Personal Management Skills Unit

Stress
Stress is how a body reacts to any stimulus that requires a person to adjust to a changing environment.
Time Management
Careers in health care are often stressful and demanding. Health care workers must learn to manage their time properly in order to become effective employees. Time management is a set of skills that helps people to be efficient and productive with their time. By using time management skills, health care workers can reduce their stress and maintain proper perspective on their jobs and lives.
Time management strategies include:
Using appropriate tools.
Setting goals.
Making a time management plan.
Time Management
Time management is a set of skills that helps people be efficient and productive with their time.
Time Management Tools
All health care workers should use time management tools to stay organized. Time management tools include daily planners, calendars, and report sheets. A report sheet is a list of required tasks given to a health care worker by a supervisor. These tools allow health care workers to keep track of all appointments, meetings, and deadlines. In addition, planners and calendars reveal when scheduling conflicts have occurred.

Organization is an essential trait for all health care workers. Time management tools will help health care workers develop organizational skills professionally and personally.

Which of the following is an example of a time management tool?
Daily planner
Organization is an essential trait for all health care workers.
True
Set Goals
Health care workers can set goals to help manage their time. A goal is a desired result or purpose. When a health care worker knows that a task must be accomplished by a certain time or date, the worker can make this task a goal and then take the steps needed to complete it. Health care workers can take the following steps to set a goal:
Define the goal clearly: State the goal specifically and precisely. Use positive words, such as “accomplish” and “complete” instead of “avoid” and “not.” Also, set a time limit for the goal.
Write down the goal: Write all goals in a journal or planner. Writing down a goal makes it seem real and attainable.
Set realistic goals: Goals must present a challenge, but they should not be too difficult or impossible to achieve.
Why is it helpful to write down a goal?
To make it seem real and attainable
It is important to set a time limit for goals.
True
Time Management Plan
When faced with a busy or stressful day, health care workers can use a time management plan to make the most efficient use of time. An effective time management plan may include the following techniques:
Prioritize: Review the tasks that must be accomplished and decide which are the most important. List the tasks in order from most important to least important.
Identify habits: Examine your personal habits. Is there a time of day when you tend to be most productive? Whenever possible, plan to do difficult tasks during your most productive hours.
Schedule tasks: Use a daily planner, calendar, or report sheet to record tasks. Be sure to include time for meals. Whenever there is a scheduling conflict, prioritize the items and reschedule.
Make a “to do” list: Write a “to do” list each day. Each time you complete a task, cross it off. If items are left at the end of the day, decide if the items can be eliminated or if they should be added to another day’s list.
Plan ahead: Some tasks require preparation. Be sure to have all items ready before you begin a task. In addition, dress appropriately for a job and ask for help when needed.
Time Management Plan (continued)
Additional time management techniques include:
Avoid distractions: Distractions prevent a person from completing a task. Distractions may include telephone calls, unexpected visitors, and less important tasks. Identify the items that distract you the most, and plan ways to avoid them.
Recognize achievement: When you complete a difficult task, take time to recognize your achievement. You may want to reward yourself with a short break.
What is prioritizing?
Placing tasks in order from most important to least important
You should plan to do difficult tasks during your most productive hours.
True
Take time to recognize your achievement after you finish a task.
True
Evaluate and Reevaluate
Even with careful planning, goals and tasks may not always be accomplished. Emergencies and unexpected tasks often occur in health care facilities. Health care workers must be flexible and willing to adapt their schedules.
Whenever goals and tasks are not accomplished, health care workers must determine the reason for the failure. Did an unexpected event require a schedule adjustment? Was the task or goal unrealistic? Was time wasted on a less important task? After the cause of the failure is evaluated, the health care worker can reevaluate tasks and adjust goals. Health care workers can use experiences from failed attempts to become more effective workers.
Health care workers must adapt their schedules to emergency situations.
True
Health care workers can learn from failures.
True
Suppose that an emergency situation occurs at 10:15 AM. How should you respond?
Be flexible and adapt your schedule to the emergency situation
Time management is a set of skills that helps people be efficient and productive with their time.
True
Time management strategies include using appropriate tools, setting goals, and making a time management plan.
True
Even with careful planning, goals and tasks may not always be accomplished.
True
Health care workers can use experiences from failed attempts to become more effective workers.
True
Problem Solving
The difference between an average health care worker and an excellent health care worker is often the ability to solve problems. Excellent health care workers use problem solving skills to find solutions that are not always obvious. Problem solving is the ability to analyze a situation and reach a reasonable conclusion. This skill requires looking at the big picture and combining factual knowledge with creative thinking.
In problem solving, what is used to find a solution?
Factual knowledge
Creative thinking
Problem solving is the ability to analyze a situation by looking at ____.
The big picture
Problem Solving
Problem solving is the ability to analyze a situation and reach a reasonable conclusion. This skill requires looking at the big picture and combining factual knowledge with creative thinking.
The Problem Solving Method
Health care workers should use the problem solving method on a daily basis. This method can be used by an individual or in group discussions. The problem solving method is made of the following six steps:
1. Identify the problem: What is the basis of the problem? What is causing the problem?
2. Identify the objective that must be achieved: What is the goal? What must be accomplished? What is the big picture?
3. Identify the circumstances that affect the problem: What are the facts? What is preventing the goal or task from being accomplished?
4. Name all possible solutions: How might the problem be eliminated? How might the goal be adapted?
5. Make and implement a plan: Which solution will be the most effective? Is the solution reasonable?
6. Evaluate the results: Did the solution solve the problem? Would another plan have worked better? Should the solution be repeated or changed? Repeat the problem-solving method until the objective is achieved.
Problem Solving Example
Janine is a medical assistant. At 1:50 PM, she is asked to transfer Mr. Vidal from his bed to a wheelchair. Then, she must take Mr. Vidal to the fourth floor for therapy at 2:00 PM. When Janine prepares Mr. Vidal for the transfer, she notices that the footrest on the wheelchair is broken. Janine can use the problem solving method to find a solution to this problem.
1. Identify the problem: The footrest on Mr. Vidal’s wheelchair is broken.
2. Identify the objective that must be achieved: Mr. Vidal must be transported safely to the fourth floor for therapy.
3. Identify the circumstances that affect the problem: Mr. Vidal cannot be transported in a wheelchair with a broken footrest. Doing so might cause an injury.
4. Name all possible solutions:
– Leave Mr. Vidal in bed and skip therapy for today.
– Transport Mr. Vidal in the broken wheelchair.
– Help Mr. Vidal walk to the fourth floor for therapy.
– Find a new wheelchair for Mr. Vidal.
5. Make and implement a plan: The best solution is to find a new wheelchair for Mr. Vidal. It may take a few minutes to locate an available wheelchair, so Janine should call the therapy department and notify the therapist that Mr. Vidal may be a few minutes late.

