Ask the expert: Time management support for new graduate nurses

Nurse Leader Insider, September 6, 2010

Want to receive articles like this one in your inbox? Subscribe to Nurse Leader Insider!

This week, Debbie Buchwach, MSN, RN-BC, gives some advice on how to support new graduate nurses with time management and prioritization skills when a residency program isn’t already in place.

Q: My organization does not have a new-graduate nurse residency program in place. What are some tools I can use to support new-graduates?

A: If your organization doesn’t have a formal new graduate nurse residency program in place, you can still provide new nurses with support and resources. Here are some strategies you can use in discussion with new nurses:

• Organization tools. Ask new graduates to show you the organization tool they use to plan their shift. Review the components of the tool for completeness. If they do not have a tool, provide samples. Ask them to use it during several shifts and then look for patterns, such as whether they are spending a disproportionate amount of time on one activity.

• Complete shift-to-shift report. Develop three examples of a shift-to-shift report: 1) Incomplete report, missing data; 2) Too verbose and possibly missing pertinent data; and 3) Clear, complete, and concise. The facilitator informs the new graduates that they will be receiving a handoff report for a patient. Instruct the new graduates to rate the report as complete or incomplete, and invite them to give feedback to support their opinion. Follow up with a review of the organization-specific expectations for handoff reports.

• Prioritize your care. Provide information for a typical patient care assessment, and ask the new graduates to prioritize their care. Ask questions such as, “Which patients should you see first? Should see the more complex patients first or last?” Review the decision-making behind the prioritization.

To read more, click here.

Editor's note: Do you have a question for our experts? E-mail your queries to Associate Editor Jaclyn Beck at and see your name in print next week! In the meantime, head over to our Web site and view a growing collection of advice from our experts.

Want to receive articles like this one in your inbox? Subscribe to Nurse Leader Insider!

Most Popular