Lifelong Learning Programme

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Training for Paediatricians and Paediatric Students

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This training package is addressed to students and medical practitioners in paediatrics on how to autonomously learn, develop and consolidate their soft skills for improving the quality of paediatric services.

Communicating with Health Care Staff

Table of Content

5.2 – Time Management
Time management strategies help to improve health care. Time management does not consist in doing as much as possible in a defined time frame, but in doing things that allow the achievement of the purpose by making the work flow.

It follows that this particular kind of expertise requires both an awareness of the personal resources (soft skills) of the health worker (such as leadership, self-awareness, authority), and attention to organizational, design and process planning aspects of work.

As regards skills, it is important that every member of the multi-professional staff contributes to the integrated management of the patient with authority and credibility, arousing trust and respect in colleagues, contributing with his own point of view to improving patient care.

The first aspect is therefore to gain awareness of one's effectiveness/efficiency as a professional worker. Multidisciplinary working group can be very useful to confront each other, to gather feedback, to work on common thresholds and results, and to share effective goal management methodologies.

Being responsible for the way you manage your working time, means for the most experienced staff members, also taking on the responsibility for managing the time of younger colleagues, paying attention to their motivation, their professional growth and how they manage resources , objectives, "time thieves" or obstacles that prevent process work flow.

The writer Julie Morgenstern also suggests "things to do and not do" in time management, which include: trace all that is important, through a list of activities, create an "oasis of time" to control management, to say no, define priorities, never give up, do not think that critical activities can be solved in your spare time (see table seven).

Time management may be aided by a range of skills, tools, and techniques used to manage time when accomplishing specific tasks, projects, and goals complying with a due date. Initially, time management referred to just business or work activities, but eventually the term broadened to include personal activities as well. A time management system is a designed combination of processes, tools, techniques, and methods. Time management is usually a necessity in any project development as it determines the project completion time and scope. The major themes arising from the literature on time management include: creating an environment conducive to effectiveness, setting of priorities, carrying out activity around prioritization, reduce time spent on non-priorities, Incentives to modify behaviour to ensure compliance with time-related deadlines,

Time management strategies are often associated with the recommendation to set personal goals. These goals are recorded and may be broken down into a project, an action plan, or a simple task list. For individual tasks or for goals, an importance rating may be established, deadlines may be set, and priorities assigned. This process results in a plan with a task list or a schedule or calendar of activities. Authors may recommend a daily, weekly, monthly or other planning periods associated with different scope of planning or review. This is done in various ways. A technique that has been used is for example the categorization of large data into groups. These groups are often marked A, B, and C—hence the name. Activities are ranked by these general criteria: A (Tasks that are perceived as being urgent and important) B (Tasks that are important but not urgent), C (Tasks that are unimportant but urgent),D (Tasks that are unimportant and not urgent). Each group is then rank-ordered by priority. To further refine the prioritization, some individuals choose to then force-rank all "B" items as either "A" or "C". ABC analysis can incorporate more than three groups.

Another technique is the "Eisenhower Method". The name stems from a quote attributed to Dwight D. Eisenhower: "I have two kinds of problems, the urgent and the important. The urgent are not important, and the important are never urgent." Using the Eisenhower Decision Principle, tasks are evaluated using the criteria important/unimportant and urgent/not urgent, and then placed in according quadrants in an Eisenhower Matrix (also known as an "Eisenhower Box" or "Eisenhower Decision Matrix"). Tasks are then handled as in: Important/Urgent quadrant witch are done immediately and personally e.g. crises, deadlines, problems; Important/Not Urgent quadrant witch get an end date and are done personally e.g. relationships, planning, recreation; Unimportant/Urgent quadrant witch are delegated e.g. interruptions, meetings, activities; Unimportant/Not Urgent quadrant witch are dropped e.g. time wasters, pleasant activities, trivia.

We can therefore help the group to define the paths and improve the ability to manage contingencies and manage flows. A good ability to manage time can thus decrease the related work stress, let the staff allow to feel their ability to control the process flow and the events.

But nowadays it would be anachronistic to overlook how artificial intelligence and computerized flow engineering can really support the organizational conditions for a more efficient and effective system.

Digital skills within the staff allow therefore systems to be updated, making our Pediatrics more functional in responding to the new health needs of children and their families. Table 6. Time management “to do list”
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This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This web site reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.