Timesavers for Nursing Assistants


Article Categories: Tips and Tricks & CNA Skills



A CNA’s shift is often hectic and sometimes unpredictable. Their to-do lists can change at any moment, and it should always match patient needs.

Do you always find yourself pressed for time while a co-worker seems to go through a shift in a breeze?
You might be missing out on some valuable timesavers, such as these tips below:

1. Arrive at least 15 minutes earlier.

These precious minutes will give you enough time to get a heads up of your tasks for the day. You can use this time to talk to your co-worker who just finished their shift and ask about patient concerns that you need to address. This way, you can plan your day smoothly.

2. Keep extras of frequently used items that you carry around.

Make sure that you always have extra tissues, tapes, pens, and a pair of gloves available to use.

3. Make a list and prioritize.

The best way to save time is by staying organized. The worst way to spend time is by repeating a task because you’ve missed something. Prioritization is also a must. When you put off critical responsibilities until toward the end of the shift, you tend to make mistakes because you work hurriedly and disregard protocols.

4. Prepare supplies and equipment in advance.

To do this, you must anticipate your patients’ needs, and yours, too. Knowing what you’ll need in advance will save you time and energy.

Imagine doing a bed bath, and in the middle of the procedure, you come to realize that you’ve forgotten to get fresh incontinence pads. You’ll have to cover the patient, raise the bed rails, run to get the supplies, come back, only to find that your rinse water has already run cold. You’ll have to repeat some steps – an avoidable waste of time.

5. Don’t take risky shortcuts.

Doing so is unsafe and can lead to errors. In the end, you might be performing more steps to correct your mistakes, plus you may be putting your patients in harm's way.

For example, do not be tempted to skip handwashing to save a few minutes. Any healthcare setting could not afford a disease outbreak that was caused by workers who are too in a hurry to finish their duties.

6. If your workplace is short-staffed, try to work in pairs.

You can finish earlier if you work with a co-worker. For example, having an assistant when changing the bed linens of a bedridden patient would be a lot easier because your co-worker would be making the other side of the bed. You don't need to repeatedly move around to move the patient and replace the sheets.

7. You can multitask, but don’t overdo it.

Doing several things at the same time can be a real timesaver if you’re able to do each task efficiently. You wouldn't want your multitasking to result in too many uncoordinated and unsystematic work. If this happens, multitasking becomes counterproductive rather than time-saving.

8. Focus.

Brain fog, distractions such as personal problems, and bullying in the workplace are some common causes of lack of focus. These factors snatch away your attention from proper patient care so that you spend more time on a procedure than what is needed.

The general rule is, if you think that your mental state leaves you too distracted, ask for support. Being focused results in better, faster, more efficient patient care.

CNAs are one of the busiest members of the healthcare team. Practicing time-saving tips can make a big difference during your shift and make you a more competent worker in the long run.

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