Is listening to two people at once an acquired skill?

  1. o.k. that may sound crazy but my preceptor will often be shouting commands at me or giving me updates this person got a consult on this or is going for this test, while I'm in the midst of something else. I've also seen her run around during the day literally doing one thing while talking on the phone trying to get something set up or such about another. I know that's just how you have to move because you DON't have any time to waste.

    So my question is how long does it take to develop this ability? My little brain at this point can only seem to focus on one thing at a time. Usually if I'm in the midst of doing something (say I'm looking up info on a pt or performing care, insert whatever here) and she is rambling at me about something else I DON'T remember what she told me at that moment. I might retain bits and peices and not the WHOLE thing and then later reask which - well you guessed it doens't go over so well.

    So how long do you think it takes to develop the ability to do this? ahahahahah
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    About healer27

    Joined: Jan '06; Posts: 118; Likes: 2

    8 Comments

  3. by   MIA-RN1
    my thought is that you should really only do one thing at a time! Too much room for mistakes IMHO. If she starts talking to you while you are doing something, tell her that you can't hear her just now, finish what you are doing, and then ask her what she said.
  4. by   xt1
    Once you get to the point where the procedures you are preforming can be done on autopilot or passively you can then ACTIVELY listen to what people are telling you. The reason you aren't able to do that currently is because you are having to actively think about what your doing with the patient. If it were me I would momentarily switch focus to the person whom is talking to me and actively listen until you understand what they are saying and then return to what you were doing unless of course what your doing is urgrent and needs uninterrupted focus.
  5. by   badtz143
    Healer27,
    I am also a new grad and I feel your pain or frustration. I have asked myself and others the same question. How do the veteran nurses do it? They do one thing while listening to a doc's order or other reports, like they are trained to multitask their brains. I can sorta multitask physically, but not mentally. I have to focus on one thing in order to get the job done right and I was reading you post and you took the words right out of my mouth. I share your frustration. Hopefully, we get better at this brain multi tasking everybody else seem to be really good at. Goodluck to both of us! We can do this!!

    Quote from healer27
    o.k. that may sound crazy but my preceptor will often be shouting commands at me or giving me updates this person got a consult on this or is going for this test, while I'm in the midst of something else. I've also seen her run around during the day literally doing one thing while talking on the phone trying to get something set up or such about another. I know that's just how you have to move because you DON't have any time to waste.

    So my question is how long does it take to develop this ability? My little brain at this point can only seem to focus on one thing at a time. Usually if I'm in the midst of doing something (say I'm looking up info on a pt or performing care, insert whatever here) and she is rambling at me about something else I DON'T remember what she told me at that moment. I might retain bits and peices and not the WHOLE thing and then later reask which - well you guessed it doens't go over so well.

    So how long do you think it takes to develop the ability to do this? ahahahahah
  6. by   EricJRN
    Trust me, you'll master this skill and others, which include extreme elasticity of your extremities from being constantly pulled in multiple directions.
  7. by   soulsearcher
    hello to all in the first year in nursing forum! i just passed boards and will start a new job in just a couple weeks. would anyone care to share some smart tips for entering into the first job as a new rn? have a great one.
  8. by   Hoozdo

    YES, that is more of my problem now after 9 months of being a new grad in ICU. My extremities must be an inch longer now from doing this stat, no - do this stat, no - this is life threatening do this stat!


    Quote from EricEnfermero
    Trust me, you'll master this skill and others, which include extreme elasticity of your extremities from being constantly pulled in multiple directions.
  9. by   acgemt
    In my experience, it can be done...listening to two people at once, or doing two different tasks at once. Should it always happen? No. I truly believe that is how mistakes hppen. When I get really bogged down at work, I literally stop what I am doing...take a breath, and think to myself. Okay, I can only be in one place at a time. I only have two hands. Relax. It helps me out and allows me to reorganize my time.
  10. by   babynurselsa
    Wait til you have at least 2 children and try to have a phone conversation with someone..........
    Ok that was my tongue in cheek response. As a new grad many of the tasks that you are performing are new to you and so you are still having to think step by step. THis requires concentration. Later when you have performed this action about a million times it will not require the level of concentration that it now does and you will be able to absorb what someone else is telling you at the same time. I am not saying that you will become inattentive, I am saying you will be familiar with the task at hand.
    For now when your preceptor distracts you find a polite way to let her know you will obtain that info in a moment. Something like "Hang on a sec till my hands are free so I can write that down...Thanks"
    Good luck and hang in there

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