Working long hours can be hard on anyone! It is easy to forget some of the basic steps we can do to make those long hours less taxing. Start your new year right by following these 7 basic steps in making your work life easier.
1. Don’t just be on time; be early!
This step is true in any work place—not just nursing—but it is just as crucial in nursing, if not more. Arriving to work 15 minutes early can make a huge difference in your work shift. Instead of rushing to try and beat the clock, you can take your time and diminish a lot of stress. You’ll also have time to do the preparation necessary for your shift. An example of this is taking report at shift-change. This will help prevent resentment from the team you are relieving. Imagine if the person that was supposed to relieve you showed up late. Try and be courteous to your fellow employees.
2. Review the orders
More often than not, during the rush of a shift-change, nurses forget to carefully check their orders. Remember the basics and thoroughly review, with the nurse coming off shift, the right dosage and times for medications. Make sure that both you and the off-going nurse sign off on the doctor’s orders and remember to do this after every change of shift. Doing this will not only make your shift easier but will decrease the likelihood of negative consequences for your patients.
3. Organize your station or work area
Organizing your work area puts you in back in control. When I ask nurses about why they feel overwhelmed, it’s often not just from the patient load, but from the chaos of their work environment. Part of the duties in being a nurse is to also keep the patient environment as safe as possible. By doing this, it will help put the patient and their families at ease.
4. Take inventory
After report, take inventory of the supplies you will need for the entire shift. This may seem like a lot of work when first arriving for your shift, but in the long run it will be beneficial. By doing this, it will prevent having to run around from bedside to bedside, unit to unit, for the needed supplies. Also make sure you know where the emergency equipment is, just in case.
5. Arrange your break-time
In many cases charge nurses/team leaders are pretty flexible when it comes to nurses scheduling their own break-times, so use it to your advantage. When you notice your workload is at its lightest, schedule your break then so when you do go on break you will be less stressed and can truly relax. If your team leader schedules your breaks, then make sure your more complicated tasks are done beforehand. Don’t forget to take your breaks. Even if you are busy and have only ten minutes—take a break!
6. Restock your station and give report
Too many times, nurses have showed up to their shift and the station has not been restocked. Either the previous nurse forgot or was too overwhelmed. It is always essential to remember to restock the station. Be a leader and set an example. By doing this, other nurses will notice and follow your lead. Also, as stated in step 1, it is always helpful to do report with the shift-change nurse.
7. Keep a positive attitude!
Having a positive attitude will help make your shift more bearable. When nurses come into shifts worn out and exhausted, their shift becomes a challenge to complete. Keeping in mind how much you mean to your patients and their families is a great way nurses stay motivated to keep a positive attitude.
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If you’re an LPN looking into an option to earn your RN license, Accell Education Group provides a tutor-based online program that makes earning your RN license fast, fun and affordable. Call Accell at (877) 978-1344 to set up a brief phone consultation to discuss your options.