For the past two and a half years, the shifting needs and stresses from the COVID-19 pandemic have touched almost every facet of daily life. Many have struggled with the imbalance in the personal and professional demands on them, and none more so than health care workers.
Bill Hampton, an emergency physician at Holy Family Memorial Hospital in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, and a clinical assistant professor in emergency medicine at Midwestern University, will discuss this phenomenon during the Oct. 2 session “168 Hours: Creating Balance in Your Work/Life/Self.”
“This is not trying to suggest a solution or even give advice,” Hampton said. “It’s to take apart the problem and let everyone understand why you’re feeling less than great about your job, about home life, about a lot of things.”
Hampton is a national and international lecturer on diverse topics related to emergency medicine but considers creating a balanced life one of the most important topics he has spoken about — especially in recent months. And understanding the problem is the first step to identifying changes someone might make to feel better and reach a healthy self-balance, he said.
“If you have struggled and you have left shifts where you sit in your car and cry, or you go home and you’re short with your significant other, or you’re wondering, what is wrong with me? why am I struggling? this session gives you a better understanding of the problem — why we are so frustrated, and why we are hurting so much,” Hampton said.
For those working in emergency health care, taking a one-day-at-a-time approach to this kind of introspection may not be realistic. Instead, Hampton talks about looking at life in weeklong chunks of 168 hours.
“In emergency medicine, all of our days are wildly different, but you can usually take a week and plan a week,” he said. “Are you being purposeful with how you’re planning your week? Or are you letting others dictate your week and dictate how things are laid out? That’s a big part of this, about taking back control of your time and how you spend that time.”
Hampton also will discuss the concept of identity, challenging the audience to consider what components of their lives are key to their core identities and how the last two years have affected their identities.
“At the conference, I doubt anyone introduces themselves as an emergency nurse. Basically, everyone there has that,” he said. “But when you’re with a group of other mom friends or other dad friends, do you introduce yourself that way?”
Some people draw their sense of identity from their role as a parent and the number of children they have. Others may emphasize their relationship status and talk about a significant other first. Still others lead with their hobbies or their career.
The session will be from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Mountain time in the Four Seasons Ballroom for in-person attendees at Emergency Nursing 2022 in Denver. It also will be livestreamed and available for those who have registered for Digital Access.