Ever wonder why more experienced CNAs seem to have everything under control while others who are newer on the job scramble to fit half of their tasks in the last hour of their shift? No, it’s not because they can move faster. It’s because seasoned CNAs have mastered the skill of being organized. Over the years, these CNAs continuously create and improve their ways of doing things that save them time and effort.
Taking care of patients while meeting the expectations of co-workers is heavy work. And when the hospital or facility is short-staffed, those who are unorganized end up burned out.
Here’s what seasoned CNAs do to stay organized:
1. They create notes and to-do lists.
Yes, even those who have been on the job for decades have that small notebook they carry around. In this handy notebook, they make a list of all the things that they need to do. They write down patient details as well.
It's not that they're poor at making a mental note of all the information. It’s just their way of preparing for possible problems that might pop up anytime and distract them from their tasks.
Having organized lists helps them to get back on track. For example, they jot down vital signs results and other measurements, to avoid the need to retake them when they've forgotten the results.
2. They prioritize.
Seasoned CNAs do not procrastinate. On the other hand, they start with the most important things first, even if they're more difficult and time-consuming. They mark their to-do lists with colors, a color each for the urgent and the non-urgent tasks.
After spending decades on the job, more experienced nursing assistants learn that putting off priority tasks for later is always a poor decision. It often results in burnout.
3. Seasoned CNAs know how to accomplish several things at the same time.
Multitasking improves productivity because it helps achieve goals faster and more efficiently. When done correctly, multitasking can be your life-saver.
For example, after assisting a patient on a shower chair for their bath, you can encourage them to clean themselves independently. As you supervise the patient, you can restock the bathroom supplies. And then as you help the patient finish bathing, engage them in meaningful conversations while giving them back rubs and inspecting their skin for breakage or rash.
4. They create the most time-efficient routines.
Routines are necessary, especially for older people. Expert CNAs know that that's why they establish a fixed sequence of activities for their patients. Routines help provide a sense of control and predictability that contribute to the patients' peace of mind. Following a daily schedule reduces stress and anxiety, gives a sense of security, and improves sleep.
5. They visualize their day at the start of their shift.
Seasoned CNAs use a powerful technique called visualization to get their subconscious minds to organize details for them. It’s doing a mental dry run of what they want to do in their shift and how they want things to proceed.
It only takes a few minutes to perform visualization, and they usually do this while waiting for endorsements at the start of their shift. By creating a mental image of the work ahead, the mind is prepared to solve problems that may arise.
6. They know how to reflect on their inefficiencies.
Experienced CNAs not only know how to organize their day, but they also know how to troubleshoot and find solutions to bottlenecks and other problems.
These CNAs give themselves a few minutes each day to think about a troublesome situation, like why a procedure took so long. They also try to understand why a patient was uncooperative and then find a workaround right away. Lastly, experienced CNAs identify which of their habits waste time and corrects them immediately.
7. They get to know their patients well.
CNAs who have been on the job for years will attest to the advantages of knowing patients deeper than what their chart says about them. It is one of the best ways to manage time and staying organized.
Knowing the patient's preferences and anticipating their needs can help you assist them better and more efficiently. It will improve patient experience and encourage cooperation. For the CNA, this strategy is priceless because it lays the foundation for excellent care.
8. Seasoned CNAs have strong interpersonal relationships with their nurses and other colleagues.
A smart CNA works as a team player, and they actively contribute to team goals. Because of their positive attitude and vibrant personality, their co-workers help them whenever needed and this result in better time management.
Nursing assistants have a lot on their hands. Staying organized is the way to go to finish tasks on time. It prevents burnout. By learning from their more experienced colleagues, patient care becomes a much more rewarding experience.
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