when i was a staff nurse i was team leading for most of it. it is mostly all about knowing what your duties are and being organized. the two tools that you need to start off with are
- to do list - this is a list of all the tasks you will need to get accomplished during your shift of duty including assignment of patients to your staff. this is a list you can start working on now.
- some sort of sheet to keep report on about all the patients you (and your fellow students) will have. it is important to know what is going on with them. i've been making my own report sheets for years so i could customize them to my needs. how you will communicate with your staff is something you will need to figure out, but you will need to keep track of what is going on with each patient some way. organizing is always an endeavor in motion. what works one day needs to be tweaked to accommodate next week's workday. when i was a supervisor and manager i could be approached at any time by a relative or doctor and asked about patient x and i needed to give a response. that is what a good team leader who is on the ball is able to do. here is a list of different report sheets (including my own) that you can look through to see which might suit your fancy:
i began my shift by looking through the kardex and getting the names of all the patient's and their diagnoses on my report sheet. in the old days we tls had a team of 10-18 patients (depending on where i worked). then, based on what our staffing was, and sometimes we didn't know until up until the moment the shift actually started because the supervisors down in the nursing office were still juggling (floating) nursing staff around, i made actually patient assignments. i tried to assign the same patients to the same staff each day otherwise you get upset staff. you also get staff upset if they get the same difficult patients each day, so those patients need to be rotated to the staff. then, we all listen to report. take note of problem situations. if it is day shift, make sure everyone got breakfast trays when you get out of report and that you get any updates from the offgoing staff before they leave. make a quick tour of your patients to make sure they are ok and breathing. check their iv levels. hopefully, you will be starting with no problems. if not, address problems--that's what we do. docs these days make rounds in the mornings before they start their office hours, so look for them. i always tried to nail these suckers down and trot along with them when they went in to see their patients if i had a question for them. it's better to nail them in front of the patient so the patient can chip in because the patient often forgets to ask their doc things because they are so happy to just see the guy show up. (you can tell i've been doing this too long.) periodically, throughout the day, i quickly look at the charts and check for new doctors orders and then look at the doctor's progress notes. it only takes a few seconds, but this is where all the new information is. a doc can slip in, write orders and be gone in 60 seconds. i'm not kidding. some of these docs (especially the ones doing consulting work) will come to a unit while nurses are setting up a procedure room for them just to look at a chart or write orders they forgot to write before and then hightail it back to do their next procedure. i also will constantly poke my head in a patient room as i pass by and ask them, "how are you doing? what's been going on? anything happen i need to know about? what can i get for you?" it makes them feel looked after, you know they are still breathing and alive, that they had patent ivs, and you also know if they had the test that was supposed to be done for them. i never sat down. i was always on the move and i had a bad case of plantar fasciitis. by the end of the shift my report sheet was a mess of circles, "x"s and scribbles, but i knew what they meant. i left a clean, problem free group of patients to the nurse following me. and because i was a whiz with ivs they had no iv problems when i left.
you have to live it, come home and think about how to make the next day better. it is what i did my entire career and how i eventually came up with the report sheet i made.