Time Management Tips For Nurses

Are you struggling to juggle your tasks and responsibilities as a nurse?

Nursing is a challenging and unpredictable job. A large number of patients, an emergency in the facility, or work meetings with doctors and nurse managers can throw you off your schedule. This can make managing time difficult.

Effective time management is not easy to master. It is even harder in a dynamic healthcare environment. Nurses are expected to provide optimum patient care and handle administrative tasks efficiently. They need to be proactive while remaining calm and composed. Thus, staying organized and ahead of a task list is important for nurses. Effective time management helps ensure nurses provide quality care to patients and meet their work-related deadlines.

It is impossible to hone your time management skills overnight. But if you are willing to put in some effort, you can become a pro at it. Start your journey with the following tips:

Consider online learning

Nurses must continue to upgrade their skills by acquiring higher education. But the job is already demanding and can make it difficult for nurses to find time to resume studies. While managing a mountain of tasks, striking the ideal study-work-life balance may become even more overwhelming. So opt for online learning if you plan to upskill to improve your nursing practice or broaden your career prospects.

Online education will help you manage your tasks effectively by allowing you to fit your studies around your clinical schedule. Nurses with an associate degree can pursue an ABSN online to acquire a bachelor's degree. Similarly, nurses with a BSN can also earn an MSN online. Distance learning enables nurses to learn flexibly from the comfort of their homes and better manage their time.

Learn to delegate effectively

Delegating is crucial for effective time management. Since nursing involves teamwork, you must know when and what to delegate. Nurses don't have time to oversee every aspect of patient care. Thus, when you have too much to do in a limited time, assign some tasks to your team members.

Delegating tasks doesn't mean handing over all the dirty work to your subordinates. It implies that as an RN, you have more complex tasks to attend to, and you can focus on them by assigning less important work to a novice nurse. Delegating work will lessen your burden and help you build positive work relationships.

Avoid multitasking

Although multitasking can sometimes be beneficial, things may not always work out well. When we switch from one task to another, we lose focus and become prone to making mistakes in the process. Considering the sensitive nature of the job, nurses should ideally focus on one task at a time.

For example, while administering medication to patients, avoid going through trivial administrative tasks. This will only increase the chances of a crossover giving way to disastrous repercussions. Instead, focusing on one task at a time may help spare time for other tasks and improve your efficiency.

Set priorities

Prioritizing tasks can help you save up time and energy. You can learn how to prioritize work by separating tasks that require urgent attention and putting less important ones on hold. When various tasks call for rapid action, think through the situation by asking yourself a few questions. What's the first thing you need to do and why? Which tasks require urgent attention and why? And what would happen if you don't take action right now? What concerns the patient directly?

Learning to prioritize through questioning, consulting with fellow nurses, and reflecting on your decisions will help strengthen your ability to encounter any situation effectively.

Anticipate the needs of your patients

Being proactive can serve as a helpful time management tool for nurses. Anticipating the needs of your patients can help you save time and cut down on repeated trips to the same ward. For example, if you are looking after a newborn baby and their mother, try to schedule check-ups around the same time to avoid unnecessary trips within a short period.

When things are quiet in the hospital, reach out to your patients and ask them if they need anything. Asking specific questions like "Would you like to use the restroom" instead of vague ones like "Do you need anything" will help patients think about what they need or might need later. These little efforts will lower the chances of your patients needing you in an emergency on another floor.

Write everything down

No matter how good your memory is, you're still prone to forgetting stuff like all humans. As a nurse, it is important to remember every little detail about a patient, whether it is their dietary needs or the time of administering medicines. This becomes difficult when dealing with several patients in a fast-paced environment.

While you start a pre-planned day, tasks will keep creeping up to ruin your schedule. You can stay on top of all tasks by creating a to-do list. Keep a pen and notepad with yourself and jot down everything, whether it is an ambulatory requirement or a specific patient request. Taking notes will help you stay organized and stress-free throughout your shift.

Take breaks

If you think working non-stop will help you get all your work done on time, you are wrong! Work never stops coming in. However, jumping from one task to another may become tiring, leading to burnout and compassion fatigue. Your body needs breaks to unwind and recharge. Working like a robot will only cause more harm to it.

Take a small break now and then. Move to a silent place, recollect your thoughts, and figure out what needs to be done next. No matter how busy you are, take out time for your meals, go to the toilet, and stay hydrated to survive the demanding shift. You don't need a long break. Only a few minutes will suffice.


Nursing is a demanding job that requires you to remain proactive and manage tasks and emergencies efficiently. With the growing demand for quality and timely patient care, it is common for nurses to feel there are not enough hours in a day. It is necessary to plan your day ahead of time and handle tasks efficiently to avoid any detrimental consequences of this looming stress. Although effective time management is hard to crack, the tips mentioned above will help you master this skill in no time.