I was hired two months ago on an abdominal transplant floor. I am responsible for 11 pts, 22 if I am alone. There are so many drains and assists (incontinent, bedpan, or BSC) and Q4 vitals. I am only just getting to the point where my shifts include getting to sit down occasionally and going home on time.
The best advice I can give is twofold: don't be afraid to ask for help (I'm still working on that one) and work on your time management skills.
I don't know if this is universally applicable, but here is my work-in-progress routine (there are variables such as VRE swabs on Mondays, sharps containers MWF, etc.)
7am Get PCT report, get phone and write down RN/PCT numbers on sticker to attach to phone. Write out schedule in blocks of 4 hours (separated by Q4VS.)
730-9 Take and record vitals and QID blood sugars (blood sugar is priority by 730 --the window is 630-730), checking for I&Os and updating whiteboards in pt rooms with current shift information, also stopping for urgent needs such as incontinence.
9-930 Record I&Os and collect breakfast trays.
930-11 Pass out linens (there is usually a "rounder" who does this and gets call lights and blood sugars, unless she is escorting a pt on a heart monitor, in which case I am on my own.) Set up baths and begin assists, instructing pts to call when they need help. Begin complete baths, stopping between for assists. Rarely do I actually get all baths done in this time.
11-12 QIDBS, Q6BS, Q4VS and daily weight.
At this point I have discussed lunch breaks with the other PCT(s). We get 45 min, so assume I take that sometime between 1-3.
12-1 Collect lunch trays and record I&Os.
1-3 Catch up on charting, get updated report from RNs, finish baths, collect samples.
3-4 QIDBS, Q4VS, empty linen and trash bins.
5-6 Collect dinner trays, record I&Os.
6-7 Q6BS. Finish any tasks not already completed.
7-730 Give report to oncoming PCT.
Night shift is less hectic, but there are additional responsibilities, such as restocking glucometers, recording refrigerator temps, and drawing blood for those who are trained to do so.
That schedule sounds so smooth typed up, but we all know there are so many interruptions throughout the day. Complete care patients, needy patients, needy staff, etc.
Between tasks, I typically take a breather, either get a drink or take a bathroom break, maybe even check my phone... cell phone
not work phone!