Wisdom from Women at the Helm of Healthcare

Women at the Helm of Healthcare

Navigating Work-Life Balance

Healthcare leadership is an exciting position for women, but it comes with long hours, high stress, and the constant struggle to achieve work-life balance. How do women leaders in healthcare do it? To find out, we interacted with inspiring executives to get their secrets on how they manage their demanding jobs while still making time for themselves and their loved ones.

From scheduling in non-negotiable personal time to embracing the flexibility of technology to staying focused on what really matters, this article will give you tips, advice and reassurance that work-life balance is possible, even in the healthcare field.

Read on to learn how to love your leadership role and have a life outside the office.

Balancing Career and Family as a Woman in Healthcare

The healthcare field is demanding, and for women, balancing a career and family life can be particularly challenging. Here are some of the biggest difficulties women leaders in healthcare face:

Lack of Flexibility

Healthcare operates 24/7, and as a leader, you’re expected to be available whenever needed. Finding time for family and personal obligations outside of work hours can be tough. Some women have found success by setting clear boundaries and learning to delegate more to their teams.

Bias and Stereotypes

Unfortunately, biases and stereotypes still exist that portray women as less competent leaders. This can make it more difficult to advance in your career and earn the respect of colleagues. However, by focusing on their strengths, building key relationships, and not being deterred by self-doubt, women leaders can overcome these obstacles.

Lack of Work-Life Balance

With demanding jobs, it’s easy for work to take over the rest of your life. But making time for yourself, your relationships, and your loved ones is vital. Some useful strategies include:

  • Leaving work at the office when you go home for the day
  • Taking all your paid time off and actually unplugging from your job
  • Setting aside time each week just for yourself to recharge by exercising, reading, or pursuing hobbies
  • Making the time to stay connected to family and friends outside of work

Achieving a work-life balance is challenging but so important. With determination and the right self-care strategies, women leaders in healthcare can find fulfillment in both their careers and personal lives.

Tips From Successful Women Leaders

To achieve work-life balance and wellness as a woman leader in healthcare, focus on these tips from those who have been there:

Prioritize self-care

Make time for yourself a non-negotiable priority. As one director of nursing said, “If you don’t care for yourself, you can’t care for others.” Get enough sleep, eat healthily, and exercise. Even taking 15 minutes a day to do something you enjoy can help reduce stress and recharge your batteries.

Set boundaries

Learn to say no. Don’t take on more work or projects than you can handle without burning out. Be clear in communicating your limits to others and don’t feel guilty about it. Protect your personal time and unplug from work during your off hours.

Build your support network

Surround yourself with people who encourage and support you. Mentors, family, friends, and coworkers who understand the demands of your role can provide empathy advice and help you maintain perspective. Make the time to connect with them regularly.

Flexibility and balance

If possible, look for a leadership role that offers flexibility and work-life balance. Some healthcare organizations promote shared or part-time leadership roles and flexible work schedules. This could include options like job sharing, part-time work, flex time or remote work. Finding the right organization and role for your needs will reduce stress and increase satisfaction.

Make a leadership transition plan

Think about your long-term career and life goals. Develop a plan for how and when you want to transition out of a demanding leadership position into a role with more flexibility, less responsibility or work-life balance. This could include stepping down from leadership into an individual contributor role or looking at part-time consulting or teaching opportunities later in your career. Having a vision for the future can help avoid burnout in the present.


Achieving work-life balance when you have a demanding career is challenging but doable if you make it a priority. Set boundaries, lean on your support network, make time for yourself, and don’t be afraid to say no. Focus on the moments that really matter with friends and family. While the challenges of leadership in healthcare seem never-ending, maintaining your well-being is how you can sustain your passion, energy and effectiveness over the long haul. If these women can do it at the highest levels, you can too. So, take a deep breath and remember what’s really important in life – your happiness, health, and the relationships that fill you up. The rest will fall into place.