Use Your Brain

I’ve noticed via recent blog stats that posts featuring nursing brain sheets have been quite popular lately. ‘Guess that’s due to the beginning of fall clinical rotations. 🙂

So while I’ve been piddling around I thought I’d post one more…

As I adapted to routines in the PCU, I found that the more detailed brains I was using became too cumbersome. It felt like just another place where I had to chart lab values, vital signs, etc. The more comfortable I became with our own charting system, the less I found myself recording and the more trees I killed. Not to mention we were given printouts at the beginning of each shift with system-by-system rundowns on each patient.

Instead I started relying on brains for time management – as cues/triggers for when meds were due, when patients were going for procedures, issues I needed to follow-up on, etc. I also needed a place to jot notes if/when patients’ conditions changed or they had wonky lab values I needed to tell the doctor about.

So I borrowed one of my preceptor’s brains and made my own adjustments. Here is the final product (as per usual, in both PDF and Word formats, should you need to make edits of your own).

This one is double-sided and designed for 12-hour shifts (can be easily changed for 8- or 10-hour shifts as well). There is space for 4 patients per brain. We typically had 3 patients, so I had an extra column if I discharged one patient and then admitted another.

  • Side 1 is laid out by hour, so that you can write yourself reminders and see your to-do lists for each patient side-by-side. This helped me anticipate when I would be busy.
  • Side 2 is for recording changes in patient condition, abnormal system assessments or lab values that arise throughout the shift, or changes in the plan of care that you need to pass along. It’s meant to help you give report that is accurate and up-to-date.

I hope these are helping! Don’t forget to send your own clinical brain to nurseteeny@gmail.com, and I will post it to the Brainiacs page to share with others!

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