Task oriented to what?

  1. Nursing is my second career. I spent quite a few years in information systems/computers. It tended to be a task-oriented field, in that you had an overall plan broken down into tasks and due dates. I would think this is partially true of nursing, but I know it's not the big picture. I get a little befuddled working in the hospital because I'm still in the "task oriented" mindset, and have trouble managing my time when I have to constantly switch gears. How do you give morning meds which include a IV antibiotics and crushed meds, AND 3 admits AND 2 discharges AND a blood transfusion AND assessments AND charting and ....whatever else?

    Experienced nurses - help! Are there any ex-I.T. people out there turned RN that can give me advice for switching from a task-oriented mindset to a "nurse mindset"?

    Should I have a brain sheet on each patient, or one sheet with 6 patients, or what?

    Thanks for any advice you may have.
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    About Macbs4, BSN

    Joined: Sep '09; Posts: 40; Likes: 33


  3. by   berrylion
    This is what I did when I worked days. Get report, go see my pts and make sure no iv bags were going to run out etc. I would then check what meds were due for my whole shift and write the time and circle it for each patient. When I had finnished giving the med for a pt I would x out the circle. I would also get all my iv antibs I would need for my pts and put them in their draw.
    I would then give out my insulins and 0800 meds, and assess the patients (that had the meds ) and write it down on my report sheet.
    Next I would check vital signs and labs in the computer and write them down on my sheet. Any critical would call to doc.
    Next if I had med due at 0900 and 1000 i would give them together and do the rest of my assessments. If I saw a IV had only 200cc left in it I would put up a new one so it would save me coming back in and doing it later. If I had two units of blood ordered I would make sure at least I got the first unit done for evening shift.
    Admissions and discharges the charge nurse helped on.
    Hope some of this is helpful
  4. by   Macbs4
    Thanks, berrylion, your ideas should help.
  5. by   HouTx
    LOL - when you were a kid, were LEGOs your fave toy??? My oldest daughter is a software engineer so I can understand that your natural way of thinking is more linear (not task oriented). She has always preferred a "logical progression of events" and has to stop and re-group when faced with something unexpected. Great at math - not so great with ambiguity.

    It would probably help if you are able to visualize/understand patterns among the activities that you need to accomplish. Try grouping them into some type of categorization that makes sense to you. Many new grads find it helpful to sort tasks by priorities, then by patient... visualize a matrix with three columns and a row for each patient. Column A= priority ASAP; do it now or the patient's status will be negatively affected (respond to critical lab value, significant changes in patient condition, etc). Column B = Soon; do it within 3-4 hours or according to a set schedule. Column C= Do it before your shift is over if possible - can be turned over to the next shift if necessary.

    Start by doing all the "A" stuff right away, then go to each of your patients and do the B things, then circle back around and do the C stuff. As new things arise, sort them into the right column and take care of them appropriately. The oncoming shift may grumble when you are handing off your "C" tasks, but you just have to realize that you will inherit their "C" things also. It is a cardinal sin to hand off an "A" task!!! You always need to take care of those personally.

    Don't expect miracles - you'll probably always be uncomfortable with chaotic environments & prefer more structure. More controlled environments such as OR may be more to your liking. In the long run, you may even want to circle back around and take a look at nursing informatics - with your background, you would be undoubtedly be very successful.
  6. by   Macbs4
    Actually, I was a TomBoy, so Legos weren't my thing... but if computers had been invented when I was a kid I'd be addicted to the games.

    You really nailed my preferred style of working (linear). I know I need to adapt.