Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

'I'm struggling to establish a healthy work-life balance'


Can you advise this student nurse?

”I’m a first-year and I’ve really been enjoying going out since I got to university, but it often leaves me tired for class or placement the next day and it’s starting to wear me down.

“I used to be able to set strict limits and stick to them but lately I find myself staying out for just one more drink…or one more bite to eat…or one more conversation with a friend. It’s tough to say ‘no’.

”I think part of it has to do with the fact that I’ll be away all summer and I want to make a strong impression on my group before I leave so they won’t forget all about me.

”Unfortunately none of my other friends are training to be nurses, and none of their course loads are quite as rigorous as mine, so they have a lot more free time. I try to get most of my work done in advance so I can go out after but lately I’ve been falling behind - and it’s not like you can really do your placement work in advance anyway.

”So my question is how do I balance these two things so I’m not missing out on the fun but not exhausted all the time?

”How do I let my friends know that if I don’t go out with them it’s not because I don’t want to be with them but just because I have work to do and sleep to get?”

Please use the comments section below to share your advice

If you would like to post a question here, please contact We will publish first names only, but please let us know if you’d rather remain anonymous.


Readers' comments (5)

  • Life is short. quit now and get yourself a job which allows you to enjoy yourself! you're only young once

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • your group will think positively but at what cost?if you fail your course, and have no money to go out with( you are probably living on a carefull budget anway) where do you think they will be?paying you into places, lending money for food, shampoo, soap?No.
    Take care of yourself, and try and not rely on revalidation from the other students who have not got the same perspective as you.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Lynne Beta

    you are employing time, money, emotion and energy on something I presume you want to achieve. To pass you must focus on your goal, your Clinical placement is a very important part of this and you need to be 100% alert, think of what could happen if you are not! No one is saying don't have fun, but you must put your goal first, your real friends will still be there. Plan your personal life after your working life. Your goal comes first.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I think that it is all about getting your priorities right, which can suck because staying out all night with your friends is so much better than going to bed early so you are physically able to drag yourself out of bed the next day and make it through the morning without throwing up.

    Placements are really demanding, I go out with my friends but I make it clear to them that after a long shift I'm going to be borderline catatonic and that their main function is to periodically pour tequila in my mouth because my swallowing muscles can still function, and no, I don't need a SALT assessment.

    Real friends forgive you when you spend a night out drooling on their shoulder, placement mentors.... Not so much.

    As student nurses are expected to perform focus on that. Night outs, dial back your friend's expectations. Sometimes you have to explain that as much as you love them, you are going to skip this one, have a hot bath, and go to bed with the cat.

    This will make a stronger impression on your friends than booze-filled nights and flunking nursing school. If they give you a hard time over it, they are so not worth it.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • this theme will stay with you if you let it. there comes a time when we have to set boundaries and take responsibility for our actions. don't deprive yourself of life and enjoyment but we aware that when we are studying we do have to make sacrifices sometimes to achieve and be where we want to be

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.