Time management: How do you do it?

Posted
by Michael_65 Michael_65 (New) New

Specializes in Med-Surg.

So I am 3 months into my first job as a nurse. I'm on a med-surg unit in a inner-city community hospital. My biggest challenge at this point is "pulling it all together" so that I get everything I need to get done by the end of the end of the shift: Meds, patient assessment and care, charting, lab result reviews, physician calls, admitting, discharging, preparing patients for procedures, keeping track of new physician orders, dealing with whatever emergencies come up (and they always do...). How do you do it all SAFELY, and still report off on time?

Nursing school only prepared me in a theoretical way. Real-life nursing is far more complicated than anything I encountered in clinicals. The veteran nurses on my unit make it look easy. I watch the vets and try to learn as much as I can from them, but I still feel as if I am running around like crazy and wasting a lot of time.

I'd love to hear from some of the veteran nurses on this forum. You have no idea how much we rookies appreciate you. How do you manage your time?

Mr Ian

Mr Ian

Specializes in mental health; hangover remedies. Has 15 years experience. 340 Posts

Nursing school only prepared me in a theoretical way. Real-life nursing is far more complicated than anything I encountered in clinicals. The veteran nurses on my unit make it look easy.

It'll come.

As you become more proficient with your tasks your time will manage itself.

LilyBlue

LilyBlue

Has 10 years experience. 288 Posts

I prioritize. Assessments, meds and basic patient comfort are a priority. Our charge nurse (which I sometimes am) handles calling physicians, monitoring lab values, and the like. That doesn't mean I dont review radiology and lab reports myself if I get the chance. But sometimes I don't have the chance. I chart as I go - have tried it all ways and have found that I end up forgetting important information if I don't. I make it a priority. We sometimes have an admissions nurse, and sometimes don't. If we don't, I do have to drop what I am doing and go get the patient out of the ER (which I think is total crap).

Bumashes

Bumashes, MSN, APRN, NP

Specializes in Hospitalist. 476 Posts

I have one of those little keychain voice recorders. How do I use it? Let's say I'm in the middle of 3-4 smaller tasks, and I suddenly get told that my new admit is here. Well, I just whip out my little voice recorder and say, "Need to clarify med order for room 2234, get a new remote control for room 2267, call in a GI consult for 2246, and ambulate room 2238." Then, when I'm done with what needs to be immediately accomplished with the new admit, I whip out the recorder and listen to my To Do List. This way, I don't get stuck at the end of my shift with that "Aha" moment that comes when I realize several little things I forgot to do. I tried this same thing with a tiny notebook, too, but I found I didn't utilize it as much as the recorder. The recorder itself is actually just a little kid's toy. It's in the shape of a little microphone. They have more professional ones, though, in the electronics section. Just a suggestion.

rhondaa83

rhondaa83

173 Posts

EXPERIENCE! Try doing it the old fashioned way, by just trying to remember everything. Of course the experienced people make it look easy, they have been doing it for a long time. Everyone starts out NEW. EVERYONE.If that does not work, then go to that recording device or something.

NewRN2008, ASN, RN

Specializes in Ortho; Gyn; Urology; HBOT; Emergent. Has 8 years experience. 573 Posts

i am totally a list person. in the beginning i would write down the tasks i need to get done for the day and cross them off as i got them done. not only do you get things done right, its more timely, your not worried all the time about forgetting and, in the end- you feel better about yourself because you have crossed something off.

now, i am only using shorthand with my pt info sheets. i honestly dont write tons and lots down, because it becomes a "routine" as much as it can with things always changing and getting thrown in.

there are many many nurses that still use a "cheat sheet" if you want to call it that. it makes it much easier to keep organized for many. ask around, everyone i have ever met is willing to share!

gl!!! and i swear, it will come to you

-h-rn

a side note, must be nice to have your charge do things like that! wow!! ur very lucky!

x_coastie

x_coastie

90 Posts

Great thread, thanks for posting. I am in the same boat. I feel like I have all the pieces but putting them together takes me too much time.

Has anyone noticed that males have a tougher time multitasking? One of my instructors mentioned that she has only seen a few men that could multitask as well as females. In my case it seems true.

meluhn

meluhn

Specializes in acute rehab, med surg, LTC, peds, home c. Has 16 years experience. 661 Posts

I try to stick to a routine, more or less but things always come up. If I have to do something that deviates from my normal routine, I try to give myself a visual clue. If I need to tell a dr something, I write a note on the patients page about it and use a (drinking) straw as a placeholder to remind me. Same thing if I need to get a consent signed or something, I stick it in my paperwork so I don't forget. I keep all my papers with pt info(meds, report sheet etc) in a binder organized by room number so I can quickly flip to the pt page. Anything to do with that pt goes in their "file". At the end of the shift it goes in the shredder. I write an acronym for all the charting I have to do so I can cross it out as I do it. On each pt I write somewhere on their paperwork the acronym M-V-P-1-2-3-ed-I&O. This way I cross out the M after charting meds for that pt and the V after charting VS and so on down the line. With 6-8 patients it is hard to remember what I charted and for who unless I do it like this. Before this system I used to spend alot of time checking to see if I charted on things because I couldn't remember it all.

moseshopper

moseshopper

Specializes in Telemetry. Med/ Surg.. Has 20 years experience. 54 Posts

I FEEL YOUR PAIN, WE DO NOT CHART ON PAPER ANYMORE WE HAVE ELECTRONICAL CHARTING AND EVEN THOUGH IT IS NICE IT IS VERY TIME COMSUMING. I HAVE TO HAVE A LIST AND MARK OFF AS I GO. IT IS VERY FUSTRATING CAUSE YOU DON'T FEEL YOU GIVE YOUR PATIENTS ALL YOU CAN CAUSE YOU HAVE TO GET YOUR CHARTING DONE CAUSE YOU KNOW THIS IS WHAT YOU GET RAISES BASED ON. REMEMBER THE SAYING " IF ITS NOT DOCUMENTED ITS NOT DONE"!:up:

truern

Specializes in Telemetry & Obs. 2,016 Posts

We get "onlines" each morning for each of our patients. They have the pt name, age, sex, dx, doc name, etc across the top and contain a list of the current orders. I highlight pertinent orders such as IVF, treatments, etc I write a brief history at the top and put the reason for this admission in the top right hand corner. Then I write times for meds, labs, etc in green along the left side (green for GO do..hehe). I also put any preps for test, etc in that list. Along the bottom I write in red anything I need to pass along to the next shift. I also draw blank lines beside labs, tests, etc for the results.

Sooo..basically anything written in black/blue or highlighted is for my information, things in green are things I need to do that day, and red is information for the next shift.

If I have the same patient the next day I staple the new online to the old one for continuity...plus I already have history, etc.

Jerry Kipler

Jerry Kipler

2 Posts

I use to have problems with keeping my schedule under control. For instance, one time I to be at a council meeting at two and take work off so that I could be at it and then be back to work just so I could leave in thirty minutes to leave for my sons school performance. I almost missed all three because I wasn't managing my time accordingly. I was lucky to find some virtual administrative assistant information that directed me to a site that, once used made my schedule look much cleaner and proficient.

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