6 Ways for nurses to chart faster

Have you had a hard time adjusting to the big switch from paper to computers? Here are some universal, time-saving tips to help you chart faster!

1.     Learn to Type This is a universal skill that you just can’t get away with not knowing in today’s workplace.

Typing progress notes, communicating via your work email, and sending messages within your EHR system all takes way more time than it needs to if you’re not comfortable with a keyboard.

There are free websites and programs out there that can teach you!

2.     Leave the Mouse Many programs have a lot of buttons, dropdowns, and selections to click. But believe it or not, clicking is much slower than using the keyboard to navigate. For example Tab will usually move your focus onto the next field or dropdown, while shift+tab will move you backwards.

Using the directional arrows to select choices and pressing Enter instead of clicking buttons can help too. Try this: next time you have a minute, try to document without moving your hand to the mouse (or as little as possible!).

In most systems, it really is possible. Try it!

3.     Cut Corners Think about the process with which you log in, search for you client, etc. Are there any ways you can shortcut this process? Even finding a way to put a shortcut button on your desktop (the main screen on your computer), for example, can save you a few button clicks.

Or having your list of clients saved in an easily clickable area. Every program is different and will have different opportunities to optimize. Think about it: you repeat this process countless times during your day.

Shaving off a few seconds translates into precious minutes over the course of a day, and hours over the course of the weeks!

4.     Copy and Paste If you do a lot of progress notes and narratives, strongly consider coming up with a cheat sheet or template. You can then copy this template and change what you need to.

If you think about it, using a computer program to chart is just a big complicated template anyways, so you’re not sacrificing good charting for fast charting, as long as you pay attention and include what needs to be in there.

Copying and pasting can save you a lot of time, so learn how to do it! (There’s a way to do it with the keyboard, too, so you don’t have to waste time clicking).

5.     Minimize, Don’t Exit I see a lot of nurses who exit out of their EHR every time they leave their station or computer. Then they have to log in again 30 seconds later.

Check this with your facility and run it by your higher-ups. but it might be appropriate to minimize your window if you know you’re only going to be gone for a short period of time.

This way, passerby can’t see any private information, but at the same time you don’t have to waste time logging in and starting over.

6.     Ask for Tips I know everyone knows someone on their unit who is just a whiz with the EHR. They’re quick, good with computers, and you often turn to them with questions.

Just ask them: “How do you chart so quick? Can you show me a few specific tips?” They’ll be happy to.

This is often the best way, because they’re using the same system you are. Their tips will be better and more specific than mine.

Kevin is an RN and President of Brilliant Nurse, a modern website with a mission to provide engaging videos, workshops and test prep for nursing students.


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