Nurses typically have an extremely busy and complex job with multiple, competing demands and many patients for whom to care. They must be able to manage their time if they are to be effective. No two days are ever the same in the field of nursing, and nurses must be prepared to handle emergencies and contingencies as they arise. Having a clear idea of the responsibilities and tasks ahead of them each day will help nurses immensely in successfully completing them. Time management in nursing is vital to getting all required tasks completed, managing patient caseloads and feeling less stressed.
There are numerous tasks that nurses must complete in a typical shift, including checking several times on each of their patients, managing medication, answering calls from patients, completing required paperwork and updating patient charts. The safety, health and security of patients depend on nurses being able to manage the numerous tasks assigned to them. Nurses might do well to find the time management tools that work best for them as individuals. Some may keep written checklists outlining their duties, some may keep an electronic log of responsibilities, while still others may be able to keep track of their numerous responsibilities in their minds. Time management in nursing also can be improved if nurses delegate certain tasks to others, such as certified nursing assistants, who can handle some of the tasks for which nurses are responsible.
One major reason time management in nursing is vital is the typically large patient caseloads that nurses must manage. They must ensure they check on each patient several times during each shift as they complete their rounds. Aside from being friendly and compassionate, nurses must answer questions that patients have; ensure they are being medicated, fed and given proper treatment and therapy as needed; and see to it that, when necessary, doctors are consulted. Nurses must regularly check on patients while also handling any contingencies or emergencies that arise, so the ability to prioritize is vital. Nurses often act as the communication link between certified nursing assistants, other nurses, doctors and health care professionals such as physical therapists.
Time management in nursing also is important so nurses feel less stressed. When nurses know what they need to do and have a plan for doing it — along with the necessary room in their schedule to deal with unexpected crises — they will feel more positive about their extremely important jobs. Nurses who feel less stress are better able to take care of themselves and their patients.