Time Management in Nursing (Techniques and Importance)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published May 28, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Nursing is a profession that requires numerous skills to achieve the best results. Among these skills, time management is critical, as it helps to maintain a healthy work-life balance while providing high-quality care to patients. Understanding time management in nursing can help you learn how to organize your time better and become more efficient at work. In this article, we explore time management, review how to organize your time, and highlight the importance of managing your time properly.

What is time management in nursing?

Effective time management in nursing consists of adequately planning your schedule concerning work demands. Time management helps you create a priority scale where you can arrange your tasks according to importance. When you manage your time well, you can enhance your productivity at work, reduce work-related stress, and enjoy your time away from work as well.

Techniques for time management

Here's an overview of the methods that can help with time management as a nurse:

Enrollment in time management courses

You can enroll in time management courses to better understand the importance of managing time. Such courses usually have expert instructors, and they give specific tips and advice for a more efficient allocation of time. The instructors may also understand your work situations and create customized time-management plans.

Related: Benefits of Effective Time Management (With Actionable Tips)


Routinization concerns the repeated steps and regular procedures that enable consistency. Consistency helps with time management because the more familiar you are with the same tasks, the less time you spend completing them. Routinization can also benefit your time management because it removes the planning before a task.

You can use this technique by turning your tasks into habits. Routinize your compulsory procedures, such as examining patients' physical health and updating records. You can also routinize the sterilization of syringes and collection of patients' information. The routinization can give you greater efficiency and provides more time for short rests between tasks.

Support system

A support system can consist of friends, family, or mentors. A support system is essential for mental health support and knowledge exchange. With their years of experience, your mentors can easily give you valuable tips to help in better handling your time. Your friends can also help you focus on your targets by holding you accountable. You can create your support system by fostering relationships with nurses and other health care professionals in your workplace.

Set realistic targets

Setting realistic targets ensures you work towards goals you can complete. When you place your targets with feasible deadlines and a list of steps to reach the target, you can organize your schedule better. For example, a realistic target can be completing the physical examination of 10 new patients every day at work. The awareness of the target may help you focus on the tasks and manage your time better.

Reduce multitasking

Focusing on performing your tasks one at a time can help you manage time better. Focusing on a single task prevents an overload of information from handling multiple tasks at once. When you allow yourself to focus on one task at a time, you can also make more efficient decisions in a single task. Efficient decisions can help you complete tasks faster and get more time for your interests.

Related: Time Management Skills: Examples and Definitions

Be adaptable

Adaptability deals with your reaction to new and unforeseen circumstances. After creating your priority scale for the day's work, a critical case may come in which may require you to re-prioritize tasks. Adaptability can help you maintain your focus as you seamlessly switch from your planned tasks to the new, more urgent situation. You can also support proper time management with this technique because it helps you create a new time-based priority scale.

Lessen exposure to distractions

Distractions can be in various forms, such as social media applications, fellow employees, phone calls, internet browsing, and movies. Distractions can take a large part of your time at work and decrease your productivity. To better use your time at work, ensure you reduce your exposure to distractions. You can reduce distractions by learning strategies to help you focus on work. Reducing distractions can help you focus on work and provide patients with a higher quality of care.


Taking breaks at work can be effective in preventing burnout. Breaks can also prevent accumulated mental strain from a long working period. Resting can help you maintain a relaxed state of mind, which can aid you in giving a higher quality of care to patients. Getting enough rest can ensure a reduced likelihood of mistakes, and you can create time for other tasks. You can rest at work by sitting for short timed intervals to regain your mental energy before starting more tasks.

Delegate duties

Delegation of duties involves assigning such responsibilities to other staff members while maintaining responsibility for their results. Delegating duties can help you manage your time better because you have fewer tasks to perform directly. Ensure to delegate appropriately to prevent situations where you may spend your time making corrections of the result of a delegated duty. Before delegating, consider the care demands of the patient and the proficiency of the delegate. You may also consider the intensity of supervision the case requires. Nursing tasks typically require a higher priority than administrative tasks, so you can delegate accordingly.

Related: How to Delegate Tasks at Work (With Tips and Definition)

Time management software

Time management tools are available on phones and computers. You can download them or use them online as you deem fit. You can use the tools to organize your time well by creating alarms, setting deadlines, and tracking your time on each task. Your facility's patient tracking software is also a great option to plan your time more effectively.

Importance of time management

Here are some reasons it's essential for nurses to organize their time correctly:

Meet deadlines

Deadlines can be easy to miss if you don't keep track of them and plan for them. Proper time management ensures that you meet your deadlines and maintain your facility's workflow. You can employ time management to your deadlines by fixing each deadline a time slot to complete its task. When you divide your time into blocks, you can also add extra time to each task for unforeseen circumstances.

Great work-life balance

Work-life balance is an important factor to consider for many people during the job-seeking process. It affects how much time you have to spend with friends and family doing what you enjoy in your free time. Time management can help you balance your work and your social life.

By planning your tasks adequately, you can create more time with family, friends, and other interests. The allocation of tasks to time slots and the routinization of your tasks are techniques that can help you create this time. It's also beneficial to your productivity at work to spend time in your personal life. This benefit arises because the mental relaxation from your personal life can make you feel better and perform better at work.

Related: A Helpful Guide to Having a Great Work-Life Balance

Prevention of stress

Effective time management can aid you in creating a priority scale for your numerous tasks. A scale determines the order in which you perform tasks to improve your efficiency and prioritize your responsibilities by importance. You can focus on your tasks because you have a set scale or schedule for when you plan to complete the others. Time management can help you avoid stress and anxiety that can cause health problems and can increase your overall job satisfaction.

Reduce procrastination

Time management can help you reduce the risk of procrastination if you create a routine for your tasks and follow such a pattern diligently. Time management can also assist you in staying in control of your tasks and allocating space to them on your priority scale. When you put a task on a priority scale with other tasks after it, you gain motivation to complete it, lessening procrastination.

Improve the quality of care

Patients deserve a good quality of care, and time management can help you deliver it to them. By prioritizing your tasks and assigning time słots to them, you can channel your focus on each task and complete it before moving on to another. Such precise sequential performance of tasks enables you to work at your best and provide high-quality care to patients. Giving high-quality care ensures that you're a valuable member of the team, and can help you find more personal fulfillment in your role.

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