Nursing shifts can carry on for a long time, especially compared to many traditional jobs, but you can still find yourself without adequate time to accomplish important tasks. While nursing is certainly rewarding, it can also be stressful. Being short on time can compound that stress and have you heading home at the end of your shift disappointed in your performance.
To remedy that, there are quite a few time management techniques that allow you to accomplish everything you need to without losing enthusiasm, or worse, your job altogether. Short staffing and long hours are problems that likely aren’t going away anytime soon, but these time management tips for nurses can help you take advantage of every second you’re on shift.
Show Up Early
When you’re facing a 12-hour shift, showing up early may seem like the last thing you want to do, but it can help more than you might think. With all the tasks and patients you have to deal with, getting a 20-minute head start can lead to you actually leaving on time for once rather than an hour after you were supposed to. When you arrive early, you can plan your entire shift by organizing your tasks before you officially have to start.
Prioritize Your Tasks
Even if you don’t show up early, you should still take time to prioritize your tasks at the very start of your shift. Although it can be a challenging skill to acquire, effective prioritization will have you working like a nursing machine. While determining which tasks come first can be difficult, a good way to decide is to examine the consequences should you fail to complete a task. Those with more dire consequences should take priority.
Don’t Be Afraid to Say No
When it comes to your patients, you are their primary caregiver. They’ll turn to you for whatever they need, but that doesn’t mean you’re always obligated to fulfill those needs. In terms of healthcare, it’s your job, obviously, but if the request isn’t urgent, don’t be afraid to say no or to delegate if possible. The same is true if one of your colleagues asks for help. Fortunately, other nurses are more likely to be understanding, as they experience similar work stress as you do.
Working constantly for 12 hours is a tall order for anyone, so make sure you remember to take breaks. It doesn’t have to be a long half-hour break either. Simply taking a few minutes to just sit down and collect your thoughts can make your job significantly easier once you get back to it. Taking time for a break will enable you to be more efficient than you would be if you work constantly and get burnt out, frustrated, overwhelmed or lose focus.
Write Things Down
As a nurse, you’ll have a lot of things to deal with at once. To keep your tasks organized, it’s helpful to write them down. You can take mental notes all you want, but nothing’s more reliable than a good hand-written note. You can even organize your tasks by patient and check them all off as you complete them. The same is true if you’re trying to remember important information given to you by doctors. Studies have shown that writing notes by hand enables you to better remember the information.
Finding the Right Place to Work
You can have all the time management skills in the world, but that won’t help you if you don’t have a good place to work. With help from TheraEx Staffing Services, you can find your dream job and be the nurse you always wanted to be. Contact us today to learn more about everything we can do to help you the right position for you.