Nursing and Time Management

The role of the nurse:

– It is important .that time management is taken seriously by all nurses because time is a valuable resource which-when wasted-can’t be brought back

– Nursing ‘time means money, and wasted time is time not spent with the patient.

– It can be said that time management is about taking "control of your life "both in and’ out of work and managing time enable you to get the important task done with enough spare time to evaluate ‘what have been done


Time management helps you

– to set priorities,

– unimportant things to do another time.

– objectives that you want to achieve and

– implement strategies to help you achieve the objectives.

– Time is a resource just like any other and ‘it can be spent at meetings writing’
a letter doing "an appraisal ,’looking for missing items, trying to remember thing and so on.

– It is your choice how you spend the time you have , and the ability to choose priorities and work out how-long-to spend at a task is one of the qualities of a good time managers

-Time management is the responsibility of everyone. not just managers and also we all have a job to do targets to meet, meetings to go to and some have patients to look after, clinics to organize, and visit to make, so we all must make the best use of our time which in turn helps our colleagues to do their job well, (Perry, A. 1994:5)


General principles of time management:

– Have you ever heard, someone says " I would if I only had time There ‘isn’t enough time in a day ”I just can’t find the time to do it“

– These statements "all reflect ‘the ‘stress of people are experiencing in today’s fast-paced world, in which the one unchanging commodity is the number of minutes in an hour, the number of hours in a day

– Although we can increase the number of hours we devote to a task there is a point at which time will. literally run out. Time is finite. As a result, we have become a very time oriented society. How we can manage time can make us feel good and confident about ourselves .or can make us feel inadequate.

– In a culture so committed to saving time, we feel increasingly deprived of every thing we value. Many corporations have spent large sums of money to involve their employees in workshops,- seminars or conferences expiring techniques of time management Some people resist, the concept of time management, These-individuals suffer from

– The notion that they " work better under pressure " or believe that a " to do " list is all that is necessary to manage time effectively. Others believe that time management is basically just" using good sense ", and as long as-things are going well, give little thought to how. They could be even more productive or .find more leisure time to enjoy relaxing. (Ellis, J. 1992:140 .-.142)..


The four-quadrant TO DO List



Some tips for successful time management

You must: choose .approaches that fit for you. Here are some tips and strategies that may work for you .

1. Sort or end each day by reviewing long-term priorities -(up coming dead lines, commitments…) and establishing short-term priorities (what you want to

2. Keep -an informal-record of how you spend your time for an entire day this will help you know what time consuming but unproductive task and interactions that slowing you down.

3. Remember that projects that have operational details involved are more meanable to delay action than those that involve planning and organization.

4. Delegate? gradually and follow up on each project on a regular predictable basis so that you are well informed and can offer support and advice when needed.


How can we do all what we need to do?

There are, some. techniques .we can use to take control of our overtime, and get the job done Fortunately some excellent resources are available to develop time management skills. Seminars, articles, and, books have been devoted to this topic and these resource’s can help your time management skills will improve only with daily practice.


Suggested techniques that can help include:

1. Take time to review the job description, specific to the role of the nurse manager at the institution. Make sure that the written description matches the real workload of the job.

2. Discuss role expectations with your supervisor and be, sure that both of you are in agreement as to the whole, details.

3. Spend ‘time with ‘your’ staff outlining the role of nurse’ manager. Be sure-that they understand the responsibilities.

4. Budgetary measures, are important but should not consume all your time. Technical assistance for reports, computers, arid personnel need to be available to ensure the most efficient effective methods of budgetary control.

5. list priorities on a weekly basis and spend time updating that list.


Time assessment:

It is an interesting and essential first ‘step in-managing time. More effectively is to identify. How you use your time. You may know whether you area morning or evening person; that is at which time your energy is highest.

It may suggest that you are not ‘using your high energy hours wisely and can identify when it is Best to work on projects. Time assessment can also ‘help you discover time wasters of which, you are not aware. It is also important to recognize your particular time savers.


Asserting control over your time:

One of the greatest expenditures of time involves responding to the requests of others. Learning how to be assertive involve both asking for help appropriately and responding .appropriately to the request from others.

In "nursing.’ however, assisting one another and working as a team are often essential When you ask for help you can be direct, honest, and realistic about your request. You must also acknowledge the right of others to order their own a priorities and not feel it as personal rejection or refusal to help.

One of the most difficult things for sensitive care providers is to say no when asked to assist with a task.

There may be times when you are asked to do something valuable such’ as serve on a committee and’ you "realize that your busy’ schedule will not’ allow you ‘to take on any additional responsibility.

You can be gracious, yet realistic and truthful with your reply it would really’. have enjoyed doing this, but it is impossible for me to become’ involved in any thing else right now ".
If you’ could be available in the future, you could say Thank you for asking me. I can’t take this on right now, but I would like to be considered In the future.

there are other request that would disturb your own responsibilities’ and make it impossible
for you to complete your own tasks so you need to be quite direct and say " I’m sorry but I simply do not have the time’ now.

Avoiding interruption on the nursing unit poses a particular challenge; You may "have to be assertive in informing other staff members that you need time to perform’ certain tasks.

