Contrary to popular belief, working as a nurse is challenging. Even with substantial experience, things can go wrong for the nurse and the patient under treatment. With demanding schedules, zero breaks in most cases, and being around the sick leads to burnout. 

At the same time, effective time management skills are essential to maintain a healthy work-life balance and move up the career ladder. These healthcare professionals must take care of their homes and families and carry out nursing duties such as assessing patients and helping them move inside a healthcare facility.

Ultimately, time management skills enable them to arrange and prioritize medical care, academic duties, office work, and personal commitments. Professional responsibilities can get in the way of other commitments, and one such commitment is higher education.  

Of course, working as a nurse, you will have to learn to improve your nursing skills. But, due to the recent COVID-19 pandemic, staffing shortages, especially in Texas, have made it difficult for nurses to focus on their studies. This is because most of them lack time management skills. 

A simple search on Google reveals 23,000 more vacancies in Texas than the number of nurses available to fill them. 

So, if you’re a nurse in Texas or any other state battling this dilemma, here are a few time management tips to help you prioritize. 

1. Take advantage of Online Nursing Degrees:

Nurses can learn to manage their time by enrolling in online degrees, especially when juggling their personal, professional, and academic lives. 

For instance, if you work as a nurse in a Texas-based healthcare facility, you can enroll in UTA online nursing programs to learn new skills, polish existing ones, and move up the career ladder. 

Moreover, you can choose your study schedule, class times, and difficulty level in an online program, whether for a nursing degree or in another subject. This allows you to carry out your professional duties without worrying about missing courses and falling behind in your studies.

2. Don’t Go Overboard with Multitasking:

Of course, you will probably have a lot of duties on your to-do list, especially if you are a working nurse or a nursing student. But that doesn’t mean you go overboard with multitasking. Instead, perform one task simultaneously, especially if you lack multitasking skills. According to a recent study, multitasking is inefficient and can harm our brains.

You might have difficulty understanding what you’re hearing and seeing while multitasking. The study concluded that multitasking reduces your ability to set priorities for tasks and manage your time effectively.

3. Learn to Say No:

Some tasks can wait, such as answering all questions attendants throw at you or a colleague asking for a patient’s blood report. Learn to say no, and don’t feel guilty if you realize something isn’t urgent. Unless particular tasks are related to providing direct patient care, avoid taking on jobs and activities that are not high on your list of priorities.

4. Learn to Be Organized: 

Try to maintain order, cleanliness, and organization in your workspace. Put your equipment away in its right location after use. After all, if you waste time looking for items here and there, you won’t be able to manage your time effectively. Additionally, doing so will remove workplace risks and give you increased control over your office.

Moreover, follow your job schedule as closely as you can, too. It will enable you to foresee any changes in advance and spare time on pointless visits to buy equipment, for example, when prepping for surgical procedures.

5. Learn to Delegate Tasks: 

Healthcare is a team effort and cannot be completed by one person. However, not all aspects of patient care require nurses to be actively involved. Nevertheless, you probably don’t need to dive in if you think other healthcare-related tasks require you, and that’s acceptable. 

Nurses and other medical staff members are present for a reason. Your life on the hospital floor will be much easier if you hire a good nursing assistant. However, it would be best to use this resource to your advantage. 

Don’t give your nursing assistant all your responsibilities because this will eventually overburden them and cause fatigue. Instead, ensure you’re only assigning duties when you’ve got another urgent problem that only a nurse can fix. 

By indicating to your nursing assistant that you’re not going to ask them to do all your dirty job, you’ll save yourself a ton of time in the long run.

6. Learn to Prioritize:

Use your own formulas, whether you underline or asterisk jobs that must be completed during your day shift, at a specified time, or on a particular day of the week. i.e., applying bandages to wounds, giving antibiotics, or getting patients ready for surgery. 

Ask yourself a few questions. What tasks do I need to prioritize above others? What will I complete first, and why? Prioritize the most necessary and urgent nursing duties so that they can be completed well in advance, allowing you to save time and multiple headaches.

7. Leverage Routinization:

The best way for nurses to improve their time management efficiency is through routinization. In fact, systematic repetition of successful actions can be used to ensure consistency in their performance. Ultimately, sticking to a routine consistently improves a nurse’s time management skills by making essential nursing duties into habits and removing pointless planning.

Consider how we get up daily, brush our teeth, shower, and have breakfast. The nursing profession is no different. Routinization is beneficial for completing daily physical examinations or gathering patient health histories, which are common nursing tasks.

8. Take Advantage of Technology:

When attempting to manage your time effectively, there are countless ways to leverage technology to achieve such a goal. For instance, you can utilize EMRs and other medical technology or apps like Evernote for organizing your to-do lists on your computer, tablet, or phone. 

So, contrary to what older, more experienced nurses may think, technology is your best friend for better time management!

Final Words:

It takes a lot of patience and effort to become proficient at time management. After completing your shift, consider what functions best for you. Remember, there will be situations in which you have no control. 

However, you can identify areas where you can significantly improve and make adjustments necessary to become a more effective and efficient nurse.

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