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Time Management & Work Prioritization in Nursing

Instructor: Emily Sheff

Emily has taught in several nursing courses. She holds a masters degree as a FNP and is currently working on a doctorate in nursing education.

This lesson covers the role of a nurses aide when it comes to time management and work prioritization. Several strategies are discussed to assist the nurse aide in this role within the healthcare team.

Time Management and Work Prioritization in Nursing

The role of the nurse's aide is an essential part of the healthcare team and while it can be a very rewarding career there can be stressful aspects of the role. If time management and the prioritization of work assignments are your biggest concerns, here are some suggestions and proven methods to help you become the best nurse's aide you can be!

Create a Schedule

At the beginning of every shift there should be a conversation between each nurse and nurse's aide. Some organizations group an aide to 1-2 nurses while others group aides by geographic location or patient acuity. Depending on the scheduling style of your organizations you may need to talk with 3-4 nurses with whom you share patients with. Make sure you arrive early enough so that you can have all of these vital conversations prior to the start of your shift.

These conversations should include what the nurse is expecting to be completed during the shift for your shared patient. Do they need to have vital signs done, daily weights, I&Os recorded, need to be bathed, or any other care done throughout the day? If so, are there any time limitations, or do they need to be done more than once (in the case of vital signs or I&Os usually). Are there any restrictions on the patient's diet? Communication amongst the healthcare team is vital. Not only will this help ensure you are doing the best job you can, but it will also save you a considerable amount of time throughout the day as you will not be needing to track down the nurse to answer every question.

Once you have communicated with all of your assigned patient's nurses, you can then create a schedule (usually an hourly schedule like the one below, for example), so you know who will need what, and when, and then plan out how you can get it all accomplished in a timely manner.

sample schedule

Be Prepared

There is a reason hospital scrubs and lab coats have so many pockets! Always make sure you have your essential items with you at all times. Your stethoscope, a working pen, and a permanent marker are just a few basic essentials. Take note of what you find you need to have on you at all times and be sure you start your shift prepared!

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