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Time Saving Tip for Nurse Practitioners: Clear the To Do List

Time Saving Tip: Clear the Charting To Do List

With the holidays fast approaching, I wanted to share this time saving tip to help you get caught up on your charting!

Maybe you have some extra days off during the holidays (or maybe you work the holidays because after all, nurse practitioners do work in healthcare 😩).

Either way, I want you to work on clearing your To Do List like you’re going on vacation.

Think about the couple days before you plan to leave for vacation. You work super hard to get everything accomplished. There is desire, motivation, and energy fueling your workflow. You are incentivized to get all of your work caught up. You increase your focus level in order to sign those charts. You work hard to clear out all the medication refills. You are on top of all the patient messages. You address all the medical documentation that needs to be reviewed.

This energy and motivation helps you to get caught up just before leaving for vacation. In turn, you feel more relaxed during your time off and can enjoy the vacation.

I encourage nurse practitioners to utilize this time saving tip and create this energy every work day. This will increase APRNs productivity and help to stay on time during the work day. It will help nurse practitioners create a better work-life balance because they can actually be present in the moment instead of worrying about how many open charts they have. Becoming energized and motivated to get the work done can help avoid the charting burnout.

Here are a few time saving tips to clear that To Do List

Create a time frame.

One of the reasons the clearing the To Do List technique works so well is because there is an established, short-term time frame. As a nurse practitioner, you have to get everything done before you leave for vacation. There is not much wiggle room for procrastinating or putting off certain tasks. There is an official deadline and everything needs to get done. Set an established time limit on a daily basis. Stick to that time line which will help increase focus and productivity.

Delegate work.

I know this is difficult for some nurse practitioners. Staffing is a significant issue for a lot of healthcare facilities. Many nurse practitioners end up doing their own patient communications, referrals, prior auths, etc. Nurse practitioners also have a tough time delegating because a lot of the tasks we did as RNs. Assist a patient to the bathroom. Obtain a nasal swab for influenza test. Check vital signs. The list goes on and on. Just because nurse practitioners know how to do these nursing tasks, doesn’t mean we always have to.

Keep in mind how valuable your time is. And if you are suffering from charting burnout, something has to change. You need to implement this time saving tip!

Think about how much you delegate before going on vacation. You may delegate work to your colleague or nurse/MA. You may ask them to check in on a patient. Or keep an eye out for specific lab results. Or call the patient to let them know they need to schedule a visit before you can refill any medications.

Try to delegate work to ensure you have time to complete the tasks that actually bring in income for the clinic/hospital, i.e. charting patient encounters. Utilize this time saving tip so you can STOP charting at home and overcome nurse practitioner burnout!

Prioritize the work.

What needs to be done at this exact moment? There are so many tasks a nurse practitioner has to do and it can be difficult to get everything accomplished. Identify what is most important to do at that moment. This will ensure the necessary tasks get done first.

As previously stated, documenting a patient encounter is what actually brings in money for the healthcare institution. While addressing medication refills and patient messages is important, these tasks do not actually produce revenue. As a nurse practitioner, completing chart notes should be of highest priority.

Utilize a To Do List.

I constantly refer to my To Do List. Probably because some days my life and work seems so chaotic, I have a hard time remembering things 🤪. I have an ongoing To Do List on the Notes app on my phone. It includes important personal items like appointments, school activities, etc.

I also create a To Do List for work related activities like needing to complete a prior auth, call a patient, or follow-up on recent lab work, etc. It helps me remember what should be done and helps me prioritize what is most important. And to be honest, I LOVE the feeling of crossing items off the list!

Create your To Do List at the end of the day, in preparation for the morning. This sets the priorities that need to be done the next day. When you get to work, it eliminates wasting any time thinking about what you should be doing. It makes it easy to focus on what needs to be done. This time saving tip will ensure you are focusing on what is most important!

Use these four tips to help you create momentum and energy to clear your To Do List before the holidays! It’s amazing the energy and productivity that can come from utilizing this time saving tip. This will ensure you can be more present during time with family and friends!

P.S. For other time saving tips, check out The Time Management and Charting Tips course available through The Nurse Practitioner Charting School!

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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