Each time you must re-orient your self to where you are, you can most’ efficiently write the best plan of care if you are in quiet place where there are minimal interruptions


Developing a work sheet:

A daily work sheet is a necessary aid for determining what is to be done each day as ‘well as for establishing priorities. At first, it is best simply to write down tasks-in a "to do’." list. You may find it helpful to keep a running list adding to it as you think of additional tasks.

Some items On the list will have to be at specific times. For example, you will note the times ‘when medications and treatments must be administered.

Other objectives, such as health teaching can ‘be done at any time that is convenient for you and for the patient When you are
assigned to multiple patients, it is often most useful to organize you to do" list by patient and write down the tasks required for each patient.

After you have written your list you can refine and prioritize the items on it however, priorities may change through out the day as new events occur. (Ellis, J. 1992:144,145).


Criteria of a good time management system :

Remember that you are trying to control the controllable, and deal effectively with the uncontrollable

1. Goals (yearly, monthly, weekly, and daily) and deadlines.

2. Daily scheduling and things " to do " list with priorities.

3.Schedule’time for specific activities.

4. Planned communication and other meetings

5. Activities to be delegated with a deadline date and checkpoints.

6. Identifications of and planned, techniques for handling your specific time management problems .(crises, ,interruptions..)

7. Organized materials, files, projects.

8. Clarification regarding assignments (yours and others)

9. Tools (monthly, weekly) calendars a work in progress chart.

10. At least 20% of managerial time should be committed to planning.


The result of good time management

1. You complete your work in the allotted time.

2. You meet dead lines.

3. The quality of your work improves.

4. You can identify and manage your workload.

5. You know what you are doing and why at any given time.

6. Everyone else knows what you are doing and you know what everyone else is doing.

7. You have a sense of satisfaction.

8. Stress level is decreased.


Time Tips



External Time Wasters

Be aware of ways others or the environment waste your time:

  • Interruptions.
  • Office socializing.
  • Too many meetings.
  • Unscheduled visitors.
  • Poor work environment.
  • Unclear goals.
  • Trying to get other’s cooperation.
  • Bureaucratic “red tape”.
  • Others…..


Internal time wasters

Be aware of ways in which you waste your own time:

  • Procrastination.
  • Lack of planning.
  • Lack of priorities.
  • Slow reading skills.
  • Physical or mental exhaustion.
  • Not being able to say “no”.
  • Low motivation.



Procrastination is the thief of time” Edward Young , Night Thoughts, 1742


2. Stop Procrastinating

  • It is a habit of postponement important things to do.
  • Understand cause and develop strategy to fix it.
  • Complete unpleasant tasks.
  • Break large jobs in manageable tasks.
  • Develop a clear mental picture of completed task and how you will feel.
  • People delay because they want to perfect.
  • Schedule tasks for when you will be at your peak.
  • Create to do lists with priorities.
  • Tailor environment for work.
  • Remove distracters.

Task Strategies:

Unpleasant tasks:

Complete these tasks first. Schedule them for early in the day. Give yourself a reward for doing them.

Complex Projects:

Break large jobs into smaller, more manageable tasks.

Fear of the failure (lake of self confidence):

Develop a clear mental picture of the task and how you will feel at that time.

Lack of interest:

Schedule the task for when you will be at you peak.


Set deadlines for yourself. Tell other people your deadlines.

Distraction, lake of focus:

Complete something. Make a very small task for yourself and finish it. very small then, make another one.


3. Prepare for Meetings

  • Make invitation at least two weeks in advance.
  • Send a follow-up confirmation note.
  • Preparing an agenda in advance.
  • Start and finish with positive items.
  • Consider starting meetings at oddball times.
  • Schedule meetings for late in the day.
  • Tendency to move quicker at the end of the day.


5. Delegation

  • Assume all people want added responsibilities.
  • Do not delegate what you can eliminate.
  • Delegate things that aren’t part of your core competency.
  • Some things can not be delegated, performance reviews, firing …
  • Delegate do not abdicate.
  • Delegate the objective, not the procedure.
  • Ask people to provide progress report.
  • Delegate to the right person.
  • Spread delegation around and give people new experience as part of their training.
  • Be sure to delegate the authority along with the responsibility.
  • Trust people to do well


6. How to say No

  • Stick to your plan.
  • When someone persists repeat position in a different way.
  • Saying no saves you (time, cost).
  • Be polite but firm.
  • Provide suggestions or alternatives to the person who is asking.
  • Remind them of what work load you have.


7. Reduce Stress




8. Prevent Interruptions.

  • Prevent interruption from walk-in visitors by isolating yourself.
  • Don’t feel obliged to have “an open door policy”.
  • Block off your time for priorities.
  • Inform co-workers or subordinates you generally like to come in at perhaps 8:00am, and work on your own until 9:30am.only then do you accept meetings.


9. Simplify your life.

  • Write a list of goals you’d like to achieve.
  • Stop being a slave to communication tools.
  • Cut back on television time.
  • Make a plan for the weekend that doesn’t involve work.
  • Make time for yourself.
  • Clean out your office.


The result of good time management

  • Everyone else knows what you are doing and you know what everyone else doing.
  • You have a sense of satisfaction
  • Stress level is decreased.

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