After Janine implements her plan, she must complete the last step of the problem solving method:
6. Evaluate the results: The plan was successful. Even though Mr. Vidal was a few minutes late for therapy, he was transported in a safe wheelchair.

What is the first step in the problem solving method?
Identify the problem
Why is the evaluation step important to the problem solving method?
To determine if the solution was successful
To decide if another solution would have worked better
To decide if the solution should be repeated
Step 1
Identify the problem
Step 2
Identify the objective that must be achieved
Step 3
Identify the circumstances that affect the problem
Step 4
Name all possible solutions
Step 5
Make and implement a plan
Step 6
Evaluate the results
Compromise
Compromise is negotiating to reach a mutual agreement. It is a “give and take” method of settling a difference.
Scope of Practice
Scope of practice is what health care workers should and should not do according to their profession. Each health care profession has a scope of practice.
Problem Solving in Health Care
The problem solving method may be used by health care workers to determine solutions for problems. However, there are several items that health care workers must remember before implementing a plan:
In a health care setting, problem solving may involve more than just oneself. For example, a medical treatment problem involves the patient, the patient’s family, and the health care team. Before acting on a problem, it may be necessary to consult with multiple people.
When working with a team, compromise may be needed. If a team is working to find the best possible solution to a problem, compromise may be used to arrive at a solution that works for every team member.
Health care workers must never perform tasks that are outside their scope of practice. If a solution requires a task that the health care worker is not allowed to perform, the health care worker must consult the supervisor immediately.
Health care workers always solve problems individually.
False
What should a health care worker do if the solution to a problem requires a task that is outside of the scope of practice?
Consult the supervisor
Correct Technique
Consult all involved people
Evaluate the results
Examine all possible solutions
Compromise when needed
Analyze the big picture
Incorrect Technique
Force your opinion
Always chose obvious solutions
Act outside of your scope of practice
Ignore the patients opinion
Make all decisions alone
Problem solving is the ability to analyze a situation and reach a reasonable conclusion. This skill requires looking at the big picture and combining factual knowledge with creative thinking.
True
The problem solving method can be used by an individual or in group discussions.
True
Compromise may be used to arrive at a solution that works for every team member.
True
Health care workers must never perform tasks that are outside their scope of practice.
True