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 an employee is contacted after work hours. 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. Employees are spending more time at home and less time with their family/friends. This constant work mentality with no time to rest or recharge is a significant risk factor for burnout. Workplace burnout seems to be a significant issue in all kinds of industries. I wish healthcare institutions would take note and implement some of these rules for how often an employee has to work.
Is this possible for nurse practitioners to NOT be contacted after work hours?
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 after work hours. 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?
Ways to improve work-life balance
While I cannot change the entire healthcare system and make it illegal to be contacted after work hours, 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? Do you need to negotiate a nurse practitioner contract to at least get compensated for these additional hours? While it would be amazing to have a global push for better work-life balance, nurse practitioners need to make changes they can control!
So what do you think? Do you think there should be a universal law to make it illegal to be contacted after work hours? Do you think there should be increased regulation on improving work life balance? Do you think this would help resolve nurse practitioner burnout? Comment below and let me know your thoughts!
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
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