A CNO Learns the Secret of Work/Life Balance


Extra Duties? Keep Your Life in Balance

Creating work/life balance can be a constant struggle for healthcare professionals. This is especially true for those who take on more than their assigned duties by participating in their Magnet® designation efforts or on a shared leadership council. Recognizing this, many hospitals encourage their employees to incorporate health and wellness into their everyday lives, as well as seek extra support in the workplace. It’s not always easy, though. It takes a driven individual to look at their workload and ask, “How do I make this easier for myself?”

Jill Buttry, CNO of Deaconess Gateway and Midtown Hospital, talked to us about her experiences with a full workload as a former Magnet Program Director (MPD) and a Chief Nursing Officer (CNO), and how she managed to keep it all balanced.

Jill has always been one of those people who takes on other duties apart from her main responsibilities. She spearheaded the Magnet program during the health system’s first Magnet designation in 2013 while overseeing the Trauma Level II ACS Trauma verification program and the Primary Care Stroke Center designation program.

To ensure work was done correctly and efficiently while she was balancing all of these roles, Jill delegated responsibilities to the capable staff that reported to her. She learned that having a strong supporting team is the key to making an overwhelming workload less stressful. Luckily for Jill, the highly skilled leaders under her understand expectations and are dedicated to not just the program, but to the role they serve in the Magnet process. “You have to have those people under you who are willing to do just as much as you do for success,” she said.

Deaconess has many supportive teams that Jill can lean on. There’s a Magnet Program Coordinator (MPC) whom is PhD prepared with an expertise in Evidence Based Practice in Nursing Research that has been instrumental with the success of the program. Part of this team includes a data analyst that assists the MPC with compiling data for documents. Jill’s position has a matrix relationship with the education department at Deaconess and includes the responsibility and scope of the Director of Patient Care Services at Deaconess Gateway Hospital. This carefully structured setup keeps all of the moving pieces in sync.

“Our organization is blessed with longevity,” said Jill. “Many employees who were there for our first designation are still here now, which makes continued success simpler. But we need to begin looking to the future.”  To do so, she has begun mentoring practices. Jill and her teams are creating liaisons for their current council chairs who are continuing to grow in their roles. For instance, if a council needs someone at a higher level to weigh in on a decision, the liaison makes sure that happens. Jill said this has already boosted engagement by giving everyone an important role in the journey to designation.

In the midst of her heavy workload, Jill tries to be mindful of her own well-being. She admits that when she began in this position, the stress got to her physically and emotionally. Leaning on her family and friends has made balancing it all a bit easier. It’s the little things—spending time with her daughter doing things they love, and having her husband remind her every day of what’s truly important in life. She also credits the Magnet Conference theme two years ago, “Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation,” for inspiring her to take a step in the right direction. She makes time for workout classes with nursing friends, so they can not only take care of themselves physically but share stressors they experience at work in order to help each other.

 The secret to a successful work/life balance? Don’t try to do it alone.