Nursing offers a promising career path for aspiring nurses. The field is filled with stable and lucrative job opportunities in multiple settings. Nursing is undoubtedly a highly in-demand profession, but it’s also an intense job that demands mental alertness and calm nerves during stressful times.
In nursing, those who don’t gain worthwhile benefits probably lack essential skills. In contrast, skilled nurses can handle pressure, manage time, possess physical strength, and excel in their profession.
Time management is the key to easing nurses’ burdens and helping them efficiently perform their duties during their shifts. Moreover, nurses who utilize their time effectively face lesser stress, enjoy more productivity, and enjoy a better work-life balance.
However, time management takes practice and experience to master. Here are some tips for managing your time as a nurse. Let’s find out.
How To Get Started?
Medical professionals never stops learning. Nurses should always prepare themselves to outgrow the learning curve to stay up-to-date with the patient care tactics.
Nursing programs such as ADN, RN, and certificate programs equip nurses with the necessary skills to begin their journey. As a next step, they can continue their learning and work side-by-side with the help of online nursing programs.
For instance, they can enroll in an RN to BSN online degree program designed to gain essential skills, such as time management, communication, and networking—required on the job.
With relevant education under your belt, you can make the most of your nursing career by following these six time management tips.
1. Arrive early
In contrast to other professions, nurses face a new challenge almost every day.
They cannot control the functioning of their workplace environment like other regular desk jobs. That’s why arriving early for duty goes a long way and saves nurses a lot of headaches throughout the day.
As a nurse, you should arrive at the workplace at least ten minutes before reporting time to streamline your daily tasks. Start your day by checking up on your tasks and prioritizing them. Collect the medical supplies like tape, alcohol swabs, scissors, and saline flushes that you may need during your shift.
It’s a small investment that will pay off all day long. You will not have to move back and forth while caring for patients, which eventually saves you a lot of time.
2. Set realistic goals
Nurses can start their day by setting achievable targets. Setting realistic goals helps you to stay on track and achieve deliverables without losing time.
You can optimize your performance by establishing short-term and long-term goals. For instance, you can plan higher studies or training (a short-term goal) to reach a leadership position (a long-term goal) in the next five to ten years.
Goals not only keep you motivated but also assist you in honing your professional skills. You can revisit your goals based on your priorities and align your daily tasks accordingly. In this way, you stay motivated and advance your career with more focus and determination.
At the end of the day, you know your efforts will bring you a step closer to your set goals.
4. Take notes
Working as a nurse entails different responsibilities and challenges on different days. You are expected to perform efficiently in every situation in the medical industry.
However, keeping up with day-to-day responsibilities can be difficult, causing you to forget important tasks, such as following up with discharged patients. In this case, you can take notes or set reminders to stay organized and productive throughout the day.
Keep a pen and a notepad in your pocket so that you can check on your reminders. You may find it difficult to write at first, but you will reap the benefits in the long run as you won’t have to remember what else needs to get done.
5. Delegate work
Effective time management also revolves around delegating tasks when needed. Don’t try to do everything yourself until you burn out. It’s a smart idea to consider help from your colleagues, assistants, and helping staff. The American Nurses Association (ANA) guide is helpful for nurses in outlining principles for task delegation.
Delegation brings fruitful results when healthcare workers are open to communication and collaboration. Teamwork is the driving force behind the delivery of quality care to patients.
However, be mindful when delegating tasks; don’t assign responsibilities to any subordinate that lacks the required credentials, experience, or training. Delegate routine checkups, administrative tasks, and menial tasks when necessary.
6. Take a break
Time management increases productivity among nurses and helps them fight work-related burnout, which can negatively impact their performance.
When nurses feel exhausted, they may attempt errors, show negligence in patient care, or extreme cases, suffer from depression, anxiety, or other mental health problems.
Every nurse needs a break to replenish their mind and regain strength. Discuss your schedule or give yourself time off to avoid burnout. You can only deliver results when you’re in good shape.
7. Avoid multitasking
As a nurse, you may find multitasking attractive but avoid it. It is very likely to have several to-do items on your list, and it seems tempting to mark off many items in one go. However, you must cross one item at a time.
Multitasking is ineffective as it can flood your brain with plenty of competing information that results in less ability to understand. Overall, multitasking can make you less productive. On the contrary, you can prioritize tasks and group them to save time. For instance, you can group medicine administration for multiple patients and mark off items on your list at a time. Similarly, removing distractions while handling your day-to-day tasks can save you more time.
Like every habit, effective time management takes practice. To implement this skill in your routine, start practicing it. Meanwhile, be careful not to push yourself too hard at the beginning of your career and follow the tips we mentioned above. You will feel the difference gradually in your performance with time management that will pay off well in the long run with career advancement.