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How To Effectively Manage Time As a Nurse

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Careers in nursing can be exciting, invigorating and rewarding, but they can also be a little stressful. The healthcare industry offers many enriching career paths, but some of those paths may prove a little demanding.

As you can see below, the typical nurse spends more than three-fourths of the working day interacting with colleagues and patients and managing medication. It can result in days that are exhilarating, but they may also be a little challenging at times. Those new to the field may want to enhance their nurse time management skills early on in their career to help them stay ahead of any stress that might arise. These skills will allow them to focus on what brought them to a career in nursing in the first place: delivering quality care to patients.

If you are new to the nursing profession – or still considering nursing schools – you owe it to yourself to take a look at the infographic below. Note how seemingly-simple tactics such as knowing when to ask questions, when to take charge and when to conduct in-depth research reinforces the fact you are in control. It also helps those you work with see it as well. Developing good nursing time management skills is equally important, as those skills will help you better manage the demands of a busy day.

Stress may occur, but careers in nursing are worth it. By adopting and mastering certain basic proficiencies, you can better manage your time – and your career!


How to Effectively Manage Time as a Nurse 

Transitioning from full time student to a full time nurse can be challenging. Jumping into the real world requires the ability to make quick decisions and multi-task. Naturally, feelings of stress and anxiety may arise. But adopting and practicing good time management skills can help new nurses transition into seasoned professionals in not time.

A day in the life of a nurse. On a typical day, a nurse spends 76 percent of time on medication tasks and interacting with professionals. The other 37 percent of the time is spent with patients. They can complete up to 72 tasks per hour, have 2 interruptions per hour, and on average complete a task in 55 seconds.

Build up your skills. According to an A M N Healthcare survey, the number one concern shared by professional nurses is the pressure they feel not to make a mistake. 

Prepare for pressure by looking for the following items: recognizing their limitations, accepting responsibility for errors, learning from experiences, accessing resources independently, asking questions, and demonstrating engagement.

You can build up your confidence by speaking up and speaking confidently, taking charge of any situation, offering concrete instructions, eliminating words like “I think” before making recommendations, do research first, be prepared and ready to answer questions, enjoy what you do, exhibiting curiosity, contributing, pushing yourself, and embracing change.

Perfect your routine. By enhancing your skills and forming good habits and routines, your days will go by smoothly, and your confidence level and job satisfaction will both rise. 

Follow these steps to help perfect your routine.

  1. Arrive Early: Arrive 10 to 20 minutes early, make a list of daily tasks, read patient reports and map out shift, put tasks on paper to reduce stress, and cross them off to reinforce achievements. 
  2. Prioritize: Rank items on list with good judgement to anticipate quick decisions as needed, categorize items by priority. 
  3. Reduce Interruptions: Ask yourself what is more important and block out some time in your day to deal with inevitable interruptions. 
  4. Organize: Keep an organized workspace and supply area. 
  5. Anticipate: Anticipate the needs of your patients and gather supplies early. 
  6. Take Breaks: This will help you collect your thoughts, relax, and focus. 
  7. Don’t be too hard on yourself: No one is perfect. Enjoy what you do and learn from experiences.

Manage your time and your career. 

Establishing effective time management skills is essential to remaining focused. Equally important, these skills enable nursing professionals to give patients the care they deserve. 

Use these tips as a starting point, but constantly communicate with colleagues and explore additional time management techniques. This helps ensure growth and improvement, as well as reduce stress. 

Sacred Heart University 

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