Family multiplicity

Balancing your work life with your family obligations can be tough, and this is especially true if you work in a hospital. Recently, George Washington University’s School of Public Health and Health services conducted a study which indicated that if you’re feeling stressed by the demands of your schedule, you might be a greater risk of muscle and bone pain.

Adding to the Results

These findings echo those from a similar study done by the Harvard

School of Public Health. For that investigation, scientists targeted 2,000 hospital employees who gave direct patient care in two Boston hospitals. The methods of gathering data were simple. Participants just had to answer things like how much they agreed with particular statements about their work and family balance. The goal was to determine whether or not workplace obligations ultimately placed a strain on a worker’s family, or even their personal life.To make sure the data was accurate, researchers made sure to also ask the study participants about the nature of their job, and took into account any other factors such as regularly lifting heavy patients or repetitive motions that might also have a hand in causing body pain.

In the end, researchers found that those people who admitted to a high amount of conflict between their family and work life could be twice as likely to experience back or shoulder pain, and they were three times more likely to struggle with discomfort in their arms. Surprisingly though, the research was not able to find a connection between familial conflict and pain in the lower back.

What Can Be Done?

If you work in the healthcare industry and think that some of your pain might be related to an erratic work schedule, talk to your supervisor to see what can be done. To your benefit, there’s a growing body of research which indicates that people who regularly work long hours or irregular shifts can end up sacrificing patient care.

It’s also crucial to let your family know that you’re willing to put aside time for them, where you won’t be distracted by responsibilities at work. When they understand that you’re ready to make a commitment for them, they might not be as likely to lash out at you if they notice that work is becoming too high of a priority in your life.

Stretching exercises can help, too. Try limbering up before your first shift, and continue the stretches even during short coffee breaks, or your lunch hour. If you’re seeking long-term benefits, it might be beneficial to practice yoga. Over time, this type of exercise encourages a greater degree of permanent muscle and joint flexibility.

Finally, stand your ground. The medical field is notorious for having plenty of opportunities for overtime. These are a great paycheck booster, but they can make it a lot easier to feel burned out. If you push yourself too hard for too long, you might even feel like it’s necessary to retire from the nursing field earlier than you’d planned. Managing conflict isn’t easy for anyone, and it’s a task that that requires effort from more than just yourself. Speak up and let your needs be known so you can work efficiently throughout the span of your healthcare career.


Kara Martin writes for nursing blogs that feature articles on nursing jobs and higher education including the benefits of second degree nursing programs.