Work-Life Flexibility became the topic by default at 11:30pm on a Friday night with my dad’s CCICU nurse (Cardiac-Care Intensive Care Unit). My dad had open heart surgery in the afternoon and I was hovering over his bed. Knowing he’s strong as a bull, I warned the ICU nurse that upon REALLY awakening from anesthesia – well, good luck with that.
As a certified Hospice volunteer, from experience, I knew that it was going to be quite the dance extubating him (removing the breathing tube and apparatus). It would require patience, awareness, peace of mind, and energetic strength. Nurse Julie, a mother of three, had all of these. Even in the tumultuous workplace of one of the largest cardiac healthcare institutions in New York.
Admittedly, Julie loved her job and was up to the task in part, because she was part-time and doing that in a healthcare institution is sometimes easier than other sectors. The work-life flex schedule she had arranged, going from ten-hour workdays – four days a week, to twelve-hour work days – two days a week (Friday/Saturday), was her perfect work-life fit.
“You make sacrifices,” she told me. “My husband and I have to make time for each other because he works in a medical setting Monday through Friday.”
They can be like ships in the night, but Julie told me since she went part-time, while there might be a little less cash, there is more quality time with her family. She has 2 children under the age of ten and a 20-month old, and working part time was the best work-life merge for her and her family.
With their schedules she and her husband have to be conscious about creating that “white space” to spend time together and sometimes it’s not so easy. She told me that they are in the process of redesigning their bathroom and shared this anecdote.
“I knew we had to pick out new bathroom tiles and I told my husband, ‘We’re getting a babysitter to pick out the tiles and making a date of it,’ and he was fine with that.” Maybe you can also get lunch in there to, I added. Ultimately, Julie told me it was a life decision for now. It’s not forever but it works at this stage of their lives.
“There’s definitely a better quality of life. I’m energized when I come into work. Sometimes my co-workers can’t believe how excited I am to be here. It’s funny,” Julie told me.
But for me and my dad, along with her energetic wit, charm, and down to earth compassionate state of being – this experienced nurse of 14 years was not only an excellent caregiver (she patiently answered all of my questions) but she knew how to rein-in the “bull” when it came time to deal with the more sensitive issue of “the awakening” of the sleeping giant – my daddy.