Collaboration on nursing teams is very important because lack of that can be frustrating and it can negatively impact everyone involved. This includes the patients and families who are counting on you all to work as a team. Doctors and allied healthcare staff is one of your professional and legal responsibilities as a nurse. Regardless of your feelings towards that difficult doctor, you still have to share notes to ensure the best quality of care for your patients.
There will always be impediments to communication and collaboration. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t tried and true ways to overcome those barriers. Here are six strategies to help you do it.
Strategies to Improve Collaboration on Nursing Teams
1. Know your own triggers.
Effective collaboration with the other members of your team starts with you, which makes self-awareness your first step. After all, if you don’t understand what makes you tick, you can’t expect your colleagues to figure it out. Take another look at the list above and ask yourself honestly which of those points make you tense. Do you bristle when dealing with people who went to a better (or worse) school than you did? Are you self-conscious about the way you speak or your experience and credentials?
If you’re new to this kind of self-analysis, ask a trusted friend to help you. Being aware of your own triggers and hot buttons will help you develop techniques for dealing with them before you reach the point of throwing down your stethoscope and stalking out the door.
2. Create a safe space to share information.
No one likes being yelled at, dismissed or ridiculed for offering an opinion or asking a question. If those reactions are part of your organizational culture, they will shame people into silence, which is an enormous barrier to good teamwork. Mutually beneficial relationships depend on the sharing of information, which makes it vital that team members listen to one another and reinforce the value of each other’s input.
This is an area where rookies often fare better than more seasoned team members. If you’re new, it’s easier to embrace the idea that no question is silly, but for veterans, it can take real courage to admit you don’t know something or risk offering an opinion that others may reject.
Doing that will help create an environment where team members, including you don’t have to suffer in silence for not having all the answers.
3. Handle conflict with care.
There’s no healthcare environment on Earth that’s free of conflict, which is why it’s important to manage it well. In fact, some experts point to poor conflict management as the single most critical obstacle to effective collaboration.
Trying to avoid conflict entirely isn’t the answer. Sometimes, being willing to fight is part of your responsibility as a patient advocate. In some circumstances, avoiding an argument can cause real harm. However, handling conflicts professionally will ultimately help everyone, especially the patients under your care.
- Belong to the right team.
The best care is provided by truly interdisciplinary teams in which professionals from different areas meld their diverse knowledge and experience to achieve a common goal. Sadly, too many supposedly interdisciplinary teams are really multidisciplinary. They are collections of professionals so focused on their own precious areas of practice that the idea of listening to or involving anyone else in a meaningful way just isn’t in the cards.
Remember that a group of people each working in their own little silo is not a team, and it takes a team to create the best possible care plan for each patient.
5. Communicate effectively.
There are several facets to this one. Communications between nurses is comparatively easy because nurses usually understand each other pretty well. The important points there include clarity, honesty, compassion, and respectfully resolving grievances rather than letting them ferment into grudges.
- Be a leader.
Real leaders don’t need a leadership title. If you’re a nurse, you’re a leader — period. You’re the hub of all things related to patient care, providing expertise, guidance and support in a hundred different ways each time you snap on your badge. There are more people counting on you than you may realize and your patients are just a few. Be a role model for those around you by asking for help when you need it, circling the wagons to solve an issue and being generous with your praise.
7. Increase communication
Use written and verbal communication to collaborate with other nursing and healthcare professionals and develop a team dynamic. Consider improving your communication skills through training and drills. For example, taking part in a drill to evaluate your nursing team’s communication skills can help you determine key areas for improvement.
Based on your findings, you can implement new avenues of communication that allow for greater collaboration within a nursing team. Not only can increased communication help improve teamwork in nursing, but it can also lead to greater motivation levels among the nursing team.
8 Be transparent
Establish transparency on your team by being honest and direct with both your nursing colleagues and your patients. Being transparent promotes teamwork because it ensures that everyone on a team has the same information, expectations and standards. Practice transparency by taking detailed chart notes for each patient and regularly checking in with your nursing team to confirm the status of various priorities.
You can also boost transparency by requesting clarification on your assignments and asking for help if you feel overwhelmed with your work or feel uncertain about the best way to help a patient. Keeping your team informed about your needs can provide you with opportunities to learn and help you prevent burnout.
9. Clarify roles
Classify and clarify roles to improve team collaboration. By establishing clear expectations for each member of a team, you confirm that everyone accomplishes their assigned tasks without accidental overlap of responsibilities. When everyone knows who fills each role on a team, it makes it easier to find essential information and quickly complete priority tasks.
To develop nursing team roles that promote teamwork, write down the scope of each position in a shared document that everyone on the nursing team can access. Fairly divide tasks based on experience and training and update the document regularly to reflect any changes. When new employees join your healthcare team, they can review the document to quickly learn about nursing workflows and find their own niche in the team.
Nurses constantly use teamwork skills in the workplace, from collaborating with other nurses to developing care plans with doctors. Being able to work as a team is essential for tracking medical information, organizing patient care and sharing information with patients. Actively working to improve teamwork in your workplace can help you establish more efficient nursing practices and grow your career as a nurse. In this article, we discuss the importance of teamwork in nursing and suggest tips to help you improve teamwork in nursing.
Why is teamwork in nursing important?
Teamwork is an important aspect of nursing because it creates effective and open communication among healthcare professionals, improving their ability to care for patients. As a nurse, you serve a central position that connects patients, doctors and administrative personnel. When you use teamwork successfully, you can generate several benefits for you, your colleagues and your workplace:
- Greater job satisfaction: Being able to work well as a team with your nursing colleagues can help you reduce stress and increase happiness at work. When you can trust others to work with you toward a common goal, you can enjoy a balanced workload and explore the aspects of nursing you enjoy most.
- Improved patient care: Multiple nurses and other healthcare professionals can collaborate when treating patients, and using teamwork ensures that they all provide a consistent standard of care to each patient. This improves the patient’s experience, upholds accountability and makes the treatment process safer.
- More efficient processes: When multiple nursing professionals work together as a team, they can delegate tasks effectively and determine the most efficient way to accomplish their goals. Your teamwork skills can save time, allowing you to serve more patients while providing high-quality care.
- Stronger professional connections: By having a team-oriented mindset when working as a nurse, you can learn more about your colleagues and strengthen your professional network. Communicating with all the healthcare professionals on your team can introduce you to mentorship opportunities, inspire your career goals and allow you to share your nursing expertise with others.
No one will deny that effective collaboration can be hard work. You have to be persistent, clear, flexible and at times humble. Nurses cannot avoid collaboration; it is an essential part of their commitment to provide patients with the best quality of care. Be sure to visit us on collegenursinghelp.com for more information.