Nursing is an incredibly demanding profession that requires professionals to balance their patient care responsibilities with personal well-being efficiently. However, managing time effectively in hospital settings is extremely hard because uncertainties can arise at any moment, and no two days are the same. Therefore, as a healthcare worker, you need to learn how to create a plan to boost productivity and work smart to organize your time well.
Efficient time management can help nurses tackle challenging tasks without breaking under pressure. Some benefits you enjoy by managing time well during your nursing career include:
- Reduced stress and anxiety
- Advanced skill enhancement
- More professional opportunities
- Maximized personal well-being
There are many ways nurses can manage their responsibilities well without compromising mental and physical health. Here are ten time management tips nurses can rely on to boost their productivity and efficiency:
1. Enroll In A Flexible Nursing Practice Program
Nurses have several items listed on their to-do list. Their competing responsibilities make balancing professional and personal lives harder than expected. However, several online nursing programs teach nurses to manage their time better. Nursing trainees must enroll in these flexible programs to significantly improve their time management skills.
Applying for an online Master’s FNP program can help you deepen your understanding of nursing, boost knowledge with theory and practice, hone your time management skills, and understand tools and techniques to make your nursing career more efficient.
2. Arrive At The Hospital Early
Nurses can manage their time better if they arrive for their shift early. The extra ten to fifteen minutes gives you a head start in completing your daily tasks. You can settle in, take stock of your surroundings, check messages, prepare your plan of action, organize to-do tasks based on priority, etc. All of this can significantly impact the workflow of the rest of your day by making it considerably smooth.
Arriving late to work disrupts the timeline for nurses. They don’t get a moment to plan before the hustle and bustle of nursing life takes full charge. Beginning your day running around like a headless chicken can throw you off course for the entire shift. Therefore, you must set your clock a little early to start your day efficiently.
3. Take Plenty Of Notes To Be Organized
Taking notes helps nurses engage their minds and enhance their focus and attention. In addition, studies showcase that note-taking has several productivity-boosting benefits. For example, notes help you remember important information about patients, prioritize the responsibilities of your shift, and maintain a schedule of what needs to be done and when.
When you write things down, you can perform your tasks more efficiently. Your mind processes information better, and your body stays active and involved throughout the work shift. In doing so, you can manage time better when performing several nursing responsibilities daily.
4. Delegate Tasks To Others
A big part of managing time better is trusting others to help you work instead of draining your energy in trying to do it all. Nurses must delegate low-priority tasks to dependable fellow healthcare workers to take some burden off their shoulders. You can focus on high-priority tasks to better manage your shift work hours when the load is off.
Nurses need to keep communication channels open and constantly observe their coworkers to minimize errors and negligence when delegating tasks. Delegation works best when:
- Nurses have a positive relationship with other healthcare workers
- Nurses delegate routine procedures or administrative tasks instead of complex assignments
- Nurses have to spend minimal effort and time on supervision
5. Avoid Multitasking And Remove Distractions
Healthcare workers are always on the move. However, nurses can benefit more by working smart instead of hustling hard. Moving quickly and juggling multiple tasks simultaneously affects your ability to comprehend information. Moreover, multitasking declines nurses’ ability to focus on one thing and complete it in the best possible manner. As a working nurse, you must tackle one task at a time to ensure that you deliver the best results and can manage time well.
Removing distractions while focusing on one task at a time also helps you save time and perform better. Common interruptions and distractions in a healthcare setting like phone calls, coworker interactions, visiting family members, and more can lead to higher instances of error. Nurses must handle interruptions well to mitigate medical errors and save time wasted on correcting mistakes.
6. Prioritize Daily Tasks
Doing everything at once can put intense pressure on nurses. Healthcare workers need to prioritize tasks to separate urgent tasks from trivial ones. Completing crucial tasks at the beginning of the shift can help nurses manage their time well by creating an ideal daily schedule. Ask yourself the following questions to prioritize tasks well:
- Which task is more important?
- Which task is to be completed during the shift, and what can be delayed?
- Which task features complexities, and what task is straightforward?
- Which task requires teamwork?
- Which task is to be performed at a specific time of the day?
- Which task features unforeseen circumstances and dynamic settings?
7. Invest In A Routine
Creating a routine can help nurses enhance time management by eliminating time wasted on unnecessary planning. A routine acts as a systematic process that can help you be consistent in your actions and turn shift tasks into habits. When work becomes a habit, you can complete it much more efficiently.
Everyday nursing routine tasks can feature compulsory daily responsibilities like collecting patient health histories, updating important documents, performing physical exams and tests, checking up on ward maintenance, etc. Converting these tasks into regular duties can help nurses save a significant amount of time daily.
8. Factor In The Unexpected
Managing time well in hospitals can be challenging because a nurse’s shift is surrounded by unexpected events – sudden patient deaths, new admissions, health decline, doctor rounds, staff members’ unavailability, etc. You have to be adaptable and flexible to manage these uncertainties well. A good idea would be to create a routine around predictable responsibilities with clear windows for unforeseen circumstances.
Anticipating needs in a dynamic work environment can also help nurses reorganize their work schedule as new responsibilities arise. Recording observations promptly can help you keep track of possible changes to prepare beforehand to factor in the unexpected. Doing this can help you save resources and time while delivering necessary care.
9. Take Time To Rest Well
Work-related burnout can seriously disrupt healthcare workers’ schedules and timelines. According to the International Council of Nurses, burnout rates in nursing have grown from 40% to 70% post-pandemic. Burnout can present nurses with several adverse consequences like:
- Ineffective time management
- Mental health problems
- A physical decline in health
- Higher instances of workplace errors
- Reduced quality of patient care
Nurses cannot succeed in managing time well if they don’t take time to rest well and recharge their minds and bodies. You need to take regular breaks during your hospital shift and ensure you sleep and eat well to prevent work-related burnout.
10. Learn To Say No
When working in a hospital, you must prioritize completing your tasks before accepting more as a favor. Learn to say no if the tasks are not urgent and do not require immediate attention. Avoiding low-priority tasks that are not on your list can also help you manage your shift timeline.
Building time management skills while tackling nursing tasks requires time, effort, and consistency. However, make sure you do not overwhelm yourself in the process. Nurses can effectively manage time by practicing the process and improving little by little every day. The tips mentioned above can help you start your journey well, but the ultimate success depends on how much you invest in the process.