There are 3.8 million working nurses currently in the U.S., and now more than ever, they are a critical part of keeping our healthcare system running.
An important part of that function is making sure that nurses are trying to be as efficient as possible. While a nurse can be the most hardworking person around, it’s important that they also effectively use their time and preparation to get the most return out of that hard work. With this in mind, here are a series of key steps that nurses can use to stay efficient.
Standardizing rooms: One of the easiest ways for a nurse to be tripped up is when they go to a patient room to use a certain piece of equipment, only to find out that it’s missing or not present. As a result, a good option here is creating a process to ensure that common supplies like gloves, IV start kits, and anesthetics are placed in every room. If this is already done, then the procedure perhaps should be extended to make sure that the items are in the same location in every room. This helps cut down on procedure time and allows the attending nurse to completely focus on what they are doing.
Communication: Sometimes, there are going to be issues that arise which you can’t fix on your own, or require someone higher up in the chain of command to provide input on. When you find an inefficiency issue, as tempting as it can be to simply put your head down and power through, that’s not ultimately going to help you or your workplace. Communication is always going to be a key part of time management in any workplace setting. As a result, before shifts start, there should be a quick talk to point out any issues that the nurses should be aware of. There should also be a clearly defined feedback process for nurses to share problems they have to manage.
Communication is also important with patients as well. By having a set plan to interact with patients, you can help them feel at ease after. A relaxed patient is a compliant one, which makes it easier and quicker to do procedures and diagnostics so you can service patients and move on to your next task.
Increased technology: This is a bit of a double-edged sword. On the one hand, technology is a great way to cut down on tedium for nurses so they can spend more time on their actual jobs. For example, if you have a software platform to access patient information, this is a lot more efficient than having to go through paper records every time you need to check something. However, there’s also onboarding time that goes into learning how to use this. In addition, any software or hardware that you rely on that breaks down suddenly isn’t very useful. As a result, it’s important that you partner with companies that give full-support. This includes training modules for nurses to learn as well as remote support and troubleshooting.
Avoiding burnout: One of the biggest signs of medical burnout is decreased efficiency and effectiveness in performing jobs. Nurses and other medical professionals are at the highest risk of burnout compared to other jobs. This is due to the hours that they work, the issue of work/life balance, not to mention the stress of working with sick and dying patients. The current situation has only aggravated a lot of these longtime issues. In order to avoid burnout, the best thing nurses can do is support their mental health, as well as look into training to help them feel more confident in their job roles.
Delegation: A major source of inefficiency is multiple people rushing to do the same job. One way you can avoid this is through effective delegation. When the entire nursing team knows the priority in which they need to take on certain roles, they can spend less time rushing to attend to issues and more on what they already know that they need to do. This also allows team leaders to assign nurses based on their expertise in certain areas. If this is difficult, take a look at your team composition and communication to try and find a root cause.
Use support when you can: This is especially important for new nurses trying to make their way in a chaotic atmosphere, especially currently. Trying to find someone to work alongside as a mentor is going to be essential from translating key lessons from your education into practical applications on the job. They can also help you learn about some of the minutiae of working at your particular job, from how to use certain pieces of technology from how to interact with others. On that topic, even outside of a mentorship situation, it’s a good idea to make sure that you ask as many questions as possible. The faster you ask, the sooner you will learn. Better you ask in a neutral situation than a critical one.
Efficiency is something that nurses should keep in mind when it comes to things that aren’t directly related to their day-to-day jobs. Online medical certification is a good example of this. Getting certified and recertified in a timely fashion is essential both for compliance as well as providing the best care possible for your patients. However, with work/life balance being what it is for nurses, it can be hard to set aside the time for classroom instruction. Online medical certification means that you are still up-to-date, but have the ability to go through your instructions and exams at your own pace.
However, you want to make sure you choose an instruction provider you trust, such as ProMed. We provide certification courses made by experts that adhere to AHA and ILCOR guidelines. Get certified and recertified in key areas like ACLS, CPR, BLS, and PALS, complete with a 100% money-back guarantee.