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Seven excellent time management tips for nurses

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It is no secret that nursing is one of the most demanding jobs out there. Even though it is a personally satisfying profession for the true altruist, one cannot deny the inevitable burden that comes with it.

Nurses globally struggle with time management. At the same time, through experience, they learn to manage time in a way that creates a balance between work and personal life. Moreover, time management skills are a must in any such profession and can yield excellent benefits for the individual and the organization.

The International Journal for Caring Sciences reports that good time management can boost productivity, minimize stress, enhance efficiency, and promote career advancement. There is no denying that efficient time management is an asset for any employee, not just for nurses.

It is a common problem to indulge yourself so fully in your career that you have no time left for yourself. With the following highly beneficial time management tips, you can ace your fast-paced job demands, excel in your career, and get time for yourself in the routine.

  1. Prioritize

One of the biggest hurdles to timely task completion is the failure to prioritize things correctly. Spending loads of time on unnecessary or trivial tasks will leave you with little to no time for more important ones.

As nurses, you will have plenty of tasks to complete, from day-to-day patient care to writing and checking records, while simultaneously completing additional courses. Keep in mind that if you are completing some course alongside your practice, opt for less demanding courses like an online DNP programs no GRE degree instead of an on-site program.

To help yourself prioritize, create a list of the most critical tasks. Do so by questioning yourself which tasks need to be done first, which ones are most important, what patients need immediate attention and what could wait, etc.

  1. Start your day early

As surprising as it might sound, even ten additional minutes at the start of the day can have an amazingly positive impact on the rest of your day. When you begin your shift panicking because you are running late, this sense of urgency will likely continue throughout the day.

Sacrifice just 10-15 minutes of your sleep and make it to your shift earlier than usual to give yourself time to start your day in peace, grab a cup of coffee, and go over the schedule for the day. You might also choose to review the patient reports and hand in the necessary sheets before starting your hectic shift.

  1. Avoid multitasking

As confident as you might be in your ability to juggle multiple tasks simultaneously, try to avoid this practice. It sounds like multitasking should save you time, but research shows it hinders performance and slows down your progress. Yes, it might be helpful for specific tasks, but it is difficult to determine when and where it won’t have an adverse impact; it is thus recommended not to try it.

The risks of small mistakes are high in the medical field. Multitasking increases the chances of errors; as a nurse, such mistakes could mean life or death for some patients.

Research has shown that when we attempt to multitask by switching our mental resources continuously between different tasks, it reduces our efficiency and increases errors. This is particularly true in the medical industry.

  1. Always have a notepad at hand to jot down notes

While some people have a good enough memory to keep necessary tasks in mind, not everyone can achieve this successfully. If you fail to perform a task in due time because you forgot about it in the first place, your routine is likely to get disturbed, and it can cause great anxiety.

Especially in healthcare fields like nursing, you will have new tasks every day, new patients to deal with, and new duties to perform. Even if you have a clearly outlined broad schedule, you will still have to keep track of the minor details. Having a notebook within reach is an excellent solution to the problem.

Note down everything you need to do and create a to-do list, ideally, along with the time you are supposed to perform the task. You will find this strategy highly beneficial to the peace of your mind.

  1. Get rid of distractions

Distractions can be extremely problematic for all sorts of tasks. Especially in today’s highly digitalized world, wasting hours scrolling on your social media feeds or chatting away on the phone is easy.

For nurses, phone calls and discussions with co-workers are the most common distractions. To get control over such distractions and stop them from interfering with your work efficiency, you should try the following;

Turn your phone on silent when performing critical tasks, schedule times of the day when you can receive calls, specify times when you can check your emails, and limit the amount of time you spend on social media.

  1. Make a routine

There are tasks you are expected to perform daily, like collecting patient history and data, conducting physical examinations, monitoring and checking up on patients, etc. You can use routines to enhance efficiency and promote better time management. This refers to creating a systematic process you use consistently for your daily tasks.

Create a list of daily tasks, then divide them into a routine schedule according to the times of your shift. When you have a pre-planned schedule for each day, you can save yourself time that would otherwise have gone into unnecessary planning. You also outline a step-by-step process for complex duties you are expected to perform daily.

  1. Give yourself a break

It is not a good idea to work yourself to the brink to get things done in time; this practice can negatively impact your productivity and time management. Research shows that more than 15% of nurses stated that they felt burnout at work, and 56% complained that their workplace was ineffective in dealing with burnout.

Give yourself regular breaks between tasks to refresh your mind and take out time to relax.

Final words

Time management is essential for all professions, but the healthcare sector demands good time management. Nurses are often overworked and are expected to handle multiple tasks during their shifts. To improve your time management skills, learn to prioritize tasks, start 10-15 minutes earlier, avoid multitasking, keep a notepad at hand, and reduce distractions.

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