Mapping Out Your Day
Working in a fast-paced environment requires three important skills: time management, critical thinking, and organization. A health care worker needs these skills to successfully navigate all of the demands on a single shift.
The first essential skill is time management. Time management means staying in control of your time and trying to anticipate situations that might throw you off schedule. To keep in control of your time, communicate to co-workers how long you plan to spend on each task or with each patient. When you go into a patient’s room, say how long you can spend with him during this visit and when you will return. Ask your patients or co-workers if they need anything special done so that you can incorporate that information into your plan. If you are only planning to spend 10 minutes in a patient’s room, staying on schedule will be easier if you know about any special needs from the start.
Critical thinking is another important skill. You use critical thinking skills when you identify problems, think about pros and cons, and decide on the best solutions. If you have two patients who both require your assistance at the same time, critical thinking skills will help you prioritize who to help first by assessing who has the greatest need.
Strong organizational skills will allow you to schedule your day in a way that will maximize your time and energy. Scheduling begins by finding out how many patients you will need to care for and what their needs are. Some of the tasks in your day, such as serving meals or changing the position of a patient, will need to be done at a specific time. Other tasks might be more flexible, like helping a patient to bathe and dress.
Writing tasks on a schedule will keep you on track and also ensure that you find time during the day to take care of yourself by scheduling breaks and meals.