How to be a Team Player

  1. Being a team player makes for a positive, even fun, work environment A strong team will make it through a difficult shift, if not with flying colors, at least with the knowledge that they’ve provided good patient care. Follow these tips to be a team player.

    How to be a Team Player

    Be positive!

    Even when you're short staffed, getting admissions (even if at the end of the shift, on a Friday, with incomplete orders), and charting on falls and condition changes, a positive attitude can make the shift bearable. The situation remains the same whether you are positive or negative, so keep a smile on your face-even if it's through gritted teeth! If others complain, simply say, "But we will get through it!" or, "Remember that time when...if we can survive that, we can survive anything!" or, "Yep, this will be one of those days we look back at and are amazed that we made it through! We are super nurses!"


    Offer to help

    Whether answering a call light, making a bed, getting someone off the toilet, starting an IV, assisting with a room change, or any other of the countless tasks we do in a day, helping when you can is beneficial to the team-and almost assures that you will get help when you need it.


    Share tips and (safe) shortcuts

    When you share a newly-discovered shortcut for computer charting, a tip for a procedure frequently done where you work, or the research you did on the new IV antibiotic for your patient, you are helping others do their jobs more efficiently and strengthening the team as a whole. You're also encouraging others to share their knowledge, strengthening the whole team.


    Share your knowledge and skills

    Whether it's reviewing peri-care with a CNA or teaching a new nurse the procedure for a piggy-back IV antibiotic, you're increasing their knowledge and general knowledge of the whole team. In the long run, this makes everyone's job easier.


    Do a little extra for the next shift

    Re-fax a medication request that hasn't been replied to. Stock the med cart. Put a new bag of IV fluids in the patient's room. Pick up the garbage in your patients' rooms. Fill the printer with paper. The nurse who follows you will be thankful to start the shift ahead.


    Welcome new staff

    I once started working at a facility in which a constant complaint was that they were chronically short staffed. In just a few weeks I realized that whenever someone new started, they were made to feel very unwelcome; current staff criticized new staff within hearing distance, left the most difficult tasks for them and refused to help, ignored questions from new staff...it's no wonder they were always short staffed!


    Don't gossip

    People will know you are to be trusted and follow your example (most people want to work in a positive, safe atmosphere). If gossip starts, a simple, "Let's not talk about her when she's not here to defend herself" or "I don't know that any of that is true...how about this weather?" will usually change the subject.


    Embrace change

    Most of us are skeptical of any changes, especially when the "higher-ups" are dictating it. However, many times change does turn out to be positive (after the painful period of implementation). And if it does not turn out to be positive, the harsh reality is that when "higher ups" dictate a change, we usually have no choice...so might as well accept it. If you've given the change a chance and it's just not working, don't just complain about it-do something! Talk with your charge nurse or the DON or even the administrator.


    Support your supervisors and the administration...

    ...or at least give them the benefit of the doubt until proven otherwise. I've been in management and there are many, many factors that go into decisions...sometimes the supervisors/administrators don't like the decisions they are forced to implement by those above them. If you don't agree with the decision, talk with your supervisor and try to get it changed, don't just complain.



    Being a part of a strong team makes going to work rewarding in both a professional and personal sense. When you follow these tips you will be part of that satisfying process of building and being a part of a strong team!
    Last edit by tnbutterfly on Jun 14
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    About love2banurse89, BSN, RN

    Shelly Burke-Rodriguez wanted to be a nurse since she gave pretend "shots" to her little sisters and started "IVs" on her favorite dollies. She's been blessed to have chosen a career with so many options! She's "living the dream" right now as the Director of Clinical Education in a nursing home; one of the best parts of her day is taking residents to breakfast and hearing their words of wisdom. She's written for many publications, self-published several books and hopes that the wisdom she shares here will help other nurses.

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