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Why are some RNs rarely busy, while others are always busy

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Is the RN who is not busy all the time a better nurse, more organized, and efficient? Or is the busy RN the better nurse? I've seen RNs who are never busy, but others nurses say they are horrible nurses.

Sour Lemon

Has 9 years experience.

On 4/11/2020 at 6:21 PM, DesiDani said:

Is the RN who is not busy all the time a better nurse, more organized, and efficient? Or is the busy RN the better nurse? I've seen RNs who are never busy, but others nurses say they are horrible nurses. 

There are a bunch of possibilities. Assignments vary from day to day, of course. And some nurses look out for their friends and make sure they're assigned the easiest patients.

I once worked the opposite shift and took over for a nurse who was never busy (on our regular shift) ...and oh boy! Medications were left in cups at the bedside, piggy backs that were supposed to have been run were documented as given but not even connected, an obtunded patient with a feeding tube had a bunch of pills in and falling out of her mouth, blood and urine soaked linens were simply covered up with a clean blanket, etc.

Some nurses are actually well-organized, but someone who is never busy when everyone else is always busy is suspect to me.

brownbook

Has 36 years experience.

Common sense says any worker in any job shouldn't have a lot of downtime every day, or shift. Especially when co-workers are obviously busy.

Maybe some workers are super efficient?

Personally if I'm all caught up I seek out something work related to do. I hate sitting around doing nothing, watching the clock.

I’m crazy efficient so I rarely “look” busy but that doesn’t mean I’m not working hard.

JadedCPN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Pediatrics, Pediatric Float, PICU, NICU. Has 15 years experience.

43 minutes ago, Wuzzie said:

I’m crazy efficient so I rarely “look” busy but that doesn’t mean I’m not working hard.

Same. Which works out in my favor when I actually do look busy because my coworkers know that means I’m really drowning. But otherwise I always make sure everyone around me doesn’t need help with anything.

On the other hand, I know many nurses who are always “busy” and frazzled every single shift no matter what, even if they’ve got the “easy” assignment.
It’s all in perspective and of course time management.

Edited by JadedCPN

K+MgSO4, BSN

Specializes in Surgical, quality,management. Has 12 years experience.

On 4/11/2020 at 8:36 PM, JadedCPN said:

Same. Which works out in my favor when I actually do look busy because my coworkers know that means I’m really drowning. But otherwise I always make sure everyone around me doesn’t need help with anything.

On the other hand, I know many nurses who are always “busy” and frazzled every single shift no matter what, even if they’ve got the “easy” assignment.
It’s all in perspective and of course time management.

Agree.

mmc51264, ADN, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in orthopedic; Informatics, diabetes. Has 9 years experience.

I am really good at multi-tasking and had a natural affinity to EPIC. I started at a LTC so learned time management and prioritization early. I don't think I am a better nurse, but I feel like I am efficient.

I also can't sit still much. I'm the one that will clean out chart boxes, check the little drawers in the rooms. I find all kinds of interesting things 🙂 .

Some nurses are very methodical and slow and they are great nurses. I just hate leaving things undone because you never know when something might go wonky.

CalicoKitty, BSN, RN

Specializes in Med-Surg, Geriatrics, Wound Care. Has 9 years experience.

Sometimes people don't look for things to do. Sometimes I come into shifts (I work nights) and cleaned up crap that hand't been done..

Some of my pet peeves are when meds are ordered wrong. I really hate when the binders for dialysis patients are ordered TID, so they populate at 6am, 2pm and 10pm. Before and well after meal times. This annoys me because it was ordered wrong by a doctor, missed by pharmacy, and not picked up on by nurses...

I know patients don't get turned. Heck, barely out of bed, it is "easier" (faster) to clean a bed than to get a patient to the toilet/commode.

Orders that were never done - labs, ecg's, new(ish) meds.

I know I have more time during the nights, so I try to sort through overdue "tasks" and figure out what was not done and rectify it. But, it can take a lot of time. Lots may be me just sitting in front of the computer, so maybe I don't even look busy. 😄

amoLucia

Specializes in LTC.

On 4/11/2020 at 6:35 PM, Sour Lemon said:

Some nurses are actually well-organized, but someone who is never busy when everyone else is always busy is suspect to me.

Oh, just to follow behind that person and you'll soon come to your own conclusions!

buckchaser10

Has 4 years experience.

As others have said, some busy nurses are truly busy while others suck at time management. Some non-busy nurses are great at time management while others are just lazy. Regardless the old adage time to lean time to clean applies to the latter group. If you aren't busy (no charting, no patient care tasks) you really should be doing something to better the unit or build rapport with the patients. After all, nurses aren't busy they just play cards all shift (serious sarcasm.)

BSNbeDONE, ASN, BSN, LPN, RN

Specializes in Med/Surg, LTACH, LTC, Home Health. Has 35 years experience.

On 4/11/2020 at 6:35 PM, Sour Lemon said:

There are a bunch of possibilities. Assignments vary from day to day, of course. And some nurses look out for their friends and make sure they're assigned the easiest patients.

I once worked the opposite shift and took over for a nurse who was never busy (on our regular shift) ...and oh boy! Medications were left in cups at the bedside, piggy backs that were supposed to have been run were documented as given but not even connected, an obtunded patient with a feeding tube had a bunch of pills in and falling out of her mouth, blood and urine soaked linens were simply covered up with a clean blanket, etc.

Some nurses are actually well-organized, but someone who is never busy when everyone else is always busy is suspect to me.

THIS!^^^^^^^^^^^^

It’s Sunday morning. Don’t get me started!🤬

meanmaryjean, DNP, RN

Specializes in NICU, ICU, PICU, Academia. Has 44 years experience.

I used to work with a nurse who spent the FIRST hour of her shift having breakfast, a second cup of coffee and schmoozing with her co-workers - and the LAST hour of her shift begging for help because she was so hopelessly behind.