• Time Management and Nursing

    Kaplan University Advice

    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 management,”said Rachel Pawlisz, MBA, MJ, assistant dean of students for Kaplan Universitys 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.”

    Advice for Nursing Students: 

    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 schedule,she added.

    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.

    For Those New to a Nursing Career: 

    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.

    Tips for Nurses Working Toward a Higher Degree

    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. 

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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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