As a new director of nursing services, I can’t relax, knowing I’m responsible for my residents’ care 24/7. I’m constantly stressed, even at home. What are some strategies to better accomplish work-life balance?

It doesn’t serve anyone — yourself, your staff or your residents — to hold a tight grip on everything that’s happening every moment in your facility. Adjust your leadership style to cultivate confident, accountable, and invested team members. Here’s how: 

• Delegate authority. Not every problem needs to go right to you. 

• Educate and empower staff to problem-solve. Educate and train floor nurses and nursing assistants to troubleshoot on their own. Then convey the sense that you trust them to do just that. 

• Focus on team accountability. Team members who feel responsible for a shared goal can hold each other accountable and maintain positive attitudes rather than play the blame game. 

• Clarify roles and responsibilities. When staff members know their roles and responsibilities, they are more likely to own their part rather than deflect responsibility. This will also prevent overachievers from trying to work outside their comfort zone to complete tasks beyond their scope of work. 

• Address conflict promptly. It’s important to have tough conversations early rather than allow bad feelings and resentment to brew. Be calm and direct, reminding both parties of the shared goal — optimal resident care.

• Practice self-care. It’s true that you can’t care for others without caring for yourself. Make time for your needs — healthy meals, regular walks, uninterrupted reading, you. You’ll feel your energy expand. 

Please send your nursing-related questions to Judi Kulus at [email protected]