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Teamwork: What is Going to Make or Break Nursing

Nurses Article   (10,928 Views | 9 Replies | 864 Words)

Jacqueline.Damm has 3 years experience and specializes in Med/Surg, Onc., Palliative/Hospice, CPU.

21 Articles; 77,894 Profile Views; 51 Posts

Whether your position serves a clinic, hospital, long-term care facility, rehabilitation center and more, I am sure that we can all agree on one thing. The lack of teamwork, or the bold presence of it, can make or break a busy day. It’s easy to get caught up in our daily to do list, but when nursing is 24/7, we have that chance to lend a helping hand to others and allow our profession to rise.

Teamwork: What is Going to Make or Break Nursing

Responsiblities

Many new responsibilities and stressors have been placed on nurses shoulders in the last few years. With alterations in insurance coverage, reimbursement, and shortages of hands on deck, the nursing field has been facing many growing struggles that seem to continue with no end. Rehab facilities are bursting at the seams, hospital emergency rooms are holding awaiting beds on inpatient units and long-term care facilities are managing wait lists that grow with each coming day. By no means does any of this touch the hem of the many battles facing nurses in our present day. But with all of the stress, headaches, politics, driving need to succeed and desire to be the best I've noticed one common theme. Teamwork. From speaking with friends, sitting in on international conference calls and just listening to the woes of those around me, I've learned that a major piece of happiness while at work is due to teamwork.

Teamwork

Teamwork. A well-oiled machine amidst situations of controlled chaos, teamwork has the power to at least overshadow many of the bigger issues that we face in our day to day jobs. Though my personal experience as a nurse has only lent me an understanding of inpatient hospital activity, I've spoken to leagues of nurses from other modalities who all seem to vocalize the same concern. With teamwork there is power, and without it there is a hopelessness among staff that sucks the morale out of people who are naturally powerful, competent, energetic and passionate.

Daily Struggles

The definite struggle with the desire to provide a lending hand and the ability to do so seems to ride the fence with our daily checklists. We are a driven profession with amazing focus and coveted skills. Yet, with growing lists of what needs to be accomplished during our shift, having the ability to assist our coworkers when they are struggling is truly a difficult thing. Nursing has made giant leaps in history, but I truly feel that the nature of our work hasn't changed. Our desire to help those in great need is at the core of our existence as nurses. This is a wonderful piece of our identity that drives a desperate need to complete those checklists with (hopeful) time to spare. We ourselves have needs while completing our daily tasks, which further adds a small hiccup when those around us need a hand. So, what do we do when everyone is overwhelmed and help seems scarce?

Empowerment

For me, I make it known to those who are around me. If I'm feeling strung out and the day feels like it is caving in, I'm vocal about it. "Hey, I'm really behind, would you mind helping me with...If you could I would be so grateful and in turn, could help cover your lunch?" There seems to be some form of power in likeness. If your day is flattening you out, along with your resolve, sometimes just in making your coworkers aware of it (along with your supervisors) things have a tendency to get done with an extra bit of assistance. On the flip side, sometimes regardless of what prioritizing you do, how you help others and they help you, the day is long and you end up clocking out far later than expected feeling exhausted.

Implementing Teamwork

The number of ways to implement teamwork are vast and often require some sacrifices on our part. It truly is a difficult path to traverse when our nature is to help (patients, doctors, family members, fellow staff, etc). I do find comfort in sharing concerns with management (mentioning issues along with possible solutions), participating in shared governance (a team that works for the betterment of the team) and furthermore finding time for my work family when they need support.

Teamwork Affects Patients

At any time we will need help, whether physical or even emotional. Teamwork doesn't only touch the realm of patient care. It goes as far as being a listening ear to a fellow nurse who has had an emotionally trying day, passing meds for a floor nurse who needs an extra moment to speak with a patient's family, or even saying hello to ancillary staff (who, without them, we'd be lost).

Obstacles

Through the obstacles that we all face on a daily basis in our profession, there is so much on our plate it is hard to function without that well-oiled machine that teamwork supports and fuels. I applaud all of you for your hard work and dedication in a profession that I find rewarding, challenging, frustrating, empowering and crazy. How do you, in your role, support teamwork? Where have you seen it, and how is it fostered in your workplace?

Standing Together

There is much ground to cover where nursing is involved. Our numbers become stronger as we stand together to lift each other up. Nursing stands for many things, of which teamwork has some of my greatest regard and praise.

Cheers to all of you.

Jacquie loves writing about experiences of her own (as well as stories belonging to fellow nurses) with a dose of artistic flair and hyperbole. Happy reading!

