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Time Management in Nursing
Time is an important resource for all institutions, including healthcare. It has both valuable and finite meaning that requires smooth management functioning and excellent leadership skills in order to balance the tasks effectively. Wise time management allows all professional to focus on the issues of higher priority. To help in understanding the importance of time management in healthcare institutions, it is important to compare leadership roles and management functions associated with effective organizational skills in one of the local inpatient units. The paper reports on the utilization of the three-stage approach to time management by the institution’s nurses.
The health care unit selected for this report is a local inpatient acute care center. Obviously, time management is highly important in such a setting when it can save lives. The major role of this acute care center is to deal with critical medical conditions and to help in ease patients’ suffering from sudden functional status and medical decline because of different events such as trauma, increased progressive diseases, spinal cord injuries, and final stage renal diseases. Therefore, with effective time management, the improvement of patients’ function and prevention of further health decline are possible.
According to Marquis and Huston (2009), the leadership roles in time management include being self-aware of the barriers and personal blocks that might influence it. A leader should also be aware of how his/her personal values influence follower’s expectations and personal use of time (Marquis & Huston, 2009). The authors also mention that a leader functions as a supporter, a role model, and a resource person, especially when he or she works with subordinates. A leader also helps in assisting followers to work together in order to maximize time. He/she should also prevent any interruptions that hinder proper time management schedule. The leader also has the role of cooperating with others whose time management style is different. A leader should also ensure that there is calmness during periods of high activity (Marquis& Huston, 2009).
On the other hand, they define management functions as prioritizing day to day planning in order to meet long- and short-term unit goals. The manager is also obliged to devote time to planning the schedule at the workplace. The clear planning should analyze time management in the institution with the help of motions and time management studies. The management should also eliminate any barriers that affect the organization of work. Another manager’s role is proper handling of paperwork in a prompt and efficient manner in order to maintain a neat working place. The management should also divide tasks into smaller units to make them easier to accomplish by the members of the team. The manager should utilize innovate technology and facilitate required documentation and communication for time management purposes. Lastly, it is vital to distinguish between inefficient time usage and inadequate staffing, especially when it is not enough time to accomplish a certain task (Marquis& Huston, 2009).
Having analyzed the time management roles of the managers and leaders, the authors show that their working processes are different. However, they still overlap in some cases. Basically, leaders’ role is to set goals and direction (Visser, van Knippenberg, van Kleef, & Wisse, 2013). They also challenge the norm by seeking new ways of working in the organization. As a result, they initiate new ways of setting the working environment which others agree to follow. This is different from managers’ role as they maintain mainly the status quo or make sure that the standards have been followed (Feather & Ebright, 2013). These different roles can also be seen in time management as managers monitor whether the staff members utilize their time effectively. They also check frequently the system to understand whether the time is not wasted. Leaders, on the other hand, encourage others to follow their example.
The facts relate to the acute care center. Leaders are not always available in the center for the staff members. Their work is setting goals and showing others the right way. The management, on the other hand, ensures that nurses and healthcare professionals in the acute care setting follow the time management goals. The result of this cooperation is proper care, higher quality of life, and promising results in terms of preventing mortality and treating diseases.
Marquis and Huston (2009) present three steps that should be followed for proper time management. The authors argue that the first step is setting time according to the reasons and priorities. In this case, high priorities are distinguished from low priority tasks. The second step is to complete the tasks one by one. Finally, it is essential to analyze new information to reprioritize tasks and decide that should be completed first.
A study of the nurses at the acute care shows that they follow these steps in providing health care to the critical patients. They cannot complete tasks before taking into consideration the medical conditions of the patients. In fact, their most priority is to treat the patients whose conditions are the most serious. Because of this, it is common to find most of the nurses dealing with incoming patients as their conditions are always unstable compared with the ones that have already been taken care of. After, the nurses continue to monitor the others who have been treated earlier. As explained earlier, this effective time management among nurses in this acute care unit gives a chance to minimize the number of deaths.
To ensure effective time management, a manager of a nursing unit has to correctly use three types of thinking described by Marquis and Huston (2009). They suggest that some people are analytical thinkers while others are intuitive thinkers (Marquis & Huston, 2009). Analytical thinkers are those who think logically. These people love working with actual numbers and data and their way of dealing with problems is more logical and rational. Intuitive thinkers, on the other hand, usually follow the emotional way of thinking. They are sympathetic. Thus, they tend to make the decisions based on the social motivation. Though, critical thinking is more specific compared to the general one because these people prefer to analyze and evaluate information before taking actions. However, both types can solve the problems and focus on the various situations.
These thinking styles can improve the patient care unit. Critical thinking, for example, can be used in the unit when nurses should make specific decisions which might or might not relate to time management. For example, they can choose the type of care for a specific patient depending on his medical conditions. It can also solve the problems among the staff members when conflict arises. Intuitive thinking, on the other hand, can be effective when nurses should focus on the individual cases. For example, when the patients’ relatives and friends want to be engaged in the decision-making processes, intuitive thinking can help since emotional thinking can consider the feelings of a patient and his or her visitors and make the most logical decision.
In conclusion, time is an important resource in any nursing unit. Both managers and leaders are responsible for efficient time use, although their roles differ. In most cases, these roles are based on the traditional managerial and leadership roles as leaders set goals while managers enforce these goals. Critical, reflective, and intuitive thinking are to be applied by a nursing manager to ensure effective time use.
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