How Do I Stay Focused?


 At work, I easily get distracted while I am concentrating on another task. I think this is common especially if you work in a hospital setting like mine. All the stimuli are around – patients, doctors, co-nurses, supervisors, call bells,  and beeping pieces of equipment. These are facts of life as a nurse and we could not get away with it.

But as nurses, we need to concentrate on the things we do, although it is inevitable to have so many things in your mind all at the same time.  You are doing something and the phone rings, or the patient calls – that will cause you to go away from what you are currently doing. But how can we remain focused on what we are doing, and remain organized despite all the distractions around?

One thing I do when my brain gets overloaded is that I STOP FOR A WHILE. It may be a very busy day and I need to be running here and there. But with all the distractions, I never get to finish anything and my tasks were all half done. I need to stop running then and get myself collected. I usually go to a quiet corner and start focusing on the tasks at hand. Which ones should I do first? Which ones are urgent? Which ones can I do at a later time?

My small cheat sheet allows me to write down which tasks I have done and which ones I need to do on a scheduled pace. After sorting myself out, I go back to the real world knowing what to do.

Another thing I do to keep myself focused on one task, is organization and mind-practice. Before I go to a patient’s room, I stop and practice in my mind what I am going to do there. What should I say? What should be checked? If I need to be doing vital signs, I make sure that all the equipments that I am bringing in are in working condition. If I need to be giving out meds, I make sure I have looked up the indications of the meds so I can readily answer the patient’s questions. If I need to be doing a procedure (eg wound dressings, catheterizations, IV cannulations) I make sure I have all the little pieces of materials that I would need by praticing the procedure in my mind, so then I wouldn’t be going up and down the hallway.

Everything is out-of-hand? I stop what I am doing. I deep breathe and recollect myself.


19 Responses to “How Do I Stay Focused?”

  1. January 31, 2011 at 6:59 am

    It’s so hard to stay focused in such a busy environment! but good for you for trying 🙂


  2. February 1, 2011 at 8:14 pm

    Your post hit home with me, Nelson. I have this same focusing problem all the time, not just at work. It seems especially bad if I’m sitting in front of a computer, where I just get sucked down the rabbit hole. Stop. Breathe. Recollect. Thanks.


  3. February 3, 2011 at 5:10 am

    No problem! post more, and I’ll come by more 🙂


  4. 5 digitalcatharsis
    February 4, 2011 at 6:29 am

    HI WOLF PASCOE, oh yeah, getting stucked in front of the computer is another personal issue 🙂



  5. February 4, 2011 at 9:57 pm

    hi nelson, i’ve changed my website to http://quietmumblings.com. silentblabber doesn’t exist anymore. thank’s!



  6. February 5, 2011 at 4:19 am

    Yes, nurses have to multi-task…anyone in the medical profession. I’m sure I’ve told you this MANY times but when I was in the hospital (having Finn and then fighting for my life after nectratizing pancreatitis) nurses saved my life. I had a couple bad nurses (very few) and I had so many amazing ones that really made my life so much better. I don’t know how you do it…but after watching them for awhile I know that nurses are another profession that doesn’t get paid near enough. In my experience male nurses are A-MAZ-ING because it’s not a traditional “male” job…so when guys make that choice they really know that’s what their meant to do.

    I had nurses who (after a major screw-up) were the only reason I got into the correct procedure because they called down to bug them every 5 minutes…because mostly they’re just sitting on their butts not doing anything. I say this in total sarcasm…I don’t know how they have a minute to take a breath, much less call to check on a procedure for ONE of their patients. When I finally got out of the hospital, they informed me that they better never see me again.

    When I was admitted into the hospital they told me I would be out in 2-3 days. A week later they moved me into the ICU and I had my first male nurse. He had me laughing none stop. My mom told me that was the first time she knew I was going to make it, when she heard me laughing.

    When I was delivering Finn (I was induced) the doctor would come in and tell me what he wanted to do and then we asked the nurse what she thought. I think it annoyed the doctor, but the nurse had been with us every moment…and I trusted her view way more than the doctor’s.

