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The work of nurses is all about dedication to patient health and a relentless drive to enhance patient care. On top of this, they must be able to handle multiple tasks simultaneously. Nursing is a demanding role that requires nurse practitioners (NPs) to be at the top of their game. Why?

Your role is at the front line of healthcare, with responsibilities around patient care, consultations, diagnostics, and more. Juggling these multiple roles means you must be able to handle all your patients, multitask effectively, and achieve expected outcomes for your patients.

However, your academic knowledge may not be enough for the abilities your role requires. This is why you may need to dig deep into an AACN essentials and family nurse practitioner curriculum to learn more about the skills essential to navigating the busy healthcare terrain. This program by the University of Indianapolis offers 46 credit hours and 750 clinical practice hours. These provide you enough time to learn from the best, be the best you can be, and eventually practice as a full-fledged nursing professional.

The program prepares you for the real world. And as part of what the real world looks like, juggling multiple tasks in healthcare is commonplace. This article will show you eight ways to do it without feeling burned out.

Eight methods of multitasking for nurse practitioners

Multitasking is ideal in the nursing profession, and that’s because it’s a busy role. If you work in a large hospital or a busy ward, you must be on top of your game to handle the workload. How?


Prioritization is the act of arranging tasks based on their level of importance. In healthcare, where time-sensitive situations are the norm, failing to prioritize can result in poorer patient outcomes or medical errors.

NPs work on different tasks almost at the same time. You go from patient consultation and medical assessment to lab work, administrative duties, and medication management. You need to know what to focus on at a particular time because you can’t treat all tasks equally. For example, some patients might require immediate intervention, while others might be stable enough to wait a little longer. Prioritization in these cases can help ensure better time management without compromising patient care.

Sometimes, it’s simple logic; sometimes, it’s not. For instance, you’ll choose to attend to a patient with declining vitals over updating another patient’s medical records. But sometimes, it’s not always easy to choose what to prioritize. So, how can you decide?

You can start by using the triage systems. This works in emergency settings where you can use it to quickly assess and prioritize patients based on the severity of their condition. You can also list the tasks that must be completed at your shift’s start. When you meet some, check them off and add new ones. Every time you complete a task, move to the next important one.

All these help you prioritize well without compromising quality healthcare.

Batching similar tasks

Batching involves grouping and completing similar tasks in one continuous time block. This enables NPs to focus on one activity simultaneously to reduce the mental load of switching between different tasks. The principle behind batching is simple: similar jobs often require identical skill sets, tools, and mental states. Therefore, doing them together can lead to higher efficiency and fewer errors.

Batching helps decrease transition time between activities. This way, NPs won’t use a “switching cost,” which may drain their mental energy, even if switching from task A to task B takes seconds. For context, it’s easier to check the vitals of all patients in one go than it is to check the vitals of 5 of 15 patients and then jump into a consultation session afterward. Checking the vitals of all the patients (before doing another task) helps you move from patient A to B, to C, down to the last, without interruptions.

How can this be implemented in healthcare spaces? You can start by identifying batchable activities. Not all tasks are suitable for batching. Identify which tasks can be grouped, such as checking vitals or updating patient charts. Afterward, allocate time blocks so you have a specific schedule to perform these tasks. This ensures you have a dedicated time to focus solely on completing them. You can also create checklists to keep you on track and avoid missing any step when dealing with multiple patients. All these will help you limit interruption and focus on completing your tasks one at a time.

Time management

In this context, effective time management means maximizing your time to achieve desired results. Nurses are busy, and time management ensures that every task receives the attention it deserves within the constraints of a busy schedule.

Priorities shift easily in the healthcare environment because of the emergency cases that could occur. However, as a nurse, you must always ensure that less urgent ones do not overshadow high-priority tasks.

You can start maximizing your time by using alarms and timers. These remind you when to transition from one activity to another. It also helps to allocate specific durations for each task to avoid getting too absorbed in any single move at the expense of others. Another strategy is to spend a few minutes planning out your studies. Planning can give you a clearer sense of how to allocate your time across various duties.

Finally, limiting the chances of multitasking can also help, as excessive multitasking can reduce the quality of your work. Use your time management skills to reduce the need for multitasking by focusing more intently on one task at a time.

Task delegation

Task delegation involves assigning specific duties or responsibilities to other team members based on their qualifications and skill sets. This will allow you to allocate tasks to nursing staff, medical assistants, or other healthcare providers to streamline workflow and ensure timely patient care.

Delegating tasks helps you focus on activities that require your specialized skills and expertise. This is important in healthcare institutions where you’re responsible for many duties, like diagnosing illnesses, developing treatment plans, and prescribing medications. By delegating less critical tasks, you can free up time to concentrate on complex medical issues to improve healthcare efficiency.

For example, rather than spend time stocking medical supplies, delegate that task to a nursing assistant. This can help you focus on roles like consultations or urgent medical procedures. This approach is one of the strategies that helped Mulyanza Hugette combat the Ebola outbreak in Africa. Delegation almost always results in better patient outcomes because large tasks can be broken into more manageable chunks.

