A List of Healthy Work Boundaries for 2019

It’s the New Year, a time for tidying up.

The new year always triggers me to assess, reorganize and purge.  That’s what I have been doing with my office this week.

I’m a big advocate of Marie Kondo’s  the life-changing magic of tidying up.   The book is great and she has a new Netflix movie.

Looking at how I set and maintain professional and personal boundaries is part of my tidying up process.

As nurse leaders, we are notorious for not keeping healthy boundaries around us.

Here are some Self-Help tips put together by a social worker I worked with years ago on Setting Healthy Boundaries.  Another benefit of tidying up is running across the jewels we have and have forgotten about. This is one of those jewels. Thank you, Cathy.

Think of boundaries as a fence or guideposts you have built around yourself for protection that has a gate. 

You alone decide what goes in and out of that gate.

What Are Boundaries?

  • Boundaries are psychological choices and attitudes that define who we, what we are responsible for, and where we decide to place our energy, emotions and skills.
  • Boundaries also help define what we don’t want, won’t do, and aren’t going to become involved with.
  • Boundaries protect us and those we work with from inappropriate, unhealthy, or even abusive relationships.

Why Do Boundaries Matter? Because unhealthy boundaries:

  • Lead to stress
  • Lead to burnout and compassion fatigue
  • Can affect relationships
  • Can affect physical health
  • Can compromise patient care and lead to liability issues

Signs of Unhealthy Boundaries

  • Difficulty going home
  • Hard to say “No”
  • Feelings of resentment
  • Meeting your own needs by caring for others
  • Always anticipating crisis
  • Unable to feel angry
  • Feel victimized
  • Expecting the worst
  • Discount intuition
  • Changing behavior, plans and opinions to please others
  • Feeling ‘indispensable”

Signs of Healthy Boundaries

  • Leaving work on time
  • Listening to your intuition
  • Awareness of your own needs
  • Being direct about your needs without manipulating
  • Remaining true to self
  • Saying “no” without feeling guilty
  • Good self-care
  • Feeling secure, grounded, able to cope
  • Can set healthy limits
  • Seeking win/win situations, instead of insisting on your own way


Here’s to a healthy 2019 to all nurse leaders ! 🍾 

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