Time Management

There is a worldwide shortage of nursing personnel. On one hand, this means that you will be assured of an opportunity to use your new skills. On the other hand, you will likely find some days when you feel rushed to try to get all your work done.

The better you manage your time, the better you will be able to serve the residents and the less stressed you will feel. When you begin your shift you will be given a report by the outgoing nurse, and this report will tell you what must be done for each resident. There will also be written records that you will be able to review. Take notes quickly and efficiently, and plan what you will need to do.

Once you know what residents you have been assigned and what their needs are, you can make a quick visit to each one, checking for any emergencies that need to be attended to. If each resident seems comfortable, you will be able to begin routine care. If you have residents who are able to do some care for themselves, set them up with whatever they need so that they can begin their hygiene while you are caring for other, more needy patients. When trays with meals arrive, use the same principle. Set up your residents who are able to feed themselves with their trays so that they can begin their meals while you are hand-feeding those who cannot feed themselves.

Efficient ways of managing every kind of nursing procedure have been developed over the years. A bed can be made in five minutes with a minimum number of steps. Your instructors will demonstrate how to do this. Electronic thermometers have made taking temperatures faster than ever, but if your institution still uses the glass kind, you can take a blood pressure, pulse, and respirations while waiting for the temperature to register on the thermometer. Many facilities provide stethoscopes, but it is best to have your own so that you can go right to work taking vital signs without having to find the instrument.  Note information that you will need for charting in a little notebook that you can keep in your pocket so that you will not have to stop and try to remember things or go back to look again when you are doing your charting. And remember, a good nurses’ aid comes with a pen.

Getting into the habit of doing things according to protocols will help save time in the long run. If you are too hurried and leave the bed rails down with a patient in the bed, a fall could cost a lot of time in getting the patient up, perhaps sending him or her to an acute hospital, and filling out an incident report. If you are in the habit of always putting up the side rails, leaving the bed in the down position, always locking wheels, and following all other safety features, then they will come automatically even when you are pressed for time.


Q.  Why is time management important when working as a certified nursing assistant?

A.  There are many reasons as to why time management is important as a certified nursing assistant.  For one, time management will help to ensure that you are able to more effectively care for your patients.  It will be easier to finish everything you must accomplish in a shift when you have good time management.  You are likely to feel less stressed overall if you use good time management skills.

Explanation:  As a nursing assistant, you will keep very busy throughout the day which results in the need for time management.  There is often a shortage of nursing assistants, which results in large amount of work needing to be completed by each nursing assistant.  If you manage time well, you are more likely to safely care for your patients.

Q.  What are some things that a CNA should do at the beginning of each shift to help manage their time well.

A.  A CNA should carefully listen to the change of shift report provided by the prior CNA as well as any instructions provided by the supervisor.  A CNA can begin prioritizing tasks that will need to be completed throughout the shift.  Nursing assistants should check in with each of their patients to determine if any patients have needs that need to be attended to immediately before doing more “routine” work.  A nursing assistant should then prioritize the other tasks that must be completely throughout the day while also following protocol.

Explanation:  A nursing assistant can plan out their day in a way that is time effective by carefully paying attention to instructions provided at the beginning of their shift and by identifying everything that must be accomplished throughout the day.  The nursing assistant should determine what tasks need to be completed first and then plan their day accordingly.

Q.  Why does following protocol for nursing assistant skills, help a nursing assistant to manage their time well.

A.  Nursing assistants must always follow protocols set forth by the law for nursing assistants and set forth by their employer in order to provide safe and effective care for their patients.  It is also important to follow protocol in order to manage time well.  If a nursing assistant tries to rush through a task or skips part of a task in an attempt to get things done sooner, they are more likely to make a mistake or forget to do something important, that will result in spending more time on that task in a long run.

Explanation:  You cannot cut corners when working as a certified nursing assistant because doing so can put your patients at risk.  You will also find that when you do not follow protocol, it is actually more likely that you will make mistakes or have problems resulting in you spending more time completing that particularly nursing assistant task.

One Response to Time Management

  1. Beth Allen May 12, 2014 at 8:34 pm #

    This was such a helpful section! Learning what my priorities need to be, as a CNA helps set my mind in the right direction. Learning about the steps of reading the nurses reports, and using them to direct me to the unique needs of patients will be at the top of my ” to do” list. Thank you!

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