1. I am a new graduate working Med-Surg in a large hospital. I've just completed my 6-week orientation period. Now that I'm on my own, I've had my first taste of short staffing (no LPN to pass meds or NA) on a shift. I'm up to the challenge of not complaining or blaming the facility and taking good care of my patients, but I sure could use some suggestions on organization. I run around all day with no breaks, and one patient REALLY needed a bed bath! I spend an inordinate amount of time trying to remember in which room I left my report sheets. I know I'll get more efficient with time, but I would be grateful for anything others have found helpful!

    Thank you,
    Iowa City, IA
  2. 3 Comments

  3. by   Daytonite
    hi, michael! when i first started out as a hospital nurse and when ever i worked extra days for an agency doing staff relief i always made "to do" lists. they helped me stay in focus and for the first months of working they helped me learn to prioritize and learn what things i absolutely had to do and those i could skip over when things got really busy. hope you find the following information useful.

    you have to make a determination and distinction between which tasks are important and those that are urgent. now, for nurses, this can change at a moment's notice. something that was not so important an hour ago can suddenly become urgent. so, you need to have a little group of questions to ask yourself when deciding what you should be doing and when.
    • what is the most important thing for me to be doing right now?
    • what deadlines have i got? if deadlines are now then they win. is your deadline negotiable? can you buy extra time and do it later? (see the link below about procrastination.) if the deadline is non-negotiable, stop what you are doing and go do it.
    • what happens if i don't do this? (this is the most frequently asked time management question) question the value of everything you do and how you do it. think through your routine tasks or tasks that simply take too much time - are you doing them for a reason or from habit? is this important? is this urgent? do i have to do this? can i do this differently? - how to prioritize tasks to manage work time. while this doesn't really apply to nursing, the concepts are sound and can be applied to a nurse working on a busy nursing unit. at first make written todo lists on what ever sheets of paper you use for report or note taking. eventually, you can do these lists mentally, but it takes many, many weeks, perhaps months to get to that point. - prioritizing effectively - prioritizing your day to accomplish more. again, another site for business, but the principles for nursing are there and sound. - setting priorities. - how to manage your time - time management from mind tools - how to break the procrastination habit - how to make a todo list
  4. by   luv2shopp85
    My pda is the best organizational tool I could have ever invested in. I have all the information right at my fingertips.
  5. by   GermPhobe
    I used to lose my "brain" (report sheet) constantly, until I started carrying a clip-board. Everyone else just folded up their sheets and stuffed them in their pockets, but it just didn't work for me. I also lost my pen constantly, until I made a rubber-band tether and attached the darn thing to the clip board!!

    I also made my own, customized brain. I'm good at word-processing software, so I created a table in which to write virtually everything I need to know about each patient. I have 4-patient assignments, so my sheet has four separate tables. At the bottom of each patient's table is a time-line. I make sure to SCHEDULE EVERYTHING at the beginning of my shift, write it on the timeline, and cross it off as I go along. I often use a highlighter for important tasks.

    And make sure you DELEGATE anything you can. I used to try to be friends with my techs. It's much more important to have their respect than their friendship. Make sure they're working as hard as you are!