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Spring cleaning for nurses: How to get organized

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Taming the tote bag? Corralling the car crud? Paring down the pockets? Does organization sometimes seem like the Holy Grail of life? The always desired (but never obtained) concept? Fear not! These helpful tips will not only allow you to juggle access to your essentials from home to the hospital (or other nursing workplace), but also make the organizing process fun!

 

Spring cleaning for nurses: How to get organized

1. Identify your barriers to organization. Don’t know where to start? Space? Inability to manage paperwork? Crunched for time? We nurses are incredibly busy people and juggling work obligations and fatigue with family obligations is no easy task. Identifying your barriers to organization is the first step to overcoming them.

2. Remember that less stuff requires less time to keep organized. If you can reduce, you can rest easier. Not only will your pockets, tote bag, or purse be lighter, but your barriers to organization may be fewer. If your tote bag is breaking your back from textbooks or nursing tools, tally your resources at nursing school or work and determine what you can store there or leave at home in order to lighten your load.

3. Find an organizing style that fits your personality. Are you a messy person or a neatnik? Need a spark of coordinating color, or will neutrals soothe your soul? What may work for your best friend may not work for you. You may like one box to throw everything into, or you might want everything to have its own place. Experiment to find your comfort zone.

4. Start small. It’s amazing how just a little organization makes life less stressful! Small projects will also help you set your budget for larger projects. Think about your nursing scrubs pockets, for instance. It’s a nice small project to start with—one that doesn’t involve shelving or complicated color schemes. Is there a nook or out-of-the-way desk at work in which you could store your pocket reference, trauma shears or a stash of pens (watch out for those sneaky pen-snitching residents!) instead of carrying those items around all shift? What about keeping your pocket supplies in a small labeled box at the nursing station? The ideal solution will provide convenient access while reducing pocket weight.

5. Be flexible but persistent. Organization methods and ideas only go so far in meeting your needs. Don’t feel locked into a method if it just doesn’t seem to be working for you. Even something as simple as switching shifts on your unit may require alteration in organizational methods.

What is your organizational personality? What methods have you used to reduce clutter and maintain organization? Share with us in the comments!

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Jessica Ellis

With experience in multiple specialties such as ER, ICU, CVICU, PACU, NICU and case management, Jessica has also been a key contributor for several of the world’s leading healthcare publishers. Jessica has been certified in CPR, BLS Instructor, PHTLS, ACLS, TNCC, CFRN, NRP, PALS and CPS. She is currently the editor and contributor for NursesNetwork.com, and an author/editor of numerous online nursing CEU courses for Coursepark.
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