It's not easy to learn the specific organizational skills needed as a nurse, and yet it's very important in the fast-paced healthcare environment where most nurses are forced to hone these skills. While the specific organizational procedures may vary from workplace to workplace and specialty and specialty, some basic organizational tools can help increase any nurse's efficiency.
Being able to organize the day can be the key to success for any nurse, especially for new graduates who may be dealing with patient loads much higher than they had maintained in their clinical rotations. In order to accomplish everything you need to do during a shift, you'll need to have some kind of tool to help you, such as a worksheet or a smart phone app to keep track of your competing priorities. Check each task off as you accomplish it.
Delegation is another skill that is very hard to learn in clinical rotations but is essential to your success as a floor nurse. You will need to learn the strengths and weaknesses of the people you are supervising as well as understand the scope of their limits of care. Some of this information should be available in your unit's policy and procedure book, but make sure to clarify with a supervisor if you're unsure.
Find a Mentor
It's helpful for all nurses to have a mentor. If you know someone who has worked in your specialty area for some time, ask them if they would help you with the finer tips of organizing your day. It will be most beneficial if they've worked in the same facility as you work, but not essential. In fact, you may get some good tips from the fresh eyes of someone who works in a different facility.
Use Your Strengths
Although it's not easy to do on a busy floor with ever-changing patient needs, try to time the schedule of your tasks to coordinate with your strengths. For example, if you are still waking up when you come in on your first hour of a first-shift assignment, you might want to save your more complicated treatments for later in the day. Or, if you have a complicated dressing to do for a patient, make sure you schedule it for when you're most likely to be able to concentrate well and least likely to be interrupted.
KS Dunham began writing professionally in 1995. She authored four health-related books: "How to Survive and Love Nursing School," "How to Survive and Love Your Life as a Nurse," "The Boy's Body Book" and "The Girl's Body Book." Dunham has a Bachelor of Science in nursing from Drexel University.