How can you implement task delegation in practice? First, identify the delegable tasks that can be safely assigned to others. These could be tasks like taking vitals or drawing blood samples. Then, know who among your team would follow your instructions and carry out tasks successfully. It would help if you also learned to prioritize what to delegate; this enables you to understand critical and less critical studies. Finally, follow up to ensure the assigned tasks were completed as required.

Setting clear communication

Clear communication involves conveying information in a straightforward, unambiguous manner. Effective communication facilitates accurate information exchange between healthcare providers and between providers and patients. This helps streamline the treatment process and minimizes the chances of errors or misunderstandings.

Setting clear communication also helps avoid poor contact. Poor communication can lead to medical errors, patient dissatisfaction, and inefficiencies that hinder patient care. Nurses can easily pass unclear messages when managing multiple tasks and coordinating with various healthcare professionals. Therefore, clear, standardized communication can alleviate these issues by ensuring everyone is on the same page.

How can you implement this at work? First, use standardized medical language or protocols, like the SBAR (Situation-Background-Assessment-Recommendation) technique. You should also be concise, precise, and straightforward when communicating with patients or peers. This helps you avoid unnecessary jargon and aim for clarity in your messages. Active listening is also as essential as speaking clearly. Listen carefully to what others say and confirm your understanding by summarizing or asking clarifying questions.

Limiting interruptions

Limiting interruptions involves deliberately managing and minimizing distractions to maintain focus and preserve workflow. For nurses juggling various responsibilities in patient care and administrative roles, interruptions, however minor, can break concentration. This can increase the likelihood of errors and extend the time required to complete tasks.

Limiting interruptions helps maintain focus and ensure a more efficient and safer work environment. For example, if you’re interrupted while calculating medication dosages, there’s a risk of error that could adversely affect the patient’s health.

So, how can you implement measures to limit interruptions? First, schedule specific times for certain tasks. Designating specific times for activities like checking emails, returning calls, or engaging in administrative tasks allows you to concentrate on more urgent tasks without constant interruption. In criticYou use “Do Not Disturb” signs or other visible indicators. This allows, in critical moments, your colleagues to know that you should not be interrupted.

Turning off your device’s notifications can help avoid unnecessary distractions. Coupled with this is that you must train and inform your team about the consequences of interruptions during critical tasks. You can set guidelines for when and how to interrupt you or each other in urgent situations. And when you’re interrupted, always prioritize urgency and remember to delegate the less critical tasks.

Physical organization

This is about arranging your physical workspace in an orderly way so your tools, equipment, and documents are easily accessible. This means having a designated spot for medical instruments, patient charts, and medications, among other things. This organized workspace enables efficient workflows by allowing quick access to what is needed to help you multitask more effectively.

Time is scarce in healthcare, and a cluttered workspace can slow down even the most proficient nurse. Locating a misplaced piece of equipment or searching through disorganized paperwork wastes valuable time and breaks the workflow. This increases the chance of errors or omissions and can lead to exhaustion. Therefore, having a well-organized workplace helps you complete your tasks quickly and have more time to focus on other responsibilities.

Start by designating areas for specific functions. For example, all diagnostic tools could be placed in one drawer while medications are organized in another room. It would help if you labeled everything to save time and reduce mistakes. This makes it easier for anyone on the team to find what they need quickly.

Another strategy is to regularly remove or rearrange items that are not frequently used or are taking up unnecessary space. You can also keep essential things within arm’s reach to reduce the time and effort needed to retrieve them. All these mechanisms make it easy to maintain a tidy workspace in your office, laboratory, and wards.

Mental preparation

This means you’re mentally organized and prepared before starting a task or series of tasks. It’s about taking a few minutes before the start of a shift to go through the expected duties and challenges of the day. By doing so, you prepare yourself to be able to navigate the challenges with more focus.

As a nurse, you work in unpredictable environments, and while surprises are unavoidable, they can be better managed if you’ve already anticipated them. Mental preparation sets the stage for effective multitasking, allowing you to identify priorities, foresee obstacles, and strategize solutions.

First, map out the day. Before your shift starts, take a few minutes to review scheduled appointments, expected admissions, or planned procedures. This will help you identify high-priority tasks. You can also anticipate challenges by thinking through the possible challenges. This could be a shortage of staff or complex medical cases. Prepare yourself mentally for them.

While doing these, set objectives to define your aim during your shift. Having specific goals can help keep you focused and efficient. All these activities will help you calm your nerves and go through your change, knowing that you can prioritize and achieve essential results for your patients.


As you navigate the rigors of modern nursing, these tried-and-true multitasking methods can save you a lot of headaches. They help you decide what to prioritize, why to choose one over others, and how to do your work better. They can also ensure greater efficiency, less stress, and, most critically, better patient care. So, whether you’re a budding nurse practitioner or a professional looking to be more efficient, the above methods can help you work smarter.