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By nature of the job, nurses have a particularly unpredictable
and potentially stressful reality. Whether in nursing school, at your first job,
or working while seeking a higher degree, time management skills can go a long
way toward alleviating stress and helping nurses to be more productive and
efficient. “A significant factor in time management is stress
Rachel Pawlisz, MBA, MJ, assistant dean of students for Kaplan
University’s School of Nursing. “Understanding
this reality and a few other key factors can help nurses manage a healthy
balance among work, school, and family life.”
1. Be Realistic: Nursing school is rigorous and can be
all-consuming. Consider a part-time program if full-time schoolwork sounds
daunting. Take some time to evaluate your personal stressors, and make efforts
to minimize their impact on your goals. “Plan your classes,
if possible, and study times based on whether you are a night or morning
person, or at least when you know you are typically most productive,”said Pawlisz. “Be
honest with yourself, and you will have a better time keeping to your planned
2. Make School a Priority: Be upfront, and let friends and
family know that you are in school and that your free time will be in shorter
supply. Be sure to make schoolwork and class attendance a primary concern, and
limit social media time until after all work is done. By making clear
boundaries on your time, you may find you have larger spans of time to spend
with friends and family, unhindered by thoughts of work unfinished.
3. Find a Study Buddy: No one understands what you are going
through better than another nursing student. Take time to connect with other
students, and ask questions instead of becoming overwhelmed. Start a study
group to keep yourself on track.
4. Stress Management: It is critical to keep yourself in good
health. This includes eating right, getting exercise, and making sleep a
priority. Make sure you save time for your personal life, so you can stay
emotionally healthy during this very busy and demanding time. “Take
time to clear your brain by giving yourself time to enjoy those things in life that
bring you happiness,”said Pawlisz.
1. Make a Daily Plan: While every day as a nurse might be
unpredictable, those who make a plan tend to get more done and have less
stress. Yes, schedules may shift and emergencies might arise, but try every day
to attempt a plan for tasks that you know need completion. This small practice
can help to better organize your thoughts and make use of even the smallest
amount of downtime.
2. Prioritize Your Plan: Due to the unpredictability of a
nursing job, you may have time to get only a few things done that were planned.
Make sure you have given thought to which action items are most important.
3. Stay Organized: Make a point every day to organize your desk,
equipment, and your calendar. Some people suggest spending a few minutes at the
end of each shift to organize, clean equipment, and make a to-do list. This
way, the next day has the potential to start with less stress.
1. Study Away From Home: Make clear boundaries for yourself
regarding when it is time to study. Being home with your books, dirty laundry,
and this morning’s dishes can cause anxiety and
distraction. Schedule time at a local library or coffee shop to do school work,
and then go home to your personal work.“Nurses have a natural inclination to take care of other
people, and, therefore, they often are caretakers in their family,”said Pawlisz. “Setting
time aside for yourself, and only yourself, is imperative to your success,”she added.
2. Talk to Faculty: Balancing work, family, and school can be a
challenging task. If you start to fall behind in school, contact your
professors. Kaplan University professors are prepared to meet with students
online to discuss progress or concerns. Many have been in your shoes before,
and are ready, willing, and able to help.“Some students would prefer to simply give up, rather than
put forth an effort and fail,”said Pawlisz. “At Kaplan University, we understand that we all have failings along the way. A bump in the road is no
reason to walk away from a goal. Please come talk to us,”she added.
3. Focus on Internal Motivation: Goals are easier to complete if
motivation comes from within. Focus on what you personally are getting out of
school, rather than thinking of external motivations, such as earning a degree in
pursuit of greater job security. Keep in mind that school will bring new and
unknown opportunities. “The joy of learning new things keeps
us young and vibrant, and school offers us new relationships, fresh
perspectives, and broadening horizons,”said Pawlisz.
Secret to Success in Nursing: Top Three Qualities That Will Help Nurses Succeed
Good Time Management: Reduces Stress and Increases Rewards of Nursing
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And if you are considering pursuing a nursing degree, we invite you to find out more about Kaplan University's School of Nursing and explore our undergraduate and graduate degree offerings.It is important to note that the nursing profession is a career path with expected growth and our nursing degrees are designed to strengthen your knowledge and prepare our students to advance their nursing careers. But Kaplan University cannot guarantee employment or career advancement. Several factors specific to a student’s or alumni’s backgrounds and actions, as well as economic and job conditions, affect employment. Also, keep in mind that national long-term projections covered in articles may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth.
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