Nurses are required to work in fast-paced environments with tight deadlines and perpetually changing priorities. To improve the quality of work, maintain flexibility and manage stress, time management is crucial. The benefits of time management include greater productivity, better opportunities for advancement, stress reduction, and improved efficiency. Time management skills can also help achieve long-term career goals. Here are a few tips for you as a nurse to manage your time efficiently:
- Stay organised: Maintaining an organised workspace will automatically help you with effective time management. An organised workspace can be helpful in accessing medical documents and patient records.
- Create and maintain a routine: Following a routine can help you finish the same tasks in a stipulated time period. Creating a routine will help you plan ahead leading to better performance, and better focus allowing you to take on your daily duties efficiently. Although your daily routine is likely to be the same every day, at the start of the shift reviewing what needs to be done can give you a good start.
- Arrive early: Being a nurse requires you to always be on your toes, you never know when you are needed. Therefore, showing up early can be beneficial at times. Arriving early can help you prepare for your shift ahead of time, saving you time and unnecessary trips to other departments for little things.
- Seek help: Healthcare is a team effort. If you’re working in pairs or a team with healthcare workers or interns, allocate tasks appropriate to the skill level that will allow you to complete what you need to while also supervising. If you need additional help, seek advice from your nurse manager or supervisor.
- Set your priorities: It is important to know which tasks are important and needs to be tackled first. This also puts to test your decision-making abilities. Before your shift, look at your schedule and rearrange your tasks accordingly. You can also cluster similar tasks to optimise your time in one area. However, make sure you are able to attend to all your patients throughout your shift.
- Take scheduled breaks: Nursing can be a very demanding job and it can be physically and mentally difficult. Therefore, it is advisable to take scheduled breaks. Go for a walk, eat snacks, talk to a friend, listen to music, or practice meditation.
- Limit distractions: You need to limit your distractions to ensure proper focus on your task and its completion. You can try keeping your phone away or on silent mode to avoid personal communications during work hours. Only check it during breaks. Communicate with patients and their family members and answer all their questions before you administer any medication. This allows you to keep your attention on your task. It is also advisable to complete all your administrative work in a quiet environment so you can maintain your notes properly.
- Use electronic medication administration: If you are responsible for medication administration and your facility is using electronic medication administration, get eMAR chart training to maintain medication administration records efficiently. The electronic medication administration software informs you of all medications to be given in an organised manner, improves communication between you and the pharmacy, and reduces the opportunity for medication errors. You can also attend training sessions on time management, self-care, and personal development.