Time Management Tips for Nurses

Nurses can use these tips to improve their time management skills.

Nurses have many responsibilities, and anyone beginning a career in nursing will soon find that developing time management skills may be one of the job's most difficult tasks. From delivering quality patient care, to filing paperwork and assisting doctors, sometimes it seems like there simply aren't enough hours in the day. And because priorities can change quickly, developing a strategy for better time management could reduce your on-the-job stress level considerably.

Arrive early
Getting in the habit of arriving for your shift 10 to 15 minutes before it begins will allow you to get organized so you can more efficiently plan out your day. Use this time to read through important reports and handover sheets, get organized and mentally prepared to give quality patient care. This way, you'll be ready to go once your shift begins instead of struggling to get your thoughts in order.

Make a plan
Although becoming a nurse means being prepared to change your plans at a moment's notice, having a general outline of a work plan for your shift will help you complete tasks more efficiently. Make a to-do list of everything that needs to be accomplished before you leave, and check off items as they are completed. Having everything written out will make it easier to stay on task.

Develop priorities
Sometimes emergencies come up and it's simply not feasible to complete all of the things on your to-do list each day, so be sure to prioritize your duties. Address these items first, and you'll feel less stressed as your shift progresses. Whenever you have a bit of down time, return to your plan and try to check off a high-priority responsibilities.

Minimize interruptions
Some interruptions cannot be helped - patient care always comes first - but minimizing disruptions that you can control will help you manage your time more effectively. If you're feeling behind, check off another item on your list instead of reading non-work related email or text messages.

Institute hourly rounds
Hourly rounds not only help you manage your time, but also increase the satisfaction of your patients. If you check up on them every hour, you may be nip problems in the bud that could become time consuming later on.

This article is sponsored by Western Governors University, a nonprofit, accredited, online university. WGU offers online RN to BSN and BSN to MSN degree programs to working nurses who already have a current RN license. To find out more, please visit our website at www.wgu.edu.

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