In a recent article published by Glamour Magazine, it was noted that in the year 2015, there were 16.9 divorces for every 1,000 married women of the 2,077,000 total marriages in the United States. These statistics was actually a drop from previous years divorce statistics with the decline being attributed to Americans getting married in their latter ages.
While I am not a mathematician, that equates to about 35,101 divorces in the United States for the year 2015, which is a pretty hefty number according to my account as compared to divorce rates in the mid-1900’s. Moreover, I was intrigued to know that in lieu of this decline of divorces in the United States, nurses still rank one of the highest professions to seek divorce than any other profession including lawyers, allied health professionals, and even physicians according to a study conducted by Business Insider.
Why is this so? How could this be the reality for one of the most loving and caring professions that exist? Well, I think I have a pretty good sense of why this is so, even for one of the most caring and loving professions known to the world and I would like to share my top three thoughts with you from both personal and shared experiences and perspectives.
1. High Levels of Stress- Nurses are consistently placed under high levels of stress in their roles regardless of their area of nursing in which they work. We are viewed by many as superwomen and supermen and thus have a lot of expectations to live up to. This high level of expectation cause high levels of stress which unfortunately spills into our personal lives causing strife, confusion, and a disconnection between those we love including our spouses.
2. Power Struggles- Nursing is a highly respected field! This level of respect often comes with a certain level of power and this power can do one of two things. It can cause your spouse to have a sense of inferiority, which eventually leads to resistance or it can go to our heads as nurses because we use it in the incorrect manner, which again causes resistance and separation. Not to mention while we don’t make an average of six figures per year as a nurse, we still make really good salaries which sometimes is more than that of male spouses of female nurses and this too can cause a level of resentment because as the male and head of household, most men want to have the sense that they are the majority provider to the household.
3. Communication Barriers- As nurses, we have been trained consistently on the importance of communication with all disciplines that are involved in a patient's care, communication with those patients that we take care of, and communication with the families of those patients that we care for. Now while this may seem and appear to be a good thing to know the importance of communication as well as doing it on a consistent basis, the questions are do we know how to communicate effectively outside of our role as nurses? Do we know how to effectively communicate with our spouses in a manner that is nurturing to our marriage vs. communicating from nurses take control perspective that is embedded in us?
While there are several other contributing factors to divorce among nurses, these are the top three in which we as nurses can do self-reflection within ourselves and assess potential interventions so that we can decrease the trend of our profession being at the top of the list of all other professions.
Nicole Thomas, DNP(c), MSN, RN, CCM