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STUDENT LIFE

'Planning my day on placement makes everything so much easier'

  • 8 Comments

You’re on placement and your mentor asks if you want to manage your own group of patients, what do you say?

You’ve heard everyone say that you should be proactive and engage with your own learning. So enthusiastically you say yes, even though you feel a bit daunted by the fact you are going to be the nurse for the first time.

Or maybe you are the uber confident type that takes challenges head on.

Either way, I wanted to share a tip from a nurse in one of my placements that has made my nursing day go so much easier and more organised.

I was on a busy surgical ward and the nurse that I was working with was relatively newly qualified. It was the second week of my second placement when she suggested I took care of two of my own patients.

Looking back now, about to qualify, I keep thinking why was I so worried? But she took me to one side and gave me a bit of advice that I’ll share with you now.

On a piece of paper, it could be on the back of your handover sheet, write the bed numbers of patients down the side and the hours of the day across the top. It usually works out best with the bed numbers down the short end. Then draw lines so you have a grid. For example, if you were looking after 4 patients it would look like this.

 

 8910111212345678
1             
2             
3             
4             

Then all you have to do is take ten minutes to plan what you need to do. You’ve already had handover so you know which patients need wound dressings, fluid balance checks, turns and so on - so you can just plot what you need to do on the chart.

I usually start by putting obvious things in, like observation rounds and medication rounds. Then I add if anyone needs fluid balance checks or turns, etc.

 

 8910111212345678
1

Meds

Obs

FB FBMedsFB

Meds

Obs

FBNotesFBMeds

Obs

FB

Hand
2

Meds

Obs

  TurnMeds 

Meds

Obs

Turn

 NotesTurnMedsObsOver
3

Meds

Obs

FB FBMedsFB

Meds

Obs

FB 

FB

Notes

MedsObs 
4

Meds

Obs

   Meds 

Meds

Obs

Wound

dressing

check

  

Meds

Notes

Obs 

Obvious busy periods and quiet times then start to become apparent so you can plan to do extra bits there, for example checking a wound dressing could happen at three as you only have fluid balance checks scheduled in. It also allows you to plan when you can take breaks (or hope to take breaks). Here I could try and go for morning break between 10 and 11 and lunch between one and two as they are quiet periods.

Planning my day like this has made it so much easier to know what still needs to be done and when you have time to do other non-essential tasks that crop up during the day.

It allows you to glance at the end of the day and make sure you have done everything that you have already set out to do. Enjoy your placements!

Rich Greenwood is studying for a Graduate Diploma in Nursing (Adult) at King’s College in London.

  • 8 Comments

Readers' comments (8)

  • Brilliant idea :)

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  • that is absolutely brilliant.In my final year preparing for my management placement.hope to use it.

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  • great idea, I've not had the experience of managing patients on my own but will take this idea when the need arises.

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  • Genius :)

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  • Thanks for this - a super tip!

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  • Brilliant ??

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  • Brilliant idea which I'm going to try during my next shift.

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  • well done!

    good for all levels of staff, not just students.
    (and for the household and admin chores for days off to leave more spare time to enjoy).

    you can add 'time management' to your list of strengths!

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