New nurses have to deal with a lot of challenges through a busy shift. There’s so much to do as patient evaluations, treatments, preparing for procedures, and other emergency situations on shift day. Thus, time management is one of the vital skills to survive in the hospital. This article is going to introduce some helpful time management tips for new nurses


time management tips for new nurses
What are the time management tips for new nurses?


1. Be well-prepared

This is the quote of all time. Not only are nurses doing their jobs but everything needs to be prepared well. 


One of the time management tips for new nurses is to get to work 20 to 30 minutes earlier. This time will help you feel organized and ready for whatever comes your way. You can’t clock in, but you’ll benefit greatly by arranging your day. Examine your patients’ charts for any new orders, lab results, upcoming procedures, or anything else that may be relevant. Some of this will be given to you later during the shift reports, but for now, get as much as you need to become acquainted with the patients You won’t need to do this after a time, but it’s useful in the beginning.


Another suggestion for you is to make plans for your day. Create a timetable by noting when medications are due on the back of each patient’s reporting page. Do the same for any scheduled operations or treatments, as well as when lab results are due. For the time being, don’t stress which medications, procedures, or therapies will be used, instead, combine them all on the back of the last patient’s reporting page. You may now schedule tasks for each patient. If you need to wait for a test result before giving a drug, you can determine when the result will be ready and work around it while still giving medications to other patients.


One more tip for novice nurses is to sort through your pockets. On certain days, every second matters. Knowing where to look for items quickly is a huge time-saving. Pens and highlighters should be kept in the dominant hand scrub pocket. In the other scrub pocket, keep alcohol wipes and bandage scissors. If you can buy scrub trousers with pockets, keep the same objects in the same pockets at all times. Stick with whatever works for you. This also applies to your breastfeeding bag or organizer. Maintain order by keeping everything in its proper place. Take time once a week to tidy and refill.


2. Prioritize your patients

One important thing that all nurses must know is to prioritize your patients. The category list below is the thing you must know:


Category 1: Patients who have recently experienced a change in their condition. A patient experiencing an acute alteration should be examined and evaluated initially. A patient with a chronic illness, such as COPD, who has suffered acute shortness of breath, falls into this category. Any patient undergoing deterioration falls into Category 1; failing to visit them initially may result in damage, including falls.


Category 2: After you’ve checked the patients in Category 1, you must attend to any urgent patient issues. These are patients that require preparations before to scheduled operations or surgery. Time-sensitive drugs are also appropriate here. Consider the administration of vancomycin at its peak and trough.


Category 3: Activities to do during the shift This category contains normal drugs, treatments, discharge instructions, and patient education for release.


Category 4: The last thing you should do is the nursing acts that promote the patient’s care plan. These are necessary but not urgent tasks. Some examples include patient education, referrals for patients with chronic diseases, and examinations such as ambulation and self-care.


nclex time management tips for new nurses
Remember the priority of the patients


3. Delegate and describe your requirements

Our suggestion for you is to know your team members and what they are capable of. Take the time now to become acquainted with their scopes of practice, as well as what your facility permits. It is critical to understand what you can delegate.


Delegate early in the shift so that your teammates can plan as well. Explain your request in detail. Don’t assume they’re aware. For example, if you ask an unlicensed assistive personnel (UAP, such as a CNA or PCT) to report abnormal blood pressure for a patient, explain why the blood pressure is abnormal for that patient. Make sure he/she understands what rigorous I&O implies if another patient is on it. This will save you and the UAP time and hassle (or LPN).


UAP/CNA/PCT: In general, you can assign the following tasks: 

  1. Vital signs, I&O, and a drained Foley catheter 
  2. Daily Living Activities: Bathe, use the restroom, ambulate, eat, and position yourself


LPN/LVN: In general, you can assign the following tasks: 

  1. Give normal drugs to patients 
  2. Maintain evaluations once the RN has begun 
  3. Insert a Foley catheter 
  4. Potential IV maintenance 
  5. Any CNA duties 


Charge Nurse: In an emergency, you can seek assistance from your Charge Nurse. Medication administration is a useful task to delegate since it keeps other patients on schedule while you attend to a patient’s emergency.


Dig deeper on Tips for Nursing Prioritization, Delegation, and Assignment to master this part of NCLEX exam now!


time management tips for new nurses nclex
know your team members and what they are capable of


4. Prepare and take care of yourself

According to a survey done at the ANA Webinar, around 35% of nurses never take a break throughout their shift. About 56% stated they occasionally get a few breaks. Only 3% of respondents indicated they always took breaks. The major reason is they afraid of viewing as selfish or unconcerned staff. However, it is important to sit for at least ten minutes. These are some suggestions for you: 

Bring your favorite snacks and meals: When you know you’ll have something tasty to eat during your breaks, you’ll look forward to them and be more likely to take them.

Take at least 10 minutes to sit: You can do other things as checking your patient chart or writing the report, etc


There are always methods to become more organized in your nursing job, no matter where you are in your career. There is a high learning curve at first, but after you embrace solid planning habits, you will discover that you are more productive and focused. Whatever the shift comes, you’re in a better position to deal with it. Finally, you’re pleased with how you were able to deliver exceptional patient care. We hope these time management tips for new nurses suggested above will help you survive in your working time. If you are considering becoming a nurse, don’t forget to take the free online NCLEX practice exam on this website. We provide users with over 1000 questions to master the NCLEX exam easily.