The average time Nurse Managers spend in meetings is 38 hours per week.
Do you lament that meetings are time consuming and can be wasteful activities. With the average number of hours spent per week in meetings equating to 76% of nurse managers time it's no wonder. We tested this out and came up with three tops tips for curbing meeting overload. There's just got to be a better way!
Over the past few weeks, I've put this statistic to the test. I asked a few colleges to write down all of the meetings that they 'have to' go to and the amount of time spent in meetings in a week. What we found was shocking.
It was true! In most cases except for one nurse manager who had slightly less at 33 hours during the week. The reactions were priceless 'I knew it was heaps of time but I didn't know it was quite that much' said one manager.
The types of meetings ranged from clinical meetings through to organizational meetings such as pressure ulcer working groups, falls committees and leadership meetings. With this information at hand and my colleagues beguiled at the numbers, it made me even more curious.
With so much time spent in meetings and with so many nurse managers lamenting about how much time is wasted in meetings, I asked the group: 'How many of the meetings do you consider to be valuable?'
It may be no surprise to you to that all of them responded that less than 5 meetings were valuable. The meetings that got a tick were the clinical based meetings on their unit, leadership group meetings and meetings with their line manager.
Unless you want to spend over 1,900 hours a year in meetings there needs to be a way to achieve balance. Here are a few of my top three tips.
1. Know your have to's.
Write down all of the meetings you go to and then add up the time it takes per week. Take this information to your line manager and talk to them about what the 'have to' go to meetings are from this list. Of course the meetings on your unit are probably on the ones you need to attend. Negotiating what ones you need to actually attend gives you flexibility to think about how you can maximize your time.
2. Share the love.
Find a colleague that attends the same meetings and work out a shared roster for those that are semi important. Provide your input in other ways such a dot points or feedback. Alternating meeting attendance can ensure your opinion is made yet reduces the workload.
3. Redesign the meeting.
Ever noticed that meetings are scheduled for an hour? Why is that? Its time for a friendly challenge. Ok depending on your confidence, here are a few things you can suggest to reduce the length of time meetings take. By reducing meeting time to 45 min rather than 60 mins is great because it forces the group to be focused and concise. Virtual meetings are another thing you can suggest. It's a great initiative to encourage as it mean you can either Skype or dial in for meetings. This saves you valuable time traveling between meetings. Also the basics can be missing so suggesting an agenda with times allocated to each topic is also a really good way to ensure that people don't ramble on during meetings provided the meeting chair is savvy.
So there are my top three tips for getting more time for doing the work you love and wasting less time in meetings. What's your best tip? How to you curb the meeting overload?Last edit by Joe V on Aug 12, '13
Monica Shaw is a nursing leadership coach dedicated to helping nurses stay on their game.
Joined May '13; Posts: 20; Likes: 17.Aug 13, '13Another strategy is to see if some of your meetings can be delegated to a staff member. For example, at one of my jobs there is an Infection Control Committee and typically the manager of each unit is expected to be a member of the committee and attend the monthly meetings. My manager asked me if I was interested in attending in her place as the representative of the unit and I did that for almost a year (I went per diem so another staff nurse took over for me). I think this was a good idea because it allowed me as a staff nurse to be a part of a committee that makes policy changes, its good to have on my resume and it allows my manager to be freed from having to go to another meeting. Obviously every meeting cannot be delegated but even if a few can be delegated it will free up the manager and allow staff nurses to get more involved in the management of the unit.
!ChrisJan 9, '14Thankfully, my routine meeting schedule is not nearly that heavy. I have a monthly staff meeting that runs about an hour on average, a monthly DON meeting that runs for about three hours, and a one-hour meeting with my mental health staff once per week. If you're spending all your time in meetings, how can you possibly be managing anything?
I once worked for a boss (prior to my nursing days) who always seemed to be in meetings. It would not be an exaggeration to say that probably 75 percent of his time was spent in one meeting or another. He once went to a meeting that had the sole purpose of settting the agenda for the next meeting.Jan 12, '14That seems like a lot of time ! Was surprised at the statistics! Good article! CMS has long frowned upon meeting times and the effectiveness / staff hours required! We try to keep ours to the minimum required, and with some restructuring and targeted organization have managed to reduce this. If everyone is prepared for the upcoming meetings and has done their research prior to, it will flow a lot smoother and thus reducing times "wasted".
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