I had the same problem and sometimes still do (been a nurse for 4 mo.). YES, it gets better. Try not to worry once you get in your car, as your shift is over. You have to be able to make your personal like 'nursing free,' for your own sanity. As for mistakes, we human and they happen. You going to make them and when you do just make sure that you learn from it. When I first started I was always leaving late too, as my charting was always at the end of my shift. I would have a pocket full of paper towels with notes about my pts. It was bad! I was ridiculously unorganized. lol
With time you will get a rountine down and it gets easier, try to challenge yourself to get better every week. If I were you, I would think about it for a while and make a tentative schedule. Something that should work most of the time.The thing with nursing is you never know what is going to happen, and some days you just can't keep up despite your best efforts.Time management really is a learned skill that only comes with experience and mine isn't even close to top notch.
Are you utilizing your techs? They can be your BF and save you a lot of time. I tried to do it all when I first started and it wasn't working. Also, they gave me attitude, so I had to learn how to work with them effectively.There are certain things I have learned have to be done for my shift to go smoothly. Ex. Night shift: I come on (usually have 5-6 pts. in med-surg). I get report, say my hello's (ask about pain and do a quick and dirty assessment) and sit down with the charts. If the pts. need things that the techs can get, I ask them to do it because they are going in the rooms doing V/S's anyways. I have to do a 24 hr. chart check and make sure all my meds are correct before I pass them. We use paper paper charting, so I sign all my sheets at this time, while going over my charts and checking my med sheet and orders. If I don't get this done immediately, the first half of my shift is shot and meds are late, so I know this is priority. Then I do the med pass and I assess again while in the room. I get little things like PICC line dates, foley sizes and such and write them down for later. When the techs change the pts. or do baths, it the perfect time to assess their backs, skin and such. I collect as much info as I can while in the room and move on. Also, if they aren't on contact precautions, I may take the flow sheet into the room with me and fill it out while I'm in there.If I accomplish this (most days I do) then I get my charting finished and the rest of the night is manageable. Oh, we have tons of wound care and I usually do that in the middle of the night, def. not at the beginning of the shift. Unless they have a sacral wound and a bowel movement-then I knock it out right then.
If I were you I would pay attention to the Sr. nurses who are rocking it. How are they doing it? Ask them for advice on how to save time. Most of them should be more than willing to help. I don't know the facility you work at, so my experience may not be something that you can relate to, but I do hope you get something helpful out of this.
Just know it does get better.