- Pre-plan your day! Have a 10 minute huddle with your staff in the morning and after lunch to conduct pre-visit planning for patients on your schedule. Your day will run smoother with fewer hiccups. For example, if Mrs. Smith is coming in for a diabetes follow-up, ensure all necessary orders are already placed so your medical assistant can have these things done prior to you seeing the patient. If Mr. Fox is coming in for a hospital follow-up, ensure your staff calls the hospital for notes and reports so they are available by the appointment time. If Ms. Tran is a frequent no-show, have staff call to remind her of her appointment.
- Stop charting every little thing. If your patient is coming in for a problem focused visit such as an upper respiratory infection, you really don’t need to chart every little thing they say. Keep your charting concise and chart essential problem focused information only.
- Take your laptop with you from room to room. This keeps you moving faster and you avoid having to log in and out of your EHR. Place orders and finish charting in-between patients at the nurses station without having to go back to your office.
- Build a relationship with your staff and learn to appreciate them. You’ll work together more efficiently and they will be more willing to help you when you’re in a crunch.
- Know what resources are available to you and where to find them. Epocrates, UpToDate, Doximity, colleagues in specialties, etc. It is impossible to know everything — don’t beat yourself up over it.
- Stop conducting patient care 2–3 hours before bed. Chances are if you’re up charting, you’ll get caught up reviewing labs, consultation reports, telephone calls, prescription refills, staff messages, etc.
- Don’t pick up extra shifts. You’ll thank yourself for giving yourself the time required to rest and recharge.
- Once a week, do something for yourself. Whether it’s treating yourself to a good meal, seeing your friends or family, getting a massage, or going mountain biking — do it!
Helen Lu is a Family Nurse Practitioner primarily working in Clinical Informatics.