New to Nursing? 5 Essential Time Management Skills You’ll Need

April 14, 2016
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If you just finished school and training and are looking forward to beginning your career as a nurse, you probably already know that the job can be hectic. In order to provide a high level of care—while taking care of yourself—it is important to develop a few crucial time management skills.

Think in Sections, Not Individual Tasks

If you just finished school and training and are looking forward to beginning your career as a nurse, you probably already know that the job can be hectic. In order to provide a high level of care—while taking care of yourself—it is important to develop a few crucial time management skills.

Think in Sections, Not Individual Tasks

It’s easier for our brains to do the same task multiple times rather than jumping from task to task. For this reason it is a good idea to lump together similar tasks, and do them in a row. If you need to start four IVs, do them all at once, or submit all samples for testing at the same time to save yourself multiple trips.

Take Breaks Whenever You Can

You never know the next chance you’ll have to eat a snack, use the restroom, or even just sit down for a few minutes. If you suddenly have a bit of time without any urgent tasks, take advantage of it. Try to fit your self-care in when you can and don’t feel bad about it, to care for others you need to care for yourself.

Be Patient and Flexible

Nursing is often stressful, and emotions on a busy floor can run high. No one is served by a coworker that isn’t willing to be flexible and snaps at the first sign of stress. You don’t want to work with someone like that, and you don’t want to be that person to your coworkers. In order to encourage a harmonious work environment it’s important to be flexible and patient, while still being tough when you need to be.

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Prioritize

Sometimes you won’t be able to complete everything you wanted to, and that’s ok. An expert from the Ameritech College of Healthcare says learning how to prioritize tasks is one of the most common challenges faced by new nurses. The nature of nursing is that there are many unforeseen situations that will require your undivided attention. Be sure to focus on the things that are time sensitive and of a higher importance first, and then move on to less urgent tasks next.

Get to Work Early to Prepare Your Mind

All of the above skills require that your way of thinking be altered during your shift, and so it’s a good idea to give yourself time before you begin work to get in the right mood. Try to either get in a few minutes early to sit quietly, or take the time in your car or on the bus to prepare yourself mentally for the coming work shift.

As you become a more experienced nurse many of these time management skills will become second nature to you, but why not give yourself a leg up and develop them now? You’ll be glad you did.