different times. For example, your role might include providing nutritional education, immunizations, conducting screening tests, collecting and analyzing data, educating high-risk populations, assisting families with psychosocial health and responding to community-wide emergencies.
Generally, public health nurses have experience at the RN level, although many have MSN or PhD qualifications too. Although the nature of your role will depend on exactly where you work, your life as a public health nurse should offer a good work-life balance. You might have an extended number of days off if you work shift work, for example, or you may work during standard business hours.
6. Travel Nurse
If you’re looking for a nursing career that offers maximum flexibility, becoming a travel nurse could be well-suited to your needs. Instead of being based at just one location, you will travel to a variety of different settings in order to provide patient care. Often, travel nurses are paid hourly and are contracted for a short period of time.
You could be asked to provide cover for a few days due to understaffing, for example, or you might be offered assignments that last for weeks or months. By retaining the option to choose which assignments you accept, you can shape your career around other commitments and create your own work-life balance.
Due to the ongoing nursing shortage, many healthcare providers are understaffed. As a result, travel nurses are in high demand and often have a wide variety of assignments to choose from.
7. Registered Nurse
Many people are surprised to learn that the role of a registered nurse can offer a fantastic work-life balance. RNs work in numerous different settings, so there are plenty of opportunities to choose what type of work environment you’re best suited to. If you enjoy working regular shifts, for example, you may want to pursue a career as an RN in a hospital. Alternatively, you might decide to apply for an RN role at an outpatient clinic that operates during standard business hours.
Although registered nurses are often required to do shift work, the shift pattern can be advantageous if you want to enjoy a good work-life balance. You might work long shifts for three days per week and have the remainder of the week off, for example.
Due to the range of career options that an RN has, many people find that working as a registered nurse is a fulfilling and rewarding role. What’s more — the predicted increase in job roles for RNs mean that employers are actively listening to nurses and modifying working practices in accordance with their needs.
8. Camp Nurse
Summer camps are an integral part of American culture and millions of children and adults attend a camp each year. In fact, the American Camp Association estimates that there are approximately 12,000 camps in the U.S. alone.
Providing medical care on site is essential, which is why virtually every camp has a designated camp nurse. While on duty, you will provide treatment for acute injuries and illness, administer medication, assist campers with chronic health conditions, respond to emergencies and more.
As camp nurses are often the only medically trained professional on site, the role offers a high degree of autonomy. If you enjoy working independently, the role of a camp nurse could enable you to fulfil your professional goals while maintaining a work-life balance.
Most camps in the U.S. run throughout the summer, so this will be your core employment time. However, camps are becoming increasingly popular throughout other times of the year too, so there are additional assignments available. Furthermore, working as a camp nurse opens up a range of international employment opportunities. If you want to broaden your horizons, you might decide to become a camp nurse overseas, for example.
Are You Ready for a Career in Nursing?
As you can see, there are numerous nursing roles that offer an enviable work-life balance, but this isn’t the only benefit associated with the profession. Whatever role you choose, you can be sure that working as a nurse will provide you with an immense amount of job satisfaction. Whether you’re delivering direct patient care, empowering people through education or managing and educating the next generation of healthcare workers, you will be playing a critical role in creating a healthier population.
With a wide range of training and qualification opportunities, you need not wait to begin your professional journey. From enrolling on campus to studying online, you won’t just enjoy a great work-life balance when you’re working — you will have a fantastic work-life balance while you’re qualifying too! Which route will you take?