Here are some skills, personality characteristics, and other tips that can help nurses manage their workload and their home lives.
1. Delegate the Right Way
Healthcare is a team effort for a reason. Nurses don’t have enough time to be hands-on with every aspect of patient care. And that’s OK. Other healthcare professionals, including other nurses, are there to do their part.
A good nursing assistant will make life so much better on the floor, but there’s an art to how you use this resource. Don’t simply delegate all the dirty work to your assistant
Nursing, at its core, is all about relationships, which includes your relationships with your nursing assistants. Make sure when you delegate that you’re delegating only because you have a more pressing need that only a nurse can meet.
2. Arrive Early to Prepare the Little Things
Showing up for your shift about 10 minutes early can be a time investment that pays off all day.
Nurses can’t control their workspace the way people in other professions can. Anything can happen in a 12-hour shift. So spending a few minutes controlling the little things can pay off a lot later.
3. Prioritization Is a Nurse’s Best Friend
Time management is all about critical thinking and how to prioritize your time and effort as a nurse.
To get comfortable prioritizing, you need to ask yourself these four questions that can help put everything in its place in your mind and in your schedule:
What am I going to do first and why?
Which is more important to do, and why is it the most important?
What’s the worst thing that could happen if I don’t do it now?
What is most important to the patient?
This is how time management is taught in many nursing schools; but nurses have to remember that they can’t do everything they set out to do in a day.
4. Balance Work With Life
Twelve hours is a long shift and when you add getting ready, commuting, staying late to give that complex report, your workday can easily turn into 14 hours or more.
That can be a struggle for some people, especially those with families and kids, It all depends on your organizational skills. If shift work is stressful for you, then you need to balance out that heavy workload with the things that eliminate stress for you – which can be exercise, hobbies, or time with friends or family.
5. Have Fun
Nursing jobs can be intense, so picking the right times to just goof off or blow off steam in a pleasurable way can help relieve that tension and prevent burnout.
In many ways, time management is stress management. When you’re already overwhelmed, it’s often too late to start looking for time-saving tricks.
Everyone has their breaking point, along with their own ways of avoiding that breaking point.
By learning and using time management skills every day, nurses can get through their shifts successfully and live fuller and happier lives.