How to become organized as a new nurse


Hi as a M/B nurse who has been out of the feild of nursing for the past 10yrs, to raise my children. Now I am back in nursing again and I am scared to death of starting because I felt so disorganized while preceptoring during my time of clinicals for a refresher program. I completed the refresher program and really am starting as a new nurse. I am now looking for a job but I just feel like a real slow poke, and so diorganized. Has any one ever experienced this before? Can I have some good advice to help me overcome this fear.


1,174 Posts

Specializes in Cardiology, Oncology, Medsurge.

Little things that might help:

1. Have a three ring binder with all the pertinent things you want at your finger tips: ie, spelling of medical diagnostic/surgical procedures; drugs (ie: the bolus amount and the rates for amiodorone), protocols, patient's assigned to you, their cardexes. The great thing about this is you don't have papers flying all over the place!

2. When at work write a simple list of three things you need to accomplish for each patient (triaged of course!) and then after completing the list of three, start another. I call this the law of threes.

Specializes in Ortho; Gyn; Urology; HBOT; Emergent. Has 8 years experience.

just go back to the basics.. i totally agree with the other person that posted (of course i dont remember the name...srry) the basic books and lots of tabs and post-its.

Heck, you have a head start, you have had to manage a family! thats organization in itself! even if it was organized chaos!

GL! you will do great!



412 Posts

Has 20+ years experience.

I work nursery and NICU. I find that having a really well-thought-out report sheet that helps me organize myself is key.

I am known for creating custom forms, especially 'cheat sheets' for various processes. You will probably have to work on a unit for a little while to get a feel for things, then you can go to work creating a form that helps you. Think about what things/info you frequently have problems remembering or having handy, then make a form that helps you keep track.

I find that having little boxes to check or even the options for something typed out so all I have to do in report is circle the right thing helps speed things up considerably.

(ie. G___/P____ Vag C-sec for ___________

Maternal GBS: Neg. Pos. Unkn. Tx ____ ) you get the idea...

Find well-organized coworkers and ask them what they do to keep up. You can get some ideas that way, too. Good luck.


1,549 Posts

Specializes in Post Anesthesia. Has 30 years experience.

I agree with teleRNer suggestion. Short term goals lead to long term gains. When I'm getting report I make a note of that labs and proceedures I need to accomplish with each patient. Then I set priorities for the next 15-30 min. What are the most pressing needs on my team in the next 15-30min. Accomplish those and reset. In my unit I can handle and assignment without thinking much about it, but on an unfamiliar unit I still have to use the "what's most important system" Even after

20+ years of staff nursing if I look too far ahead I get a little "shell shocked" and find I don't get anything done.


10 Posts

Thanks for the many responses to my thread. I am truly encouraged. I will definately try to follow the "laws of three", TeleRNer. I've never thought of how raising my five children over the past ten years, I may have learned to be organized, but I guess it's like anything else, I have to spend some time on the floor and that takes time. I will also try to incorporate having little check off boxes on a customized "cheat sheet". When I begin to work I will give an update on this thread and tell how it is working for me.


10 Posts

I'll implement this. Thanks

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