Ask the expert: Help new grads prioritize patient assignments

Staff Development Weekly: Insight on Evidence-Based Practice in Education, July 24, 2009

This week, Debbie Buchwach, BSN, RN-BC, discusses how to help new graduate nurses prioritize their shifts.

Q: What tips can nursing staff educators give new graduate nurses who are having trouble prioritizing their patient assignments?

A: There are many things new graduate nurses must consider when prioritizing their patient assignment. Encourage them to think through the following questions:

  • How much time is needed to complete the assessment, care delivery, and medication administration?
  • What resources will you need?
  • Are the resources readily available or do they need to be ordered?  
  • Is there a specific timing that will affect a patient outcome (e.g., checking blood sugar before a patient eats a meal, drawing a blood specimen at a specific time to measure the peak or trough of an antibiotic, etc.)?

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