How many of y’all often feel like there is just too much going on at work?
Do you struggle with keeping up on the routine tasks when there is a lot of other stuff happening? Do you find yourself overwhelmed with the amount of work?
At the risk of making myself sound stupid, it took me a long time realize the importance of having a routine around routine-work.
In my free guide for new ICU nurses (which you can download here) I talk about why its important to get these routines down. It basically boils down to this: the ICU can be a mad house at times, but we are still expected to meet certain requirements that involve a lot of routine work. Not only that, but our patients need us to do the routine stuff (the turns, the baths, the accuracy of our charting, etc).
If it feels impossible to handle all the routine stuff AND the surprise punches the ICU likes to throw at us, I am here to tell you it is possible! It takes a little bit of work, but with these habits in place, you’ll be handling it all like a champ in no time!
(A word to the wise: These are only suggestions- you will have to find what works for YOU. That is the beauty of it. Experiment and see what clicks with you. Once you find that click, stay loyal to it. The more clicks you find, the quicker, more efficient, more reliable your work will become. Heck, you might even find yourself with some down-time! Imagine that!)
Let’s take a look at some ways to make routines around routine-work.
Developing Routines Around Routine Work
The Beginning of your shift:
The goal: To get a good understanding of your patient’s story, all their data, tasks you will have to do for them, goals for your day, and setting up your work for the shift.
The goal: to chart accurately and timely.
Why this is important: keeping track of your hourly I/O’s will give you insight into what the patient’s body is doing. It will help you prevent potential complications, and help you pick up when something isn’t right.
The goal: to consistently get your patients turned every 2 hours
The goal: to do a thorough head-to-toe assessment in a timely fashion
The goal: to keep the patient clean, groomed and feeling fresh.
Side Rant: A lot of this type of work often falls to the wayside but it is really important for patients and their families. Not only does good hygiene lead to decrease in complications, it is important for the patient’s self-image/confidence and it is also comforting to patients and families.
The truth about hygiene work is that even though it feels trivial, it also only takes a few minutes to complete. The payoff is great, so it is worth the effort.
The End of Your Shift:
The goal: to wrap up loose ends, finalize your charting for the shift and prepare the patient/room for the next shift.
That was a lot to cover!
A lot of routine work comes down to having a system in place to get it done. The system could involve the timing of when you do it, the sequence of how you do it, or just about any other quirks that will remind you to get it done.
The important thing here is to create this system for yourself. If you don’t, you will undoubtedly make your work more stressful than it has to be.
I am curious:
what weird quirk or effective methods do you use to systematize your routine work?
Comment below and share!