“One always has time enough, if one will apply it well.”

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Time is without a doubt one of the most precious resources a person has at their disposal. This is true of every person in every industry – but especially for nurses.

With emergency shifts, challenging scenarios, and unconventional hours, nurses might sometimes find it hard to maintain that coveted work-balance lifestyle.

And while it’s definitely one of the most rewarding careers to choose (in our unbiased opinion!), efficiently managing your time within such a demanding profession can drive a person mad!

While it mightn’t make your shift any shorter, managing your time effectively means you can finish on time and spend less time worrying outside of work. Make no mistake, good time management is the key to not only performing as the best nurse you can be, but can also lead to a healthy work-balance life, too.

That’s why today, we’ll be sharing our tips on how nurses can best manage their time at the workplace… tips that, in our experience, really work.


Time management tips for nurses


The art of prioritising

Whether you work at a private or public health facility, there might be times when you are handed a very heavy workout.

These situations go with the territory when it comes to a career in nursing – but that doesn’t mean you have to let these situations completely overwhelm you!

Prioritisation is all about going through everything on your plate and planning your day around what’s most important and consequently what’s least important (that’s not to say it isn’t!)

In other words: look at everything you have on your plate, do what’s most important first and work your way down the list.

For each specific task, ask yourself:

  • What exactly needs to be done?
  • How much time do I need to get it done?
  • Does it need to be done within the next hour/this morning/by this afternoon/before the end of my shift?

Take it from us, when you know your priorities, it becomes easier to tackle all the work on your plate, alleviates the stress that comes with working without a plan and improves your productivity in the process.

It’s a simple piece of advice – but it works!

As nurse, here are some tips that can help you master the art of prioritising:

  • Classify tasks in order of importance
  • Allocate estimated time required for each task
  • Allot your most productive hours to most important tasks
  • If someone gives you a new task, ask how urgent it is
  • Constantly reassess and re-prioritise

Once you have mastered prioritising, you get things done a lot more efficiently. And it will give you a sense of control when it comes to the demands of your job and your life.


Avoid distractions

Have you ever found yourself at work chasing rabbits instead of doing what you need to do?

As a nurse, it’s important to avoid being distracted by either small or big things as these could affect your concentration and focus. Distractions can easily affect the way you work, your productivity, and in turn, your workload and stress levels.

While there may be occasional interruptions – from co-workers, your smartphone and other intrusions, you have to figure out strategies to stop these impeding your ability to do your job.

  • Do whatever it takes to put yourself “in the zone”
  • Prioritise your tasks
  • Turn off your phone or leave it in your locker, checking it only during planned breaks
  • Avoid shifts with people that distract you
  • Use short breaks as outlets (if possible)

Focus and concentration play big roles in being able to get things done efficiently and successfully. It’s not something that comes to everybody naturally: some people are more easily distracted than others.

While it might not be possible to completely stop yourself from being distracted, it’s possible to reduce how distracted you get. It may not be much, but even the smallest amount can work wonders.

As a nurse, you are dealing with people’s lives and health so it’s very important to stay alert and to pay attention.


Be organised

You can tell a lot about a person by the state of their work area. Some people like everything having its own place; others have work areas that look like disaster zones.

It might not come naturally to you, but good organisational skills are your secret weapon when it comes to working productively.

Clinics can be highly demanding and stressful environments, with so many things for nurses to deal with going on all at once.

The good news is that there are simple habits you can learn to make your work life just that little bit easier.

When your organisational skills are on point, it lessens the instances of getting things – think patient records, meds, prescriptions, etc. – mixed up.  It stops you from making major mistakes that could have been avoided in the first place.

It might only be a little thing. But little things add up. And since it’s such a little thing, you have no excuse for not making a habit out of it!


Apply your skills when you join our nursing agency in Melbourne

Become part of the SwingShift Nurses family!

The Japanese have a word for working yourself to death: Karōshi.

We can’t say we’re really big fans of the idea!

Because believe it or not,  it’s possible to be a great nurse and still have time to immerse yourself in the great things life has to offer! One part of that is effective time management.

The other part of that is flexibility.

At SwingShift Nurses, we are firm believers in work-life balance.

As one of Australia’s top nursing agencies, we connect qualified nurses with flexible permanent or temporary nursing placements in the best facilities both in Melbourne and Australia-wide. Working with us, you have the freedom to choose when and where you work.

Yes, that’s right – it’s your time. And it’s up to you how you use it.

We work around your availability – whether you’re seeking full-time nursing, some casual work on the side, or are an overseas nurse currently in Australia on a working holiday, we’ll accommodate your schedule.

Because to look after your patients effectively, you need to look after yourself.

Wouldn’t you agree?

Join SwingShift Nurses today.

Questions? Give us a call on (03) 9481 7222.