Time Management Tips for Nurses

By Glenn Fredenburg, August 2015

Eight weeks may seem like a long time for a course, but you’re going to be surprised at how quickly the time flies. Between classes, the assignments, your job and other life commitments the week is over before it started, and you’re behind on assignments and thinking of bailing out.

The answer is effective time management.

In your online class, look for the syllabus and read it thoroughly. I generally print two, and keep one in my textbook so I can keep up with the reading assignments. Make note of:

  • Scheduled exams or tests
  • Due dates for assigned weekly posting
  • Due dates for other group projects

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Read and print the grading rubric as well. This tells you how you are graded, so there are no surprises. If your course considers online posts as 60% of your grade, you might want to allocate more time posting relevant comments. Rule of thumb: if your course considers one original and two replies to others as the minimum for a grade, double that number. The extra effort can only improve your grade and cannot count against you, and the extra focus will help you become a stronger student for other courses.

Using an online calendar, or just plain old pen and paper, create a plan for your work. I advise planning to finish papers or projects a week before they’re due, so you can re-read them more carefully. Or, submit them to the SMARTHINKING writing lab, where you will receive recommended changes for a stronger paper. Don’t be afraid to ask the instructor or the SMARTHINKING tutor for clarification if the details are confusing. Clarity makes for a better paper.

About the Author

Glenn Fredenburg has been a registered nurse for over 13 years, coming to the profession after a career in sales. His experience in nursing has been primarily in the critical care setting, with over 10 years in the emergency room and intensive care areas. His mother is a retired nurse and urged him early in life to "become a nurse" because it's rewarding helping others heal and using your complete "toolbox" of skills to aid in the recovery of body and mind. In hindsight, his mother was right. Don't tell her.