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Friday, May 14, 2010

Getting (and staying) organized

Today is the last day of my 8 hour shifts. That was two weeks of working straight days. Having experienced working 12s in preceptorship (a mix of days and nights), I now know that I prefer the extended shifts. Granted, you get a lot more of your day on 8s and the sky doesn't look the same when you leave as when you started, but having weekdays off really was the deal breaker for me. Especially now that my hubby is off on Mondays, having 12s gives me the chance to have one of my days off on that day. It's just preference I guess. My friend was saying she likes the regularity of 8 hr days (M-F) because she doesn't have to be away from home at night. I personally don't mind working a couple of night shifts. After all, I'm so tired after my day shifts that I end up sleeping early anyway. We don't end up going out or doing anything really. He's usually on the computer and then I go to bed after watching a couple of episodes of Criminal Minds (yeah, that's our thing hehe. How romantic huh?)

Enough rambling, what I really wanted to write about is how being organized plays a major role in good patient care. As a new graduate nurse, I find that adjusting to the routine of the unit and the full scope of practice is facilitated by having an organizational strategy that works for you. I personally prefer having a sheet of paper or a small notepad (I'd actually pick the paper over the notepad because you can shred it afterwards- that way you don't have to worry about it getting lost and then confidentiality becomes an issue). I then put a tick box beside each task that I need to do for each patient throughout that shift. When I've done that task, I put a check mark on the box. That being said, it also means setting aside a few minutes before the start of the shift to think of what those tasks are, what the priorities for each person are and what the strategy is going to be for the first hour of the day which is really the bussiest.

Today I had two discharges and an admission. It doesn't seem like a lot, but I haven't really done all of that on top of a full load of patients before. It seemed like the 8 hours wasn't really enough, and I often found myself thinking, "I don't think I spent enough time with that patient." That's the real big change from being a student nurse. As a student you have much more time to be with the patients, having a lesser patient load and a limited scope of practice- no taking and processing orders etc. I also found myself looking at my "cheat sheet" many many times just to stay organized. The more organized I am, the more efficient I am with my 8 hours. Here are some organziational tools I found online. Obviously it needs to be adapted to your specific area of practice.

Clinical organization sheets - Nursing for Nurses: " - report sheets for 1, 2, 3, and 4 patients - sample worksheets for nurses - a post that has links to 4 report and time management tools that can be downloaded and printed out"

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