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During the coronavirus pandemic, nurses emerged as our country’s frontline soldiers against this deadly disease. Statistics released by the WHO last year indicated that at least 115,000 health workers lost their lives since the emergence of this pandemic. However, nurses must avoid risking their well-being while engaged in this brusque battle against SARS-CoV-2. You can become efficient by managing your time properly in the hospital and cause better patient outcomes. We will explain how RNs today can use their time more wisely to accomplish their responsibilities. So, here are some of our tips about effective time management for modern-day nurses.
How can RNs manage their time effectively?
When nurses are overworked, their performance becomes defective. Since the country’s facing an unmatched shortage of nurses– partially due to an ongoing pandemic – nurses working in our health industry today are overburdened. So, it leads to burnout among RNs and undermines their role in current medical settings. How can nurses hone their efforts and become better at their jobs? As we have explained, the answer lies in effective time management. It’s important to manage your duties properly in any medical setting and prevent yourself from burnout. We’ll discuss some suggestions to help nurses deal with exhaustion and remain productive throughout the day. Here are some ways.
1. Switch your shift
Today, many Americans work night shifts that have certain merits over your normal working routine. Some people call it the “graveyard shift,” but night shift nursing has several advantages, e.g., a slower pace, quieter environment, and better salary. Also, night shift nurses have more free time to know their coworkers and create an excellent work-life balance. But these nurses also complain of fatigue, poor diet, and sleep deprivation. So, the following tips help you manage time better.
2. Don’t be distracted
Remove distractions to maintain your productivity even if you’re not switching to the night shift. You should avoid using social media while working and stay away from that talkative coworker in open-space workspaces. These common distractions hinder your efficacy, thus forcing you to spend extra time working in the hospital. We suggest you diminish interruptions, including needless phone calls, someone’s excessive questions, and similar other distractions to save your time.
3. Always arrive early
You can leave early if you arrive early. Thus, reaching the workplace before your shift starts can help nurses get a chance to settle for the busy day ahead. We suggest you reach the workplace around 5-10 minutes before your shift starts and evaluate the “vibe” on the ward. Read your messages, check all allocated tasks, and gather essential supplies for the day. That’s how you avoid reaching the place and getting suddenly mixed up in all the hullaballoo cooking up there.
4. Keep notes meticulously
Start taking notes extensively since writing things down can help you organize your activities for the future properly. This note-keeping can save you from making medical mistakes, thus boosting patient outcomes and allowing you to leave the premises on time. Some nurses keep handwritten records of their patients to avoid any mix-up between them. So, make your lists carefully and eliminate every confusion in your work. That’s how you can keep yourself productive without exhaustion.
5. Learn to say no
We have nothing against being polite with everyone, but it’s healthy to say “no” sometimes. Refrain from overburdening yourself with responsibilities since your mental/physical well-being can’t always endure excessive diligence. Many nurses sacrifice their breaks to accept more work because they cannot refuse something to their colleagues. However, your health demands you decline offers to take a break every once in a while. Manage your breaks properly into your schedule.
6. Take your breaks
Humans cannot operate tirelessly in a machine-like manner without taking breaks more often. Thus, as we’ve explained before, RNs mustn’t sacrifice their resting schedule and avail every opportunity to take a breather. Experts recommend that nurses working twelve-hour shifts get at least three fifteen-minute breaks and one continual mealtime. That’s how healthcare practitioners today can survive their exhausting routines since these breaks help RNs recharge themselves.
7. Multitasking is unhealthy
We’ve repeatedly reiterated this suggestion that multitasking isn’t healthy for anyone. People don’t perform better when they’re juggling two tasks at the same time. Research shows that multitasking is ineffective and degrades your performance. Your brain can’t fathom the multitudes of competing information and doesn’t make great decisions. Instead, you should focus on prioritizing crucial tasks over non-vital ones. That’s how you can stay productive without exhausting your senses.
8. Identify your priorities
Since multitasking isn’t effective, you must prioritize certain duties to stay productive. This practice’s helpful for nurses as it helps them finish their tasks punctually, thereby allowing them to go home on time. Decide which tasks are important and why thus finishing first what’s important. Then you may shift your focus on the tasks with secondary importance. This trick has helped many nurses allocate their time to their responsibilities properly. So, prioritize instead of multitasking now.
9. Create your routine
Creating routines can help healthcare professionals maintain their mental/physical well-being. Thus, nurses must implement routinization in their lifestyles to avoid exhaustion. Routinization improves nurses’ efficiency and allows them to produce better patient outcomes. Establish some constant routines and leverage this consistency to turn tasks into habits. You eliminate unnecessary planning from your life by turning responsibilities into routine tasks, thereby honing productivity.
10. Delegate some tasks
Let’s discuss another alternative to multitasking which is delegating some tasks to your colleagues as well as subordinates. You may supervise as coworkers perform these delegated responsibilities. But it gives you some time to rest and avoid burnout. Also, ensure you’ve delegated these tasks to the right person/people. Moreover, effective communication allows your subordinates to inform you about any irregularities. That’s how you save your time and perfect the work-life balance.
Burnout remained a prevalent problem among healthcare professionals even before COVID-19. We read that almost one-third of nurses leaving this profession in 2018 cited burnout as the reason. Studies indicate that 40-70 percent of RNs are suffering from burnout. So, what’s the solution? We suggest nurses manage their time effectively while working to avoid mental/physical problems. You must arrive at your shift early and take breaks more often to avoid exhaustion. Don’t multitask since it’ll only make you more tired. Consider switching to night duties to have fewer distractions around! You may consider delegating tasks as well to lessen your burden. That’s how you create a fine work-life balance.