Six Ways Nurses can use their free-time effectively

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The recent global health crisis, COVID-19, highlighted the importance of medical professionals, more specifically, the role of nurses in ensuring patient care. A nursing career is one of the most rewarding and demanding professions.

Although primary care physicians are responsible for ensuring quality patient outcomes, nurses ensure quality patient care. One of the reasons why many might choose to pursue a nursing career is the opportunity to impact people’s lives.

As mentioned earlier, nursing might be a demanding career partly because of the daily challenges. These challenges entail nurses having to work long shifts while, in some cases, dealing with patient loss.

As a nurse, you work near the patients, ensuring they receive medical care and their needs are met. Despite these hurdles, a career in nursing is highly satisfying and rewarding because of the interaction with culturally diverse patients and unexpected health issues. At the same time, Nursing is highly flexible because you can choose work shifts at your own convenience (depending on your current position and rank).

Moreover, nursing offers many career opportunities to help you grow professionally. So, if your interest lies in helping others and wanting to excel at it, start your nursing career by enrolling in CCNE accredited nursing programs to polish existing skills and learn about improving patient care quality.

After completing your education, you must gain some experience to understand the dynamics of the nursing field. One aspect of succeeding as a nurse is learning time management, which helps manage various tasks from administrative to patient care.

If you struggle with time management, the tips highlighted below should help.

1.   Take time to rest

Part of time management is taking time off from work. It is essential because work-related burnout is common among healthcare workers. As per a publication, more than 15% of nurses reported feelings of burnout.

Burnout leads to various consequences that not only impact a nurse’s well-being but also affect their work. For instance, exhaustion leads to decreased patient care quality and an increased likelihood of errors during practice.

Nurses can only work efficiently when they take time out for regular breaks and prioritize their well-being. Some tips for self-care include restring your physical and mental health with good sleep. Limit caffeine intake to only morning hours and avoid it near bedtime.

Besides, participate in physical activity by dedicating an hour or more to exercise weekly. Though it might seem overwhelming at first, divide the hours into segments.

2.   Create a support system

Time management is one of the primary concerns for nurses as it impacts a nurse’s work. That said, nurses must make an effort to create a supportive work environment. Connect with peers, instructors, and colleagues to build a system that effectively helps manage time.

With a supportive work environment, tasks can be easily divided among workers. That way, the quality of patient care remains uncompromised.

A supportive work environment encourages nurses’ participation in decision-making and fosters effective collaboration among healthcare professionals. Fellow nurses and doctors can help teach effective time management methods that improve efficiency and reduce the time usually wasted on unimportant tasks.

3.   Redirect your attention

As a nurse, you must prevent distractions and revert your attention to a particular task. There are several ways of ensuring that you don’t become too distracted at work, creating problems for yourself.

Check your phone only during breaks, and place it in a different location when working; this way, you can limit personal communication. Ensure that you administer the medication only after you have answered all of the patient’s and family members’ queries. By doing that, you focus on the task and avoid errors.

One aspect of ensuring quality patient care is reviewing medical notes to make changes to the care plan accordingly. As a nurse, to ensure that you avoid mistakes, complete all of your administrative tasks like completing documentation work or filing reports in a quiet place.

4.   Leverage Technology

Technology has shaped the nursing field by introducing software that effectively manages tasks. Various applications can also be used for time management by helping nurses organize and prioritize their work. Time management also includes planning your day.

For instance, online calendar assists in scheduling events ahead of time and reminders so that important tasks don’t slip the nurse’s mind. An online calendar is also a beneficial tool for groups as it helps every team member remember important tasks to prevent interruptions later.

If a healthcare facility uses any specific program for documentation, nurses must ensure that a time-tracking feature is being used efficiently. That way, it stops any pertinent information from not making it to the reports.

5.   Be on time

Being in the healthcare industry, every day brings with it unique challenges. As a nurse, you never know when an unexpected situation will keep you occupied for the entire day. While unprecedented circumstances are out of our hands, as a nurse, what you can do is be prepared to tackle challenges head-on.

Arriving as early as 10-20 minutes before your shift helps set a positive tone. Being on time allows you to review patient notes, discuss patients with nurses, and plan your day accordingly.

You can also analyze the shared workspace to determine which items need restocked. Moreover, the time spent in preparation or planning saves time in stressing about wrapping up work even after the shift has ended.

6.   Delegate Tasks

As a nurse, you must oversee all tasks that become exhausting and ultimately affect your performance. One way of overcoming that problem is by delegating your work. Carefully consider the tasks suitable to every worker’s capacity.

For example, a nursing assistant might complete tasks related to helping patients eat or clean with or without supervision. You can ask experienced healthcare professionals to accomplish more complicated tasks.

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