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4 tips for efficient charting at home for nurse practitioners

Four tips for efficient charting at home

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While the ultimate goal is to implement the  time management and charting tools  to STOP charting at home, the reality is many nurse practitioners still need to document at home.

The amount of tasks nurse practitioners do during a work day matched with the unrealistic time expectations (i.e. 10-15 minutes per patient appointment) makes it challenging for many nurse practitioners to complete their work before leaving work. Many nurse practitioner need to complete their charting and other tasks in order to get the work done.

But charting at home can feel frustrating. Many nurse practitioners would rather spend their time with family, friends, or doing activities they enjoy. Feelings such as  mom guilt  can develop from spending more time charting and less time with their children. Charting at home creates a work-life imbalance and makes nurse practitioners prone to burnout.

The end goal is for nurse practitioners to implement the Time Management and Charting Tips  to help them achieve a better work-life balance. Nurse practitioners know these changes don’t happen overnight. Through small habit and time management changes, nurse practitioners can compound their efforts into massive results. NPs can STOP charting at home!

Until the nurse practitioner is able to accomplish the positive effects of time management, utilize these four tips for more efficient charting at home.

Clear distractions.

When nurse practitioners eliminate any distractions (i.e.  social distractions at work  or even distractions at home) we can better concentrate on the task at hand. (It is also beneficial to  avoid multitasking  as well). This increase in concentration helps us to complete our charting in a shorter amount of time.

Make an effort to clear any distractions while charting at home. Instead of sitting on the couch watching TV while you finish documentation, try having a designated space. Utilize a home office and keep the area clear from distractions. Close the door to allow full concentration. Hide your phone in a drawer or in the other room. Complete the charting after your children go to bed so there are no interruptions.

Eliminating the distractions will help nurse practitioners get their charting at home done more efficiently creating more time for themselves.

Prioritize what is most important.

Nurse practitioners have many different tasks to do during the day and if the work is not completed, it can carry over to finishing charting at home.

For starters, nurse practitioners assess, diagnose, treat, and document patient encounters. Many nurse practitioners also address medication refills, analyzing diagnostic data, reviewing past medical records, and the never ending patient messages. While all of these tasks are important to do, finishing the chart note is most important.

These patient encounter notes are assigned an  Evaluation and Management Code  and used to bill the patient’s insurance for services rendered. The chart note is what generates revenue for healthcare institutions. Nurse practitioners must remember that healthcare is a business and needs this income to function.

Not to mention, the documentation for a patient encounter is also important for  continuation of care and can be used in legal implications . Nurse practitioners should strive to complete the chart notes in a timely manner.  Completing the chart notes as soon as possible  also helps nurse practitioners to clear the task from their mind.

Nurse practitioners can then focus on the next task at hand and accomplish all the other duties. I encourage nurse practitioners to prioritize completion of patient encounter notes.

Work smarter, not harder.

As previously mentioned, completing patient encounter notes should be a top priority for nurse practitioners. Having said that, nurse practitioners may want to take into account a few factors when charting at home.

At the end of a long, busy workday, our minds are exhausted. Nurse practitioners likely do not have the mental or physical energy to take on the most challenging tasks. If nurse practitioners were to try to complete that really complicated patient’s chart, it may take them twice as long or the nurse practitioner may forget to document an important piece of information.

Therefore, is it really worth the time to complete that complicated chart note? Or should nurse practitioners wait to finish the comprehensive chart note the next morning, when mental energy is highest? Maybe the nurse practitioner chooses to work on simpler tasks that do not require as much mental capacity.

I also recommend nurse practitioner triage the task will set them up for success for the next work day. Nurse practitioners may want to complete some of the easier tasks that will save them time the following day.

Maybe it is reviewing past medical records or analyzing diagnostic data. Maybe it is clearing out the patient messages. Think of how it will feel the next morning to have a clear mind that is not impaired by a long to-do list.

So if you would like to start the next day on a fresh start, clear the easier tasks. This is an example of working smarter and not harder. It also helps to no longer be charting at home!

Allow time for rest and recharge.

The issue with having a work-life imbalance  is the fact that nurse practitioners don’t give themselves the time to rest and recharge. It is not possible for our brains to be “on” all the time. Nurse practitioners need time away from work to “refill our cupsand take time for our personal lives.

I understand the necessity to document at home, many nurse practitioners need to catch up or prepare for the next workday. However, I encourage nurse practitioners to allow some time to rest. Spend time with family and friends.  Actually do the self-care . Address our  mental, physical, and emotional health . Managing our time and prioritizing self-care can make a huge impact on our work-life balance and nurse practitioner burnout.

Utilize these tips when you are charting at home to complete charts efficiently so that you can have more time to rest! And remember, to continue working on time management and charting tools during the workday. These concepts will improve productivity and efficiency and help us avoid having to chart at home altogether. Some days are better than other days, but it is possible to STOP charting at home.

Check out  The Nurse Practitioner Charting School’s blog page  and  The Time Management and Charting Tips Course  for additional tips.

Erica D the NP is a family nurse practitioner and The Nurse Practitioner Charting Coach. Erica helps nurse practitioners STOP charting at home! Erica created The Nurse Practitioner Charting School to be the one stop for all documentation resources created specifically for nurse practitioners. Learn more at www.npchartingschool.com

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