21 Articles; 77,894 Profile Views; 51 Posts

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tnbutterfly - Mary is a BSN, RN and specializes in Peds, Med-Surg, Disaster Nsg, Parish Nsg.

14 Followers; 124 Articles; 5,511 Posts; 198,596 Profile Views

Thanks for the reminder, Jacquie. Teamwork is important for so many relationships, especially for a successful work environment.

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5 Posts; 742 Profile Views

Teamwork is important when you work with people and things needs to get done in a short period of time. Most of us work 12 hours, but there never seem to be enough time to get things done for our patients. Demanding patients and doctors take so much of the nurses time, that sometime they forget to take a restroom break or just to take a drink of water. I worked with my team in the past and it is very important to have support from leaders and each other. When nurses are reminded that they are not alone and that they have people around them to help, they can start their day better. And with people working as a team, the work environment and the stressors won't look so bad.

Thank for writing this to remind us that we do have to work together to safely care for our patient and to care for ourselves.

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360 Posts; 16,318 Profile Views

team work is so important. But unfortunately, it is rare. In my experience, people tend to do ONLY what is necessary for their specific shift.

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5 Posts; 1,002 Profile Views

Jacquie, thank you for your article!

I'm curious of your and anyone else's opinion – are there particular structures that work well or don't work well for promoting teamwork? Or, is it an attitude set by leadership and/or other nurses on the team?

Full disclosure – I'm an engineer, not a nurse. Ultimately, I suspect both the structure and attitudes play a role, but I'm curious what you all have experienced.

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360 Posts; 16,318 Profile Views

my personal experience has been attitude. Some of my coworkers think doing such and such is not MY shift's responsibility

so they don't do it. They are concerned only what is relevant to their specific shift.

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5 Posts; 1,002 Profile Views

my personal experience has been attitude. Some of my coworkers think doing such and such is not MY shift's responsibility

so they don't do it. They are concerned only what is relevant to their specific shift.

That's fair, and to follow that up, from what you've seen, what's causing this? Is it that nurses are overloaded with their own work and they have no extra energy to help each other? Or is it that there is insufficient incentive to help one another, whether monetary or simply praise and thanks from other nurses and leadership?

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360 Posts; 16,318 Profile Views

perhaps lack of incentive to help someone else. Or just the lack of good work ethic in general.

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elizabethgrad09 has 7 years experience.

51 Posts; 7,107 Profile Views

I work in a psychiatric/behavioral health hospital, and one of the primary reasons that I keep working there is because there is fairly good teamwork. It depends on who you are working with, though. Some nurses are great teammates, and if a code is called (or even if they just hear a disturbance), they will be there to assist in a flash. However, there are other nurses who seem to be completely focused on getting their own tasks done, and rarely help others. Some of the latter will even make negative comments about nurses who fall behind, stating things like "That person is not a good nurse! They are not very efficient." It appears to me that they think "getting out on time" is the most important thing and the mark of a good nurse. Well, fortunately, being a psych nurse helps you realize that other people's approval is not important. Yes, I try to be efficient and to "get out on time", but I am not going to make that my primary goal/idol. If I need to stay a little longer to meet a patient's need and to be the kind of nurse that I want to be, then I will do it. I believe in the golden rule (Matthew 7:12) "Treat people the same way you want them to treat you", so I try to be a good teammate to everyone, regardless.

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23 Posts; 2,287 Profile Views

Teamwork is essential, but time doesn't allow it to be. I float and primarily work day shift at a hospital, so I'm on medical, surgical, oncology, PCU, observation and stroke unit. I find the smaller (size wise) unit the easier is to find help when needed, can I get help with a boost, etc. Having six patients with the exception of PCU where the ratio is 4:1 on days surgical 5:1 although acuity is higher with less it can be easier to manage. Trying to help your fellow nurse is almost impossible when we are all running around crazy, in order to get all that needs to be done and not dump on the next shift of nurses that is the extent of our teamwork. Rapid reponse or code blue most all jump in to help answer call lights help that poor nurse's other patients hang her/his antibiotics, give pain meds., cover a blood sugar while they are swamped. I use to do team nursing on a med/surgical/telemetry floor 28 bed unit with a LPN at another hospital we together would take 8-9 patients on day shift as the RN I had to oversee her assessments and do her push mesds. but I really liked working side by side we also had a PCT but she wouldn't have to do patient baths on 4-5 of our patients. LPN are a real asset for hospitals and should be brought back to the hospital! Loved those days of team nursing because I felt that I wasn't on my own, but as a float you are usually the outsider on your own.

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