Pause and plan

All hell is breaking loose.

It looks like it’s not going to get better any time soon.

You are really close to the point of tears.

Pause. Breathe. Let’s plan this out.

It’s time to break out those critical thinking skills and use that time management you have been developing.

Look at the situation as a whole, is it as complicated as it seems? Can things be broken down into multiple manageable tasks instead of one giant ball of “what the actual hell”?

Start thinking. Which patient is the most critical? Can someone check on your other patient while you attend to the patient circling the drain? (You know what, the cup of ice is going to have to wait.) Which tasks are the most important? What tasks can be delegated? Do we really need to go to CT right now or can we see if we can push it to a later time when things are a bit more calm? So there are 5 patients in the waiting room, they all came at the same time. All of them are here for their scan. That’s great but you only have two scanners so let’s take each patient one by one.

The point is this: you are one nurse. One. Singular. Nurse. You CANNOT do everything at the same time and that does not make you a failure. Don’t panic. Take a moment. Pause and plan. Use your resources. Who can help you? Align your tasks from most important to least important. Tackle what is most important first.

More importantly understand this: there are only so many hours in your shift. There is only so much you can do. If you have to pass on a task or two, don’t feel like you failed for the day. Nursing is a 24-hour job. You are not super-human. Sometimes you can’t do it all. Understand that’s okay.

Advertisements

Unprepared 

What’s the one thing you wish they would have taught you in nursing school?

For me, it’s definitely time management. I feel like nursing school and the NCLEX gave me this belief that I would have all the time in the world to do everything I needed to do for each of my patients. WRONG! I have 12 hours to provide my patient(s) with the best care possible. That’s it. 12 hours. It sounds like such a long time but sick ICU patient or 5 med/surg patients can take that whole 12 hours and then some. 

It was a big reality check for me when I first hit the floor after graduating. My first nursing job was in a very busy med/surg unit at a level one trauma center. I rarely had less than five patients. I went out on the floor with the idea that I could spend ample time with each patient and still get all my charting done and have my meds passed on time. LIES! ALL LIES! WEB OF LIES! I was one of the ones left behind charting long after my shift was done because I just didn’t have the time management thing down. It took me a little while to understand that I needed to learn to prioritize what was important. Before I could stop and chat with one patient, I needed to have seen all of my patients. I needed to learn how to delegate to my care tech some of the small things so I could do the big things. 

I just wasn’t prepared for nursing in the real world. I was lucky that I had an amazing set of preceptors to teach me how to actually be a nurse.