Dear Nurse Beth,
I have been a nurse for 8 months, and I need some tips on time management. With my patients' level of acuity, the constantly ringing phone, and the patient ratio, I'm feeling more like a medication delivery service than a nurse. I love taking time to connect with patients and families, but perhaps I talk too much because then I fail to chart promptly. I end up working 14-hour shifts to catch up. Do you have any tips on how to balance caring with efficiency? I feel like I've hit a wall and I'm failing to improve as a nurse.
Dear Need Time Management Tips,
I’m so glad to hear from you.You speak for so many new and newish nurses.
You are in the stage of “new job” where you are resolving the ideals of nursing practice you learned in nursing school
and hold dear with the realities of nursing practice as an employee. The challenge is to complete your tasks in the time allotted, and to not lose your values of connecting with your patients.
Every nurse goes through this. The successful nurses find a way to blend both sets of seemingly conflicting values. How to be compassionate and responsive and also how to be efficient.
Your patients need both. You will always walk this tightrope. It is important to resolve this because you are at much higher risk of burn-out until you do.
You must change your practice of procrastinating your charting to charting in real time as much as possible. It’s a habit and you can do it. In the end, it’s an immense relief to stay on top of your charting rather than have it be a looming burden all day.
I really hope you find your way and I am counting on the collective wisdom of the nurses here on allnurses and their practice tips.