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5 Myths of Multitasking

Nurses Article   (1,139 Views 17 Comments 893 Words)
by Nurse Beth Nurse Beth, MSN (Advice Column) Writer Innovator Expert

Nurse Beth has 30 years experience as a MSN and works as a Nursing Professional Development Specialist.

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Many of us pride ourselves on multitasking. After all, the nature of nursing is to juggle constantly changing priorities. But what if multitasking causes us to be less productive and less safe in certain situations?  You are reading page 2 of 5 Myths of Multitasking. If you want to start from the beginning Go to First Page.

traumaRUs has 25 years experience as a MSN, APRN and works as a Asst Community Manager @ allnurses.

478 Likes; 14 Followers; 127 Articles; 184,861 Visitors; 20,492 Posts

As nurses we are being pushed further and further into multi-tasking. I am often on the phone with one person, having two other people buzzing in to talk to me, writing orders on a different pt, and then often someone is also talking to me while I'm on the phone....Yikes

 

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24 Likes; 3,528 Visitors; 90 Posts

Wonderful piece. I wish more employers would pay attention to that whole bit about in services in the nurses station. I really think 6, 4 hour training classes a year is what would be best to keep nurses informed. I often did not check my email because by the time the shift was over and I had finally finished charting, I was bushwhacked. I don’t read work emails on my personal time. There is often debate about this between management and myself, what I am responsible for and all that Jazz, but my personal time is any day I am off, if I was to busy with patient care to check my email that is the institution’s problem, not mine. Hire more staff. That’s really how I feel about it. I feel the same with those online modules...I like them but again will not be doing them on my personal time. Thanks for the article.

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jrbl77 has 41 years experience as a RN and works as a Retired RN.

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I can so relate to many of the comments. During my 40 plus career, at one point I could be on 2 phones at once plus keep an ear out for something else. 

Now the thought makes me shudder. I find in my personal life hard to just sit. If I’m watching TV, I need something to keep my hands busy. 

Hold habits die hard.

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bluegeegoo2 has 11 years experience as a LPN and works as a LPN.

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15 hours ago, VivaLasViejas said:

One of the reasons I left nursing was because I lost whatever ability I had to multitask. I got to a point where my brain just crashed, like a computer with too many apps running. There were too many patients/residents, too much to do with too little time to do it, too many distractions. I have never been able to listen to more than one conversation at a time, or work on the computer while watching TV. Nursing made that worse, and then I developed trouble with focus in the later years. I was either scattered, or I was hyperfocused to the detriment of the other tasks that needed my attention at the same time. Highly frustrating, to say the least, and I know from my son's tales of work and my reading here that it's only gotten worse in the five years since I left. 

Same! One of the last shifts I worked I experienced a complete mental shutdown. 

I was passing meds, then one thing after another piled up and I handed my med aide my keys and went on break. I knew I had a million things to do but completely shut down, unable to process a single thought. No anxiety, no emotion whatsoever. I just, stopped. 

That experience helped me to decide to quit nursing as well. 

I don't miss it one bit. 

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RNperdiem has 14 years experience.

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Sometimes I do find myself working on autopilot with my mind elsewhere. I remind myself to keep my head in the game. Focus on remembering everything I see to keep my observations skills in assessment strong.

I am lucky in my job. Sometimes I read heartbreaking posts from new grads who are working in impossible conditions. The workload is crushing, resources to help out are not there, mentoring nonexistent, and although nobody ever says it, cutting corners and dangerous levels of multitasking are the only ways to get through a shift. The nurses blame themselves for not being able to practice quality nursing, but the problem is really a dysfunctional workplace.

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