Web site spotlight: Women in healthcare want a healthy work-life balance

Nurse Leader Insider, March 23, 2009

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Only 9% of women who work in the healthcare industry are very satisfied with their work-life balance, according to a study published in 2008 by the Studer Group. On average, "women said one time per week they have to make a decision where they feel they are deciding between their family and their job," says Quint Studer, founder and CEO of the Gulf Breeze, FL, organization. "That is a sobering statistic."

Consider that more than 80% of the people who work in healthcare are female—roughly 10.7 million women. The percentage of female applicants at medical schools has increased from 32.7% in 1982 to 1983 to 49% in 2007 to 2008, and nursing has historically been a female-dominated profession. "It is time to better understand the unique and delicate issues of professional-personal blend facing the women who work in healthcare," says Studer.

Nearly 8,000 women took the survey, including nurses (23%), administrators (22%), physicians (2%), and other healthcare professionals such as therapists and lab personnel (53%). Forty-six percent of the women surveyed reported that they tend to their own needs only a few times per year. While workers in many sectors of the economy can leave their desks if an emergency arises, such as a sick or injured child, for instance, the same cannot be said for an ICU nurse who knows there aren't enough critical care nurses to cover her patients if she leaves.

"At the end of the day we need to look at our lives and our priorities," says Grissel Hernandez, MPH, BSN, RN, HN-BC, director of clinical education at AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center in Atlantic City, NJ. "Work is just one aspect. We have to have a social life. We need to have interests—books we like to read, music we like to listen to, and movies we like to watch. And sometimes we forget that because we are so driven as nurses."

Editor's note: This excerpt was adapted from the article, "Women in healthcare want to find a healthy work-life balance" featured in The Reading Room on HCPro's online resource center,

Are you in need of continuing education (CE) credits? Check out this month's CE article on preventing surgical site infections or visit our archives and view a compilation of CE articles (marked with an asterisk).

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