Teamwork in Nursing: Working Together for the Better Part I
This is the first article in our series about the importance of effective teamwork in the nursing field. At Elite Specialty Staffing, we appreciate all the hard-working nurses in the profession and publish content regularly designed to help RNs sharpen their travel nursing skills.
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I am tempted to start out this blog with the old cliche “there is no “i” in team”, but I know that all my readers have heard that before so I will spare you from that (even though it’s true). When it comes to hitting the floor at a busy healthcare facility and rocking straight through your entire shift, teamwork and collaboration in nursing are vital.
To be quite honest, sometimes it can be hard to enter the scene as a travel nurse and quickly develop rapport and create an effective teamwork process. However, this is one of the most important travel nursing skills. When teamwork is consistently and effectively executed, you will find that your work becomes easier.
Keep on reading as I reveal important travel nursing tips for creating a healthy environment that thrives on teamwork and collaboration in nursing.
1. Assist Colleagues Without Being Asked
I seriously cannot stress this piece of advice enough! Hospital floors are super busy and when a nurse is getting slammed, it becomes obvious to everyone who is working on the unit that day. Instead of watching the nurse struggle and get frustrated, jump in there and offer some help.
So I know the first thing that you’re thinking “I cannot afford to spend my time helping another nurse take care of their patients when I have my own to tend to.” Hear me out. I am a 12-year registered nurse and this practice has allowed me to work efficiently in any environment I go to. Nurses are all busy, and you might not have time to help as much as you could, but all the little things help.
Let’s say you’re very busy but that nurse who just got a new patient could use an extra hand transferring the new patient from the stretcher to the bed, go in there and spare just a moment of your time to facilitate the transfer. Any of those little things you can jump in and do to help your coworkers help to create rapport and nurture a productive teamwork environment. Some other examples of teamwork in nursing would be helping that same nurse out by doing a med pass or working with them to complete the admission process. Jumping in to help a colleague means a lot more when it was unsolicited and you volunteer your help, no matter how small, without being asked.
2. Get Acquainted with Your New Coworkers
As a registered nurse, you are going to work with a lot of different people besides just nurses. Unit secretaries. Nursing assistances. Occupational therapists. Respiratory therapists. Physical therapists. Caseworkers. There are a lot of people that come together to work in a hospital unit.
While you might be thinking to yourself that you’re just on a travel nursing assignment, and you won’t possibly need to know the names of all of these people, you might be surprised how valuable it can be to know these people by name. Make it a habit to get the names of these other workers you collaborate with, even on just small levels. Through mutual coordination, you can deliver better care to patients, for example, by talking with respiratory to ensure that you go in together at the same time for your assessment and their treatment so that the patient does not wake up twice. Another example of teamwork in nursing is when you as the nurse know that your patient will be getting up and walking with physical therapy for the day, so you talk with PT in order to plan on being in there with them so that you can see how well you’re patient is doing.
3. Provide care Alongside Nursing Assistants
Nursing assistants have a lot on their plates. It is not easy to answer call lights and provide care to a large number of people all at once. Plus, there are a lot of things that aides simply cannot do by themselves. With patients that require more assistance, it takes a couple of aides at a time to pull a patient up in bed or transfer them using a lift.
One way you can help your aides get through the shift and also perform your work more quickly and efficiently is to perform your shift assessment and med pass at the same time your nursing aid goes in to do patient checks and take vital signs, etc. When both of you are in the room at the same time, you can tag-team to meet all of the patient’s needs at once, and both of you can have a smoother shift as a result. Also, by helping out your nurse’s aids, you will see that they will be more apt to help you in return. Whatever you do, don’t be that nurse that thinks they are above providing basic care needs such as bed baths and taking patients to the restroom.
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