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.