As a new nurse, you might feel overwhelmed by our profession’s never-ending tasks and responsibilities.
I know I’ve been there!
But don’t worry. With the right time management techniques, you’ll be able to handle your workload.
In this article, we’ll explore 10 time management tips that will help you become more efficient and confident in your nursing practice.
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What does it cover?
Just to name a few.
During the nursing report, asking the right questions is crucial to understand your patient’s needs comprehensively. This will save you time and prevent misunderstandings and potential errors.
For a patient with a long admission to try to go through the chart for every little detail will be very time-consuming.
Some questions you might want to ask include:
- What are the patient’s primary concerns or complaints?
- Are there any specific care instructions for this patient?
- Has the patient had any recent changes in medication, treatment, or condition?
- What procedures will the patient be having during the shift?
- When are the labs scheduled, especially for cardiac enzymes?
- Are there any wound care, central line dressing changes, IV changes, or tubing changes required?
Remember, no question is too small or insignificant. It’s better to ask now than to discover you missed something later.
A nurse report sheet is a tool that helps you track and organize important patient information. A report sheet tailored to your needs will save you time and reduce the chances of overlooking critical details.
Your facility may already have one that they use. You can find templates online. We also sell some nurse report sheets on the nursemoneytalk shop page.
Experiment with different report sheet templates to find the one that works best for you. Feel free to make modifications or create your own to suit your unique needs and preferences.
SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound objectives.
By setting mini SMART goals, you’ll have a clear roadmap for when tasks need to be completed, which will help you manage your time more effectively.
For example, you might set a goal like this: “Administer all morning medications to my assigned patients by 9:30 AM.”
This goal is specific, measurable, achievable, relevant to your nursing duties, and has a clear deadline.
A solid morning routine sets the tone for the rest of your day. Establishing a routine that works for you will make you feel more energized, focused, and ready to tackle your nursing responsibilities.
A morning routine also helps ensure you don’t forget something important.
When I say morning routine I’m referring to both your home and work life. Having a routine for how you get ready for work in the morning means your mornings can go a lot smoother.
Having a routine at work for something like your morning med pass, or just for how you do things in the morning at work can go a long way to making your life easier.
Your morning routine might include:
- Eating a healthy breakfast
- Reviewing your patient assignments
- Setting your mini SMART goals for the day
Feel free to adjust your routine as needed to find the perfect balance for you.
Task batching involves grouping similar tasks together and completing them in a single block of time. This approach can increase efficiency and help you stay focused.
For example, you could:
- Complete all medication administration at the same time you do your morning medication.
- Batch up when you do your charting.
Experiment with task batching to see how it can improve your time management and what works well for your flow.
Multitasking might seem like a good idea, but it can actually reduce your productivity and increase the likelihood of errors. Instead, focus on completing one task at a time.
For example instead of trying to pull all the medications for every patient you’re assigned to you might just focus on one patient pull their meds go give it.
Doing it this way will reduce the likelihood of you giving a patient someone else’s medications.
Checklists are essential in nursing for ensuring you complete all necessary tasks without overlooking anything. They can also help you prioritize your duties and stay organized.
An effective checklist should be:
- Clear and concise
- Organized by priority or chronology
- Easily accessible throughout your shift
Don’t be afraid to modify your checklist as needed to ensure it remains a helpful tool for managing your time.
Example of a potential checklist:
- Arrive early: Give yourself extra time to settle in and mentally prepare for the day.
- Check assignment: Review your patient assignment and become familiar with their diagnoses, medications, and specific needs.
- Gather supplies: Stock up on essential supplies you’ll need throughout the day (e.g., gloves, syringes, gauze, etc.).
- Review handoff report: Go through the handoff report from the previous shift and ask any necessary questions.
- Nursing report sheet: Update your nursing report sheet with important information, such as lab times, procedures, and special treatments.
- Set mini SMART goals: Establish clear and achievable goals for your shift, including deadlines for specific tasks.
- Introduce yourself to patients: Greet your patients, introduce yourself, and let them know you’ll be their nurse for the day.
- Initial patient assessment: Perform a thorough assessment of each patient, checking vital signs and evaluating their overall condition.
- Plan medication rounds: Organize your medication administration schedule to ensure timely and accurate delivery.
- Prioritize tasks: Based on your assessment and the handoff report, prioritize tasks for the day and make a plan to tackle them efficiently.
Senior nurses have a wealth of knowledge and experience, so don’t hesitate to ask them for time management tips. They’ve likely encountered the same challenges you’re facing and can offer valuable insights.
The other thing to keep in mind is that if you ask senior nurses who work in your department they can give you valuable time management tips that’s tailored to how your department functions.
Charting as you go keeps your documentation up-to-date and ensures you don’t forget critical details.
This approach can save you time at the end of your shift and reduce the likelihood of errors in your documentation.
To chart efficiently, consider:
- Using standardized language and abbreviations
- Taking brief notes during patient interactions to reference when charting
- Developing a system for organizing your charting tasks
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Delegation is a vital skill in nursing, as it allows you to distribute tasks and ensure you have enough time to focus on your core nursing responsibilities.
Examples of tasks you can delegate to aides include:
- Taking vital signs
- Assisting with patient transfers or ambulation
- Ensuring patients have necessary supplies
Remember to communicate your expectations clearly and provide any necessary guidance to your nurse aides to ensure tasks are completed correctly.
By implementing these time management tips, you’ll find yourself better equipped to handle the demands of your nursing career.
Remember, the key to effective time management is finding what works best for you, so don’t be afraid to experiment and make adjustments as needed.