Medical jobs have become extremely fast-paced in recent years, especially for new nurses and healthcare practitioners. Learning to steer through a busy shift at healthcare centers has become increasingly challenging for new nurses. Nurses need to prioritize and organize patient care, prepare for procedures, treatment, or discharge, perform internal administrative tasks, and fulfill their personal obligations and educational responsibilities. With so much going on at the workplace, nurses must manage time effectively to avoid burnout.
Despite the demanding nature of their jobs, nurses who practice time management techniques can achieve balance in a time-compressed environment. Efficient time management increases productivity in nurses, reduces work stress, increases efficiency, improves their chances for career progression, and helps them achieve long-term objectives in their professional lives.
If you’re starting your career as a new nurse, here are ten easy time management tips to make your job enjoyable, convenient, and stress-free:
- Sign Up for a Flexible Online Nursing Program
When nurses balance their professional, personal and academic lives, they learn how to manage responsibilities at work and use their limited shift time wisely. Online nursing programs teach students nursing and time management tips while allowing students the flexibility to study as per their schedule.
Renowned institutions like Duquesne University School of Nursing offer flexible online nursing programs for nurse practitioners to study advanced nursing courses while managing their work routines effectively. Various disciplines in nurse practitioner degrees online give nurses the flexibility to work when and where it’s most suitable for them. Working nurses can earn an advanced nursing degree while working full-time.
- Set Achievable Goals
Setting measurable short- and long-term goals is the first step nurses can take to increase productivity and manage stressful routines. Nurses must prioritize urgent and immediate daily tasks over long-term objectives. Working nurses and nursing students can prioritize their daily tasks by writing them down. While most daily tasks change as the day progresses, certain procedures for nurses remain constant and can be planned ahead of time to streamline your workday. Make a plan for your workday and create a medication, treatment, and procedures timeline for each patient in advance. Try to estimate the time you need to wait for lab results before giving medication to one patient and utilize this time to attend to other patients.
- Learn to Prioritize
One of the most difficult challenges for new nurses is learning to prioritize tasks. A nurse’s duties in a single workday range from taking patient samples and sending them to labs to administering medication, scheduling procedures and therapies, writing records, and providing support before, during, and after surgical procedures. The best way to manage all these activities in a timely fashion is to make a comprehensive list of tasks for each day and organize them according to their priority.
Identify tasks that are more critical for each patient with the help of experienced nurses and develop a plan of action for your duties. Tasks that could have a fatal outcome if not done right away should always be your top priority. Be sure to give yourself enough time to finish all high-priority tasks before your shift ends. A strategic approach to prioritizing tasks reduces stress and increases productivity.
- Delegate Tasks
Healthcare is undoubtedly a team effort where each member puts an honest effort into patient care. By delegating tasks to other team members, you save time and work together more effectively. However, you need to strike a balance between being involved in all aspects of patient care and not always saying yes to everything. Working as an effective team member requires delegating tasks to those best suited to the role. If you have critical tasks that must be completed on time, don’t hesitate to ask someone else to complete the less important tasks. Delegate tasks to your nursing assistant only when you’ve got more urgent things to do. Also, delegate tasks early in the morning so the team member can plan their tasks accordingly.
- Learn the Value of Flexibility and Patience
Nurses and other healthcare professionals need to stay calm, collected, and rational in stressful situations. As a nurse, you need to provide support and encouragement to patients and their families, as critical health conditions can be nerve-wracking.
In a typical work environment, you may also have to deal with criticism from seniors, stressful multitasking, and being pulled into situations you find challenging. Stressing over these unknowns may result in lost focus and delays in completing daily tasks. Having a plan and setting priorities is important, but you also have to be flexible and patient when things don’t go according to plan. You’ll need to learn the ropes as a new nurse and be adaptable to changing needs, interruptions and distractions, and difficult situations.
- Minimize Distractions
Smartphones, internet accessibility, TV shows, and social media platforms have been major distractions at every workplace, and nurses face the same challenge at healthcare centers. To improve your time management in nursing, you must eliminate common distractions. Common interruptions like phone calls, conversations with patients and families, questions from coworkers, etc., are unavoidable, but you need to avoid distractions during medical procedures, medicine administration, and patient treatment as they can lead to errors and poor patient care quality. Removing distractions will also help you be more efficient in performing your duties and completing your tasks well on time.
Managing the tough routines of a shift and completing all of the tasks before the shift ends can be intimidating for a new nurse. No matter where you are in your career, there’s always room for improvement, particularly when it comes to managing your time on a busy day at work. Once you adopt the above-mentioned tips and tricks, you’ll be better able to manage your time and be more productive and focused.
Time management takes practice and it is a skill you learn with experience. Try to learn the basics of time management from experienced nurses and develop routines to perform repeated tasks on time every day. By learning and applying time management techniques, new nurses can complete their shifts effectively and be mmanage theirore productive at work.