Nursing students often experience overwhelming schedules and demands throughout the various stages of their healthcare education. The requirements of nursing school teach students how to refine their skills, work under stress and manage their time. Nursing and healthcare programs have some of the most diligent students who are committed to their coursework because they are preparing for a field that requires personal responsibility and dedication.
Most nurses work 10- to 12-hour shifts while tending to several patients at one time. In order to provide optimal care to patients and adequately support their team, a nurse must be able to organize priorities and manage their time effectively. Nursing and healthcare schools prepare aspiring nurses and help them enter the workforce by teaching them time management skills and how to efficiently operate on a hospital floor or medical office.
As a student, the stress of nursing school can soon become unbearable if you do not carefully implement time management techniques that are designed to keep you accountable. It’s not uncommon for nursing students to focus solely on their coursework and neglect their social life. That’s why time management is so important. It helps ensure that you designate adequate time for work, recreation, self-care and exercise. Realistic, attainable scheduling is a great way to avoid burnout.
Why Implement Time Management Techniques as a Nursing Student?
Your time is valuable. More often than not nursing students feel like there are never enough hours in the day to accomplish their lengthy to-do list. While you might think allotting most of your time to academic tasks will help manage your stress, studies have found that nursing students need to make time for leisure and extracurricular activities to avoid nurse burnout.
Once you are able to implement time management strategies into your schedule, you will likely reap the benefits including:
- Greater efficiency
- Reduced stress
- Increased productivity
- Improved social life
- More opportunities for professional advancement
Three Time Management Tips for Nursing Students
Whether you are a naturally organized person who thrives on planning, or you feel restricted by calendars and checklists, establishing time management techniques can help you set healthy (and attainable) goals and boundaries.
Keep in mind that a strategy only works if it helps you manage your time well and relieves stress. Some of these time management tips may not work for you like they would for someone else. Be open to trying different strategies until you find what works best for you.
When you are feeling overwhelmed by your schedule, consider trying some of these time management techniques:
Take care of yourself and always be prepared.
The first step to creating a healthy, realistic routine as a nursing student is understanding your needs both physically and mentally. Whether that’s getting up earlier to make yourself a nutritious breakfast or participating in a yoga class, don’t forget to take care of yourself amidst all the demands of nursing school.
Before you go to work, class or clinicals, make a to-do list so you are clear on the amount of time you’ll need to accomplish those tasks. This will help you feel prepared for what’s ahead while setting clear expectations for yourself on what is attainable that day or week.
Prioritize the work on your to-do list in order of importance or urgency.
You can look at an entire month, week or day depending on how you digest your workload best. Chances are the farther you look ahead, the more prepared you will feel.
The “A, B, C, D” method is a common tool some nurses use to rank their tasks (personal, work and school-related) by order of priority:
- Absolute musts
- Better to be done soon
- Can waits
- Delegated items and tasks
Be flexible and anticipate roadblocks.
You can make a detailed priority list and devise a step-by-step plan of how to accomplish it, but if you’re not flexible enough to roll with potential setbacks or roadblocks, you might find it difficult to check anything off your to-do list. In nursing school (and in life), you will encounter unexpected problems that may try to derail you — the key is to anticipate them and learn how to react during those times.
Don’t be afraid to move incomplete tasks to tomorrow’s list and always communicate with your professors if an unavoidable situation arises. Nurses face problem-solving challenges every single day. Think of your time at school as practice for your future.
Enroll in a Collaborative and Supportive Healthcare Program at St. Louis College of Health Careers
If you have an interest in pursuing a career as a nurse or medical professional, St. Louis College of Health Careers may be a great choice for you. Our instructors and administrators understand what it takes to earn a healthcare degree or diploma. We work closely with our students to ensure they feel supported and confident in their courses while maintaining a healthy work-life balance.
Our various diploma and degree programs offer flexibility and convenience for students in Missouri and beyond who wish to become a nurse, healthcare administrator or pursue a variety of other healthcare careers.
For additional information about our programs, call 866-529-2070 or contact us online.