    I know this is all over the place…and now that I’m taking some classes in the medical field (not nursing or anything…I’m not a saint like that…really bad under pressure and all that…more administration and business part) and I have WAY more respect for nurses…even though I didn’t think that was possible. This stuff is NO JOKE and I know that your classes are about a MILLION times harder than what I’m taking PLUS you have to deal with ornery patients and doctors that don’t appreciate you as much as they should.

    Mainly what I’m saying is that I am SO grateful for what you do each day and if people don’t stop and say thanks enough…please know that’s what’s in their hearts. Good nurses (and I know you’re not good…but great…I can tell) are angels sent from heaven.

    You’re amazing!!!!!


  7. 8 digitalcatharsis
    February 5, 2011 at 9:10 am

    Hi KATE, I just love what you wrote! I wish I’ll have you as a patient (Oh but i don’t mean that I want you to get sick!). I love to get very appreciative patients! There’s no heaven like being thanked for all your efforts to make your patient feel better. And there’s no worst than being yelled at despite your hard work. Thank you for making me feel good about my job today.

    This is a long comment! I really appreciate the time spent. Would you mind if I repost your comment as a separate post? I’d love my co-nurses to read this. I’m sure this will give them some moral boost!

    God bless you, Kate!


  8. 9 digitalcatharsis
    February 5, 2011 at 9:16 am

    Hi ANDRE, thanks for the update. I’ll redo my blogroll later. And will check out your new site in a while.


  9. February 5, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    I would be honored…use anything I post anywhere anytime. In case you couldn’t tell…I’m a huge fan on nurses. I’m not sure I was an excellent patient the whole time though…here are couple more times when I talked about different times I was hospitalized and what a difference nurses made. There is one about the evil nurse I had though…I had 2 really bad nurses. But there are bad people in every profession. From the bottom of my heart, to you and all other nurses, thank you for the incredible work you do. Your patients appreciate you (even if they don’t show it sometimes). You are giving them care, compassion, and sympathy as they are probably going through one of the most difficult and terrifying times of their lives! That’s what I think at least…for what it’s worth!


  10. June 15, 2011 at 5:18 pm

    We share the same cheat! I always make a to-do list, but I always wonder why I only get to accomplish half of the things I write down. I still have to learn how to manage my time, I guess, because at the end of the day, I feel disappointed that I didn’t get to do the things I need to do.

    But I have another thing that makes me focus: a big note in front of me telling me something to look forward to at the end of the day, if I can finish everything the way I am supposed to finish them.


    • 12 nelson RN
      June 16, 2011 at 3:18 am

      Well, I guess we have the same sentiment that we only finish haf of what we write in our to-do list. But then, sometimes my listing is not achievable in a day, so I have to add what’s left behind for tomorrow’s list.


  11. June 21, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    ang hirap nga mag concentrate lalo na’t maraming distractions sa surroundings… its like blogging, di ka rin makakapag concentrate lalo na pag maraming iniisip at di mo alam kung ano ang isusulat mo hehehe!


  12. June 26, 2011 at 11:05 am

    Buti na lang di ako ng nurse kasi madali pa naman akong nadidistruct…at makakalimutin pa…hahaha eh baka yong gamot sa kabilang pasyente, eh naibigay ko sa iba hahaha….

    sa nababasa ko syo, parang ang hirap ng gawain ng nurses….


  13. June 27, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    korek! take a deep breath and relax! 🙂


  14. June 27, 2011 at 10:54 pm

    omg, i can’t imagine how i’d focus in an environment always alive with energy + too many things happening all at the same time. the same reason why i didn’t like to be a nurse, i can only multi-task too much 🙂


  15. June 28, 2011 at 6:22 pm

    it really pays to be organized and working with ur minds fully refreshed:)


  16. June 28, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    +pero ang hirap cguro maging kalmado ang isip esp kun asa trauma o er section ka.


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