The Organized Registered Nurse

Organization is critical for registered nurses and even for those who are just enrolled in a registered nursing program. When it comes to multi-tasking, RN’s need to hone their skills quickly. Being organized won’t only improve a nurse’s ability to provide the best possible care, but it is also a critical tool to help alleviate the stresses that can unfortunately be considered an “occupational hazard” for many busy nurses.

Here are 6 ways registered nurses and those in a nursing program can stay organized.

1. Good Registered Nurses Get to Work a Little Early

Registered Nurse ProgramsArriving on the job a few minutes before starting is important for you to start your shift off on the right foot. Taking the time to organize your station, inventory your supplies assess the environment and get feedback from the other nurses who you are relieving will help you start your shift in a calm, intentional manner.

2. Registered Nurses Set Daily Priorities

One of the most helpful ways to tackle organization as a nurse is to establish a system of prioritizing tasks. Obviously, the tasks that are the most unpleasant tend to be put off until the end of the shift or even worse, left for the next shift. This starts a cycle of dread and is not a positive way to start your shift. Consider tackling these tasks first thing to get them out of the way.

3. Registered Nurses Take Charting Seriously

Charting, many nurses’ least favorite task is perhaps the most critical task necessary to provide a continuum of care for the patient. Consider taking the time to document as you go along, pausing momentarily to complete the necessary documentation on each patient before checking in with your next one. Consider using special nursing software that will make charting and scheduling less time consuming. Albeit, emergencies are a part of the job as a nurse but leaving your charting to accumulate until the end of a shift can really put a damper on your workday.

4.Organized R.N’s  Delegate

Remember that there is no “I” in team. Providing excellent care requires a team of individuals dedicated to the same purpose- the care of the patient. It is not worth sacrificing the quality of care a patient gets in order for you to fulfill a certain quota. Do not hesitate to delegate tasks to an aide if possible and ask for help if needed. Pride should not trump quality in the field of patient care. Check in with your co-workers and don’t be afraid to ask for help.

5. Avoid distracting social dynamics

Keeping focused on the task at hand may seem like a no brainer for most people but unfortunately, where there are people, there will be gossip. As a professional, remember to avoid being part of any conversations that don’t pertain to the job at hand, especially ones that aren’t productive, (i.e. gossip!). It not only is a distraction for you, but sheds a negative light on you as a professional and impedes your ability to complete the task at hand with grace and ease.

6.Efficient R.N’s Make lists!

Although unexpected crises can inevitably derail your day, try to tackle the day with an adequate knowledge of what to expect. Take a minute to check in with your nurse supervisor and get a gauge on what his/her expectations are for the duration of your shift. Consider the following questions when organizing your day- what are issues that require the most urgent attention? When are meds due? Which patients need to go for tests? Who is in need of dressing changes and how often? Don’t assume that you will remember all this information- keep a little notepad in your breast pocket and be equipped and ready to make note of anything that you could casually forget.

The great thing about the vocation of nursing is that everyday is different, providing new challenges, new faces and a new set of opportunities for you to grow as a professional and help others through a trying time in their lives. Taking the time to get organized will help you to not only enjoy your work more but also put your best foot forward for your patients and co-workers alike.

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Sharon Smith is an avid blogger. If you need to organize your time or you need to manage shift schedules for others, look into nurse scheduling software.



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  1. Johnnny Dull (CNA) says:

    All the RNs I know are really swamped with work, no matter how organized they are. Fact is that in some jobs it is very difficult to manage your time with different tools. As soon as you will figure out a way how to do your charting faster, someone else will need your help and all you have done is that you have created even more work for the day, so it is never ending cylce!

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