As a new nurse, I was bound and determined to keep up with the demands of patient care. I started each shift with the goal of doing everything I needed to do for every patient. I anticipated the feeling of pride and accomplishment I would feel at the end of the shift knowing that I didn’t fall behind in my work. Then the unpredictability of health care would get in the way and before I knew it, I was struggling just to give my medications on time. Ugh. Defeated again.  However, it doesn’t have to be that way if you follow the 3 do’s of time management/prioritization:

Meet the do’s:
1.     Must do
The must do’s are those things that are critical to patients outcomes and by not doing them, the patient may be harmed: medication administration, assessing a post-op knee replacement patient for DVT, changing a wound dressing, etc. Identify your must do’s for each patient and schedule them into you day first. These are your priorities.
2.     Should do
The should do’s are those things that are important but not critically important to the outcome of your patient on your shift: patient education, changing a dirty trach dressing, meeting patient’s hygiene needs, reading through the patient’s chart, etc. Although important, they are things that can be done on the next shift.
3.     Could do
The could do’s are those things that are helpful overall but really don’t contribute to patient outcomes: restocking supplies, hanging courtesy bags of IV fluids for the next shift, socializing with the patient and their families, etc. Only do these things once your must and shoulds are done.
Always do the must do’s first, then the should do’s, and if there’s time – the could do’s. Following this process will ensure that at the end of your shift, you will feel a sense of accomplishment knowing that you did the most important things for your patient to have the best possible outcomes even if you didn’t get it all done.
I hope these tips help
Take care and stay connected
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