Nursing might be a predominately female-staffed profession, but all nurses, male and female, still struggle with the same work-life conflicts. Whatever point they are in life – raising young children, coping with the needs of aging parents, just starting a career, or even facing retirement – there are always challenges.
Luckily, nursing generally allows the kind of flexibility and career growth that has long made nursing attractive to anyone trying to balance raising a family with work. Nurses who are men typically want the same benefits that attract women to a nursing career, and as dads, they face many of the same challenges.
What do dads want from work? And what can workplaces offer that will help them in their careers and at home?
Dads, it seems, want the flexibility to be home after the birth of a child or to participate fully in their children’s lives without fear of impacting their careers negatively. And although some American workplaces are stepping up to offer great maternity leave or flex-time benefits for women, they are lagging in offering the same benefits to men.
According to The New Dad: Take Your Leave, a recently released study by the Boston College Center for Work & Family, working dads want workplaces that give them flexibility and career advancement and that recognize their increasingly active role in the day-to-day family activities. Ninety-five percent of dads surveyed reported flexibility as important to being able to balance their work and family demands.
New dads are finding a definite uptick in organizations offering both maternity and paternity leave (sometimes under an umbrella of parental leave), and men are trying to balance the demands of their careers with the demands of their families. Luckily for male nurses who are dads, many health care organizations recognize this important shift in an employee’s life and do offer some kind of paternity leave. But there are still many companies that don’t offer any leave at all or, if they do, it’s frequently unpaid.
While nearly all of the dads surveyed believe paid paternity leave is essential, they don’t always want to take it right after the baby is born. In fact, according to The New Dad study, 76 percent of dads surveyed would actually prefer to not take all of their leave right after the birth of a child. By taking the leave later (for example, once the mom’s maternity leave ended), dads can help make the mom’s transition back to work smoother and can often help extend the the time before parents need to look into care options.
With nearly 75 percent of fathers reporting they want to spend more time with their kids, flexibility is important to working families. The shifts in many nursing jobs allow that flexibility already, but as more men enter the profession paternity leave might become more of a hot-button topic.