3 reasons to finish chart notes after the patient encounter

finish chart notes after the patient encounter

Most nurse practitioners struggle to finish chart notes after the patient encounter.

Nurse practitioners are already running behind with a waiting room full of patients. APRNs are constantly trying to keep up with medication refills, analyzing diagnostic data, reviewing medical documentation, and the never ending patient messages.

So the thought of a nurse practitioners striving to finish chart notes after the patient encounter is hard to grasp.

But this charting time saving tip will save you hours on charting and free you from mental fatigue! This charting tip is something I implemented and it was amazing how quickly the results compounded. I encourage nurse practitioners in any practice setting to work towards achieving this charting time saving tip!

​3 reasons to finish chart notes after the patient encounter

1. Charting after a patient encounter takes less time. 

When you finish a note right after the encounter, the information is fresh in your mind. You can remember the patient’s symptoms. The physical exam is easier to recall. The treatment plan or prescriptions are readily available.

If you tend to wait until the end of the day to document, you spend a lot of extra, unnecessary time. You may be trying to recall what was discussed during the patient encounter. What did that patient say their home blood sugars were? Did that patient have right or left knee pain? Did I send that prescription to the pharmacy?

You then take extra time switching back and forth through screens to check the nurses notes, lab results, E-prescribe, etc. This extra time can really add up! Think about if you spent 5 extra minutes trying to recall what was said during the clinic visit.

If you are seeing 20 patients a day x 5 extra minutes, you are spending an extra 1 hour and 40 minutes! I don’t know about you, but I would rather spend that time with my family, completing self-care, or doing activities I enjoy!

Nurse practitioners can save so much time when they finish chart notes after the patient encounter.

2. Charting after a patient encounter frees the mind. 

As nurse practitioners, we are constantly intaking information and making decisions. From the start of our work day, we are bombarded with data. The information overload compounds during the day and causes mental fatigue.

We need to allow ourselves time to process and acknowledge the data. We then need to finalize the information and clear it from our minds. This concept allows us to more mental clarity and the ability focus on the next thing.

When we finish chart notes after a patient encounter, we can process that information and then clear it. Thus in turn, decreases our mental overload and can increase our productivity.

If you are a nurse practitioner who waits till the end of the work day to document all the chart notes, it is likely taking you longer! By the end of the workday, your brain is tired and on information overload. And as mentioned in reason #1, it ends up taking more time to recall or look up information.

I encourage nurse practitioners to finish chart notes after the patient encounter to increase their productivity and decrease the time it takes to document.

3. Charting after a patient encounter improves motivation. 

When we stay caught up during our work day, we feel more motivated to keep working hard. Nurse practitioners feel a sense of accomplishment and inspiration to keep going. We feel in control of our work day instead of constantly behind and overwhelmed.

I don’t know about you, but when I feel overwhelmed, my brain starts to shut down. I am not able to concentrate as well. I am not motivated to finish the documentation. My productive and time management decline.

But when I am able to stay on schedule, I feel more energized and work harder throughout the day. Work on to finish chart notes after the patient encounter and feel motivated to keep working hard!

Implement this charting time saving tip

I can’t stress this charting time saving tip enough! No matter what practice setting you are in (clinic, hospital, urgent care, etc) work to finish chart notes after the patient encounter!

Take the extra 2 minutes to finish a note right after the patient encounter. If all your patient rooms are full, see two patients back to back and then power chart while your nurse or MA fills the rooms again. (This works well in the ED or urgent care setting)! This little extra work will save you tons of time (and increase productivity) as the work day continues!

Work to finish chart notes after the patient encounter and see how it positively impacts your entire day! Not to mention you don’t have to bring those darn charts home!

Additional charting tips for nurse practitioners

​If you thought this charting time saving tip was helpful, check out The Nurse Practitioner Charting School’s blog page for additional tips!

Check out The Comprehensive List of Smart Phrases for access to over 100 smart phrases for nurse practitioners!

For more information, check out The Time Management and Charting Tips Course. This online, instant access course is full of time management and charting tips! Nurse practitioners can learn how to chart accurately and efficiently so they can STOP charting at home!

Erica D the NP is a family nurse practitioner and burnout coach. Erica created The Burned-out Nurse Practitioner to help overwhelmed APRNs create work-life balance, overcome nurse practitioner burnout, and advocate for themselves. The Burned-out Nurse Practitioner offers online courses, coaching, and support. Learn more at www.burnedoutnp.com

For time management and charting tips, check out The Nurse Practitioner Charting School– The one stop for all documentation resources created specifically for nurse practitioners. Learn more at www.npchartingschool.com

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**Full disclosure, this blog post may include affiliate links. I do receive a commission if any of the affiliate programs/services/supplies are purchased. This is at no extra cost to you but does allow me to continue to provide content as The Burned-out Nurse Practitioner! Thank you!

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