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Staying organized at work

Dear Scrubs,
I would like to know what makes a good worksheet and how to create my own template. We do not have electronic charting and our charts are not at the bedside so how do I manage to organize the things I need to know, to do and to collect?

Thanks, Darlene

Dear Darlene,

We all feel your pain. I myself created my own worksheet out of sheer want and need. In the beginning of my career their wasn’t a ‘template’ for me to us. I was on my own. Then when I worked in the Trauma ICU they offered an assessment template we could use for report, but it didn’t have much function during the hour-to-hour functioning during your day. Each nurse has their own ‘way’ of organizing their day, their responsibilities, their duties and their tasks. For the most part, a lot of our ‘tasks’ are the same every day and every shift (checking labs, meds, the MAR, etc), while others are patient specific depending on their medical needs and challenges.

I’ve seen some old school nurses use the little drawing to record their patients’ labs, I’ve seen flow sheets used and I’ve even seen a worksheet that is broken down into every hour of your day or shift. I personally believe it has everything to do with the environment you work in. Each specialty setting requires such a great variety of information, skill, tasks, duties, etc. I think we can all agree that caring for 12-15 med-surg patients is extremely different then caring for 2 critical care patients.

So with that in mind here is my suggestion to you for creating your own worksheet: Do some mental imagery. Follow your footsteps through a ‘typical’ day.

  • What do you do first? How about report – what information is needed and wanted?
  • How many patients (on average) do you care for?
  • Each patient and their significant information (labs, history, identification, allergy, etc)
  • Medication administration – what do you need and require?
  • Are their specific nursing responsibilities you are required to perform each shift (12 hour MAR check, orders, I’s & O’s, treatment record, etc)
  • Do you tend to ‘carry’ everything with you in your pockets – or do you have your ‘brain’ on a clipboard?
  • Do you like or want a checklist type worksheet to help remind you of meds that are due, tests, procedures?
  • What about common phone numbers? Or common dosage calculations?

With all that in mind take all that information and write it out on a blank sheet of paper and try to organize it to your liking. I took all that information and created a worksheet using Microsoft Excel. I chose that particular program since I can customize the size, shape and location of whatever I want within the context of the area of paper. Make the worksheet work for you and customize it for YOU.

For me, I carried around my worksheets. It was feasible for me since I took care of 2 ICU patients. I actually used the front and back of each piece of paper. The front of the paper was for my report and at the bottom of the back of the sheet I had 12 columns for my 12 hour shift. I used the columns to help me keep my meds in order as well as notate when I had labs due, blood sugars, record my I&O, scheduled tasks, etc.

Also, some nurses are big fans of the color spectrum. Using a red pen for the ’emergent’ or important information and then maybe utilizing a highlighter for the pertinent labs or other information that needs to be addressed during your shift.

As you can see your worksheet is up for grabs. You can snip and cut it to your liking. I like to think of it as a ‘work in progress’. Once you start a ‘template’ you always seem to find or discover other things you want to add and eliminate useless information that is just occupying space on the paper.

Best of luck with your creation! I’d be happy to share my worksheet if anyone is interested.

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33 Responses to Staying organized at work

  1. RandyN

    Yes, please share your worksheet and thank you.

    • SeyiBaby RN

      Hi there, can you please share your worksheet with me also, im a final year nursing student on my final placement. im constantly being assessed on how i manage my time and organize the care of my patients on the medical ward im on. My email address is : dorcas_odegbami@yahoo.co.uk. Thank you for your time

  2. Sean Dent Scrubs Blogger

    @ RandyN I’d be happy to! Please send your contact info either here in the comments or fill out a comment form link!
    Thanks!

  3. shelly kolb

    I would love to have your worksheet. I had been in hectic med-surg nursing for 7years and still have a problem with finishing my work in time with all the demands on nurses. Thank-you for your time.
    Shelly Kolb

  4. Sean Dent Scrubs Blogger

    @ Shelby Glad you liked it! Click on the Contact us link! I’d be glad to share!

  5. Renea Cotham

    I would love to see your worksheet. I have been a nurse for 2 years and have been trying to come up with the perfect “brain” since the beginning. I have worked on Med-Surg mostly but I have floated to all of the floors except ICU. If you wouldn’t mind to share, I would greatly appreciate it!! Thanx!!

  6. Sean Dent Scrubs Blogger

    @ Renea Be glad to share it! Click on the Contact Us link!

  7. laura curtis

    I would like to see your brain…please share.
    thanks.

  8. Liza

    Dear Sean Dent,

    I would love to see a copy of your med-surg worksheet. Could you please send it to me or send me the link where I can find it?

    Thank you,

    LLL

  9. Erin

    I am looking for something similar to what you described with columns for the 12 hour shift to keep track of what needs to be done each hour. Would you mind sending me a copy of the template you created? Thanks and much appreciated!

  10. Sean Dent Scrubs Blogger

    @Liza
    @Erin
    Follow the ‘contact’ button and submit your request there. Thanks!

  11. lori Wheaton

    Thanks for the great information. Please, I would greatly appreciate a copy of your flow sheet.

  12. Joan Baker

    Hi,
    I work 12 hour shifts and 8 hour shifts on a busy cardiac telemetry unit. Would you be you so kind to send me worksheet that I could use or any websites to help learn cardiac, and bipap or cpap use, thank you so much.

  13. Sean Dent Scrubs Blogger

    @ Joan Please follow the ‘contact’ button and submit your request. We’ll be happy to share!

  14. Linda

    I would love a copy of any ‘brain’ that can help organize our days. Please forward a copy.

  15. Sean Dent Scrubs Blogger

    @Linda Follow the ‘Contact’ link below and we’ll get that out to you!

  16. Justin

    I would love a copy of your template, I’m a new grad trying to learn the art of time management.
    thanks – jgollott@gmail.com

  17. unjustword

    Please forward your worksheet to unjustword@hotmail.com. Thanks!

    • Scrubs Staff Scrubs Blogger

      Hi there! We sent along the worksheet–enjoy!

  18. erinmac22 RN

    Hi Sean, I’m a Nurse Educator … your template would help my staff tons! Can you email it to erinmac_2@hotmail.com ?
    THANK YOU!!

  19. jrachel92

    Hi, this is great! Could I have a copy of this template???
    I want to create my own, but I don’t know where to start. Pls help :)

  20. lindaholder

    I too would like a copy of your daily management sheet.
    linda@holderusa.com
    thank you

  21. stclong

    I am a new nurse on a cardiac unit. I could really use the worksheet you have all commented on. How do I get the worksheet?

  22. memyselfandsal

    I would love to look at your worksheet if you are still willing to share it. I’m just starting out and want to be organized and efficient. I can use all the help that I can get! Thanks you!

  23. sugaplum79

    Hello, Could you please share your organization sheet,because I’m a new RN Grad and need some assistance on how to stay organized throughout my shift. thanks

  24. Murdog12

    Thank you for all the wonderful resources and tips to help succeed as a new nurse. Please email your helpful sheets in your free time. I appreciate it very much! erinmu1@gmail.com

  25. certicare

    I would also like the sheet. I am just getting back into nursing after taking 16 years off to raise my kids, and I’m finding organization is my biggest challenge. Thanks.
    Certicare@gmail.com

  26. faithhopenurse

    I would love to have your work sheet! :)
    faithhopenurse@gmail.com

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