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Management Workbook

Promoting the Development and Understanding of Management Issues for Pre-Registration Nurses

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Time Management and Prioritising

Managing your time, deciding upon priorities and planning accordingly can be one of the most difficult skills to acquire. There are constant demands on your time and attention and it can often be difficult to identify exactly what your priorities should be when there is so much to be done. It is also important to recognise that in patient care, priorities can change rapidly and you need to be able to constantly re-assess situations and respond appropriately. One of the keys to establishing priorities is to question what will be the consequence if this is not done immediately, in the next hour, this shift etc. As Matthews and Whelan (1993) point out, it is also worth considering that ‘some priorities are more obvious than others. For example the maintenance of the airway before cleanliness is obvious, but sleep and rest before cleanliness is less obvious to some nurses.’ Remember to involve your patient-their priorities may be totally different from what you imagine!

Time is a valuable resource and not all nursing time is spent on direct patient care. Managing your time involves planning ahead and realising that unforeseen events may disrupt this plan. Walton and Reeves (1996) suggest using the following mnemonic to assist in time management:

The Management Workbook Time Management and Prioritising Section is also available for download as an Adobe PDF

Policies and Procedures

Refer to local Trust policies

NMC Proficiencies

Domain: Professional & Ethical Practice: Outcome:
1.1, 1.3 (1.1.6)
Domain: Care Delivery: Outcome:
2.4, 2.6, 2.7 (2.4.1, 2.4.2, 2.4.3, 2.5.1, 2.7.2, 2.8.3, 2.9.1)
Domain: Care Management: Outcome:
3.3(3.3.1, 3.3.3)

NB- outcomes in brackets refer to new curriculum (2005) Diploma/BSc outcomes


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