In some countries in Europe, it is illegal for an employer to contact their employees after work hours. That is right, a law has been passed and a penalty in place if the law is broken. It is interesting to hear about this regulation in our current day in age. It seems pretty bold to have a law like this in place. But I think it is a positive move.
Work-life balance seems to be a global issue. Many industries require more than 40 hours from their employees. Burn out from work is becoming a significant issue in many areas. I wish healthcare institutions would take note and implement some of these boundaries.
I think making it illegal for your boss to contact you after hours is a good move to help create a better work life balance. However I am not sure that would help with health care as many facilities offer 24/7 services. Hospitals and EDs are always open. Clinics and specialty clinics offer on-call services for patients to call with any issues or questions.
Also, I don’t feel like nurse practitioners are constantly being contacted by their bosses after work. I do know many nurse practitioners that are working more than their 40 hour work week. Nurse practitioners average 10-15 extra hours (in addition to a standard 40 hour work week). This is unpaid time and ultimately disrupts any work-life balance. Nurse practitioners are staying late at the office or bringing charts home. They are trying to catch up with documentation in patient charts, addressing patient messages, reviewing diagnostic data and medical charts, and refilling patient medications.
What would happen if it was illegal to work after 5 PM? Would your employer cut back on how many patients you see a day? Would they be forced to hire more medical assistants or nurses to help with some of these tasks? Or would they even care?
While I cannot change the entire healthcare system, I can encourage and empower nurse practitioners to improve their work-life balance. If you are working more than your salaried 40 hours, take some time to reflect on why that is. Do you need to change your charting so that you can stay caught up during the workday? Do you need to set some boundaries with your employer? Do you need to ask for more help or resources at work? While it would be amazing to have a global push for better work-life balance, nurse practitioners need to make changes they can control!
For time management and charting tips, check out The Nurse Practitioner Charting School– The one stop for all documentation resources created specifically for nurse practitioners. Learn more at www.npchartingschool.com