Becoming a nurse is a massively rewarding experience, but it does come with a hectic schedule and a considerable amount of stress from time to time. Unless you’re a seasoned nurse who has mastered time management to ensure each day is as productive as possible, the following tips may come in very handy for establishing a good daily rhythm to help you feel less stressed and get more done.
1. Schedule in Advance
In the life of a nurse no two days are ever the same, and that’s why planning a schedule beforehand is easier said than done. Having said that, visualising your day in advance and setting up a loose schedule can go a long way – try keeping track of how long your daily tasks are likely to take so you can estimate and build a schedule around that. Since you’ll probably spend most of your day responding to patients, knowing how much time administrative or personal tasks usually take can come in very handy when you need to shuffle your day on the fly.
2. Arrive Early
To make sure your shift gets off to a good start, try to arrive just 20 minutes early so you can have some time to read through handover notes and calmly assess your surroundings before your shift starts. With the number of patients you’ll have to handle and all the accompanying tasks that come with your job, a shift can often last up to 12 hours. Arriving early will allow you enough time to get an overview of your tasks, giving you the chance to plan your shift more efficiently.
3. Prioritise Your Tasks
Time management is all about critical thinking and how to prioritise your time and efforts. As a nurse, prioritisation is a must-have skill, so ask yourself these four questions:
- What am I going to do first, and why?
- Which is more important, and why is that so?
- What’s the worst thing that could happen if I don’t do it quickly/now?
- What’s the most important to the patient?
By asking and answering these questions, you’ll be able to identify the most important activities in advance, which will give you more time to set your priorities and make informed decisions for accomplishing any goals.
Good time management means knowing your capacity to take on or pass on tasks. Since you’ll likely work as part of a team, you should be able to delegate your workload to allow yourself a few breathers. Make sure that you are assigning the right task to the right person under the right circumstance, because good delegation means making sure that the person who is doing the task is adequately trained for the assignment and can gain valuable experience. This may take some time initially, but it can be a real timesaver in the long run.
5. Learn to Say No
Nurses are their patients’ primary caregivers, but with the best will in the world, you only have one pair of hands. You may think you can multitask, but splitting your attention between tasks can actually do more harm than good for you and your patient.
6. Keep Things Organised
You know what they say: “Tidy desk, tidy mind.” And it’s true, keeping your desk, desktop, and storage areas neat and free from clutter can increase productivity and help to ensure your shift moves in the right direction – don’t let paperwork pile up at your desk and avoid letting equipment lie around after use, because it helps to reduce workplace hazards too!
7. Take a Break
As cheesy as it may sound, you can’t take care of others if you don’t take proper care of yourself. Hospital work can be stressful, and nurses are notorious for running themselves ragged and not having time to stop for a second or two. So you should be taking breaks whenever possible, even if you don’t think you need one… Your body and mind will thank you for it!
Taking five minutes away from the ward gives you a chance to relax, gather your thoughts, go to the bathroom, or snack on some fruit or a sandwich. It’s proven that taking breaks helps with productivity and mental concentration, and your brain and body can only function at their best if you have enough time to recharge before your next boost.
At CRG, we offer our candidates benefits like training opportunities and competitive pay rates, so if you’re the type who seeks a challenging yet rewarding experience, you can use our job search to look for nursing roles in your area now.
If you need help in coping with your workload or managing your time in general, get in touch with us and our specialist team will assist you.