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I am a new nurse and would like to manage my time better. How do I prepare for my shift?

October 29th, 2021

Time management is definitely an important skill to have. As far as getting prepared for your shift, I would suggest not going in at the last minute. For example, my shift is 06:45-19:15. I arrive about 06:30 so that I have time to get in there and use the restroom (my drive is an hour one way), grab handoff papers and look at my patients and their admit diagnoses. I then take handoff report and begin looking at labs, meds for the entire shift, blood sugar checks, etc. so that I have a plan for the day. By the time I get done, I can do my 07:15 blood sugar checks and dose insulin if need be or any other early meds. Then I go ahead and pull meds and have them ready so that at 08:00 I can start my med pass and assessments. I try to cluster my care for each patient. If you need to, jot down notes for each patient but once done with med pass and doing the assessments, it’s pretty easy to get everything charted. That gets me ready for the lunch time glucose checks. It does get pretty rough if you have a bunch of doctors rounding in the midst of all of that or anything extra going on. Hopefully you work on a good unit where you can ask for help if need be. And, keep in mind prioritization. There was a morning when I was still in orientation that I was in the middle of passing meds and I was told discharge paperwork was in on another patient. Don’t think you have to jump right to that task. It’s an important task, but your meds have a time frame to be completed by. Unfortunately for the discharging patient, they can wait even if they would rather not. It’s up to you to decide what’s the most important tasks to complete first. And if your patient has to wait, just let them know. I told my patient his discharge stuff was ready but I needed to get a couple more meds passed and I would take care of him as soon as I was done. He was fine with that. Letting your patients and coworkers know that you are going to do something in a moment and you’re not ignoring it is helpful. Again, don’t be scared to ask for help. Every unit is different. But go in with a plan in mind. Get yourself set up to stay on track. A lot of nurses just write down how many meds they have at each hour or whatever, but I prefer to write out what each med is and the dose so that I know when I’m pulling them to look for multiples or make sure I have a pill cutter with me because the med dispense doesn’t always tell you how many pills to pull. And understand that it takes time to get your own routine. When you orient, you kind of go with the flow of your preceptor, but on your own you really get your own groove. And it’s going to be ok. And know that sometimes, you will be derailed off your plan no matter how prepared you try to be. And that is ok too.

November 9th, 2021

Pray, lol, seriously though prayer and meditation help to center me before a shift.

December 29th, 2022

Ultimately your time before work should be reserved for your own peace to prepare mentally for what may be asked of you. That being said, when it comes to preparing for work tasks ahead, You cannot prepare for what you do not know. Therefor, prepare for the longest/ hardest task possible and make sure that you leave yourself enough time and ability that if it were asked if you, it could be done. If you plan for the longest possible task, all shorter tasks should have plenty of time available to be completed.

November 29th, 2021

Think ONE step ahead, make a to-do list.