As a nurse, taking care of patients is your main focus. However, you’ll also be also responsible for completing other tasks during your shift, specifically, administrative tasks such as updating patient records, filling out and submitting paperwork and restocking supplies. As a result, time management skills are important.
While no day will be the same, setting up systems can help you get it all done. Here are a few tricks for managing your time.
Arrive early Spend a few minutes before your shift getting set up and ready for work. Making sure you have what you need can help save a trip to the supply closet later. Check in with the nurses who are about to leave so you are up to speed on what’s happening on the floor. When your shift starts, you’ll be ready to go.
Prioritize your time Learn which tasks are critical and which ones can be a slightly lower priority. To prioritize the items on your to-do list, ask yourself these questions:
What should I do first and why?
What is most important to my patients?
If I don’t do this task now, what is the worst thing that could happen?
Obviously patient needs are the primary factor on your priority list, but if you are unsure about what to do after focusing on patient care, ask your supervisor for guidance.
Take breaks when you can If there’s one thing that you can predict about your job as a nurse, it’s that it’s unpredictable. You never know when—or if—you will get a break. When you have some downtime, grab a snack or some water. You’ll feel better and help avoid burnout if you’re hydrated and not hungry—even if your “break” comes while you’re updating charts.
Be proactive Another good way to manage your time is by anticipating your patients’ needs. If things are slow, check in with the patients on your floor to see how they are doing and if they need anything. By addressing their needs during a quiet period, you reduce the risk of someone needing you while you’re handling an urgent situation in another room.
Create routines While you can’t always control what will happen during your shift, you can set up systems that you can repeat to become more efficient. For example, make a habit to prioritize and execute tasks in a certain sequence. This will help make sure you don’t overlook something important.
If you’re thinking of becoming a nurse, Fortis can help. Click here for more information on our nursing programs or call us today at (855) 436-7847 and speak to one of our career counselors.