Being a nurse comes with a busy schedule and sometimes a certain amount of stress. We’ve put together some tips that may come useful for establishing a good daily rhythm to help you feel less stressed and get more done.
To make sure your shift gets off to a good start, try to arrive just 20 minutes early so you can have some time to read through handover notes and assess your surroundings before your shift. Arriving early will allow you enough time to get an overview of your tasks, giving you the chance to plan your shift more efficiently.
2. Schedule in Advance
Every day will be different and that’s why planning a schedule is easier said than done. Having said that, planning your day in advance and setting up some sort of a schedule can go a long way – try keeping track of how long your daily tasks are likely to take so you can estimate and build a schedule around that. Since you’ll probably spend most of your day responding to patients, knowing how much time administrative or personal tasks usually take can come in very handy when you need to shuffle your day on the fly
3. Prioritise Your Tasks
As a nurse, prioritisation is a must-have skill, so ask yourself these four questions:
- What am I going to do first, and why?
- Which is more important, and why is that so?
- What’s the worst thing that could happen if I don’t do it quickly/now?
- What’s the most important to the patient?
By asking and answering these questions, you’ll be able to identify the most important activities in advance, which will give you more time to set your priorities and make informed decisions for accomplishing any goals.
4. Keep Things Organised
Keeping your desk, desktop, and storage areas neat and free from clutter can increase productivity and help to ensure your shift moves in the right direction – don’t let paperwork pile up at your desk and avoid letting equipment lie around after use, because it helps to reduce workplace hazards too.
5. Learn to Say No
Nurses are patients’ primary caregivers, but with the best will in the world, you only have one pair of hands. You may think you can multitask, but splitting your attention between tasks can actually do more harm than good for you and your patient. Therefore, you will need to learn to say No sometimes.
Good time management means knowing your capacity to take on or pass on tasks. Since you’ll likely work as part of a team, you should be able to delegate your workload. Make sure that you are assigning the right task to the right person under the right circumstance. This may take some time initially, but it can be a real timesaver in the long run.
7. Take a Break
Happy nurses = happy patients. Take care of yourself and take breaks whenever possible. Taking a few minutes away from the ward gives you a chance to relax, gather your thoughts, go to the bathroom, or have a quick snack.