Ask the nursing expert: How do I balance nursing and administrative tasks?

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Ask the nursing expert
Ask the nursing expert

Q: I find it hard to keep up with having a presence on the nursing units and completing administrative tasks in a timely fashion. What do you suggest for time management?

A: I understand how you feel. It is a struggle to be all things for everybody. Prioritizing is important and everything cannot be priority No. 1.

After your morning clinical meeting, look at your list of what needs to be done for the day, including meetings and other appointments and revise your “to do” list for the day. Residents are first. Sometimes you have to weave your rounds with meetings, but check in on residents who need your attention.

I always save my administrative tasks for around 3:30 p.m., because most nurses are tied up in shift report. It is usually quieter then and I can focus for an hour or two on the administrative paperwork/reports that need to be done.

Remember that interruptions and emergencies are a natural part of what we do and should not be looked upon in a negative manner.

Ask yourself at the end of the day, “Did I get done what absolutely needed to be done?”

If you did not, is there something you can delegate to an evening supervisor, or maybe to your ADON? You must remember to make the best use of all of your resources, and that sometimes means creative uses of staff.
Most importantly, do not lose faith: Somehow it all gets done!
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