Scheduling for Sanity

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Contributed by staff writer Amanda Fraraccio

We kicked off the new year with a look at nutrition tips for self-care in the work place.  This month we outline suggestions for approaching daily schedules intentionally and mindfully.  These practices can go a long way in maintaining sanity and improving patient care. Here are some tips for staying on track during the work day.

Give the task at hand undivided attention

When evaluating the daily schedule anticipate working in breaks, even quick ones, to refocus. Try to avoid stopping mid task for a rest.  Keeping the mind focused takes practice.  Build this mental concentration muscle by being aware of times the mind wanders and consciously redirect focus to the current task (Komar, 2016). 

Create realistic time frames

It can be helpful to think honestly about how long a task takes you as an individual with your own set of skills and challenges. Errors can occur when calculating only the time it “should” take to complete a task (Komar, 2016). Consider asking for help when you feel you have exhausted your own resources (Bowen, 2019).

Review the daily schedule and refer to it throughout the day

Knowing each day’s big picture may allow for better preparedness rather than being surprised by what’s next.  It can also be easier to adjust to changes or unforeseen problems when you know what the day holds (Komar, 2016). BBI sonographers utilize morning huddles to review the day together and address bottle necks, questions, concerns, and lunch breaks (Romero, 2019). TAs arrive at clinic 30 minutes before the first patient and sonographers arrive 15 minutes ahead to get the clinic ready and create a game plan for the day (Bowen, 2019).

Allow dedicated time for difficult tasks

Whether it’s an occasional special project or a routine task that requires a higher level of concentration, schedule those events for a time of day/location when you feel most productive and will have the least interruptions (Komar, 2016).

Passing the fetal echo exam within a year of hire is a goal BBI strongly encourages. There are fetal echo books at multiple clinics for sonographers to study. Choosing times and clinics that allow for focused study without distracting a sonographer from patients is key (Bowen, 2019).

Communication and Preparation

Though stopping to communicate information may seem time consuming in the moment it can save time overall.  During an appointment, a patient interacts with multiple healthcare providers (front desk, nurse, TA, sonographer, and doctor). Passing along information about patient status can help avoid unnecessary time loss.  For example, when a sonographer lets the TA know she has completed an exam the TA can move the patient to a consult room opening an ultrasound room for another appointment to begin.  Taking time to hear or read the communication from other team members can save time. For example, reviewing the chart/past exams to determine what information the doctor needs and focusing on those items can lead to a complete exam without taking excessive time (Bowen, 2019).

Quality patient care does not have to mean sacrificing the mental and physical health of team members.  In fact, taking a few moments throughout the day to be conscious of working effectively can allow for a happier experience for our team and those we serve. 

 

                                                                                                               

References

Bowen, M. (2019, February 8). Clinical Director and Regional Supervisor. (A. Fraraccio, Interviewer)

Komar, M. (2016, January 25). https://www.bustle.com/articles. Retrieved from Bustle: https://www.bustle.com/articles/137582-7-tips-on-how-to-actually-stay-on-schedule-once-for-all

Romero, P. (2019, February 4). Operations Manager. (A. Fraraccio, Interviewer)