What does your flor/hospital do to promote teamwork among the nurses?


Please tell me what your hospital does to promote teamwork between nurses and how well it works? The hospital I work at has a "This is my patient, that is your patient" type attitude instead of helping each other out. I am interested in hearing about anything and everything, big or small that we can do to help promote nurses to have each others backs. Whether it be a rewards program, guest speakers with food, anything!


178 Posts

Has 3 years experience.

Also very intrested to hear what other hospitals do!

313RN, BSN, RN

1 Article; 113 Posts

Specializes in Neuro ICU.

i'm a big, giant cynic so what i'm about to tell you is something i really believe, and something i try and live up to every day. it's not meant to blow smoke or sound like i'm pollyanna. i can't tell you anything about how hospitals do this, but it's something i have a bit of a bugaboo about.

that's why i choose to work in critical care type units- everyone from housekeepers to attendings work together. at least (in my experience) more than what you see on a lot of m/s floors.

i tend to think that a few things create a "team" environment.

first, the environment itself. there isn't a lot of teamwork between home owners out cutting their grass on saturday mornings because no one is under very much stress. if a neighbors mower were to suddenly burst into flame however, you might see some neighborly cooperation. sort of like when a stable patient on a relatively low acuity floor has an mi.

second, management. if the manager isn't telling you what a good team you are(whether it's true or not), holding you accountable for team behavior (preferably by praising team efforts and coaching without negativism when necessary) and leading by example then it's not going to be easy to develop a team atmosphere. still, it's not impossible.

last, it's all about you. you need to be a leader. never ask anyone to do anything you wouldn't do for them. believe that each nurse wants to be a team player and behave that way.

start by doing small stuff. "hey, i'm going to clean supply. do you need anything while i'm there?" or "i know you're slammed today. i'm doing ok. is there anything i can do to help you out?"

one of the things i am very careful about is being asked for help. if someone on my unit (or in my hospital for that matter) asks for help it doesn't matter if it's the ceo or a new housekeeper. my answer is always yes. and my yes is always very positive freely given. sometimes i might be in the middle of something critical that requires me to not leave immediately to help out. in those cases i qualify my answer.

teammate: hey, 313- can you give me a hand with xxxx?

me: absolutely. what do you need?


me: sure, happy to. can you give a me few minutes though? i just need to finish this and then i'm all yours.

i am committed to the belief that my scope of practice has an upper limit (i don't diagnose or prescribe, for example) but there's no lower limit. i clean up spills and wipe butts and bend straws and fetch water prn. and i never resent it. it's just part of the job. do i prioritize? heck yes. but i'll get everything done that i can and only delegate what i can't get to within a reasonable amount of time.

when you do help out, try and remember "their patient, their rules." let the other nurse lead. do as she asks and do it willingly. of course you may have to step in if that nurse is doing something dangerous, but even p&p manuals allow for a little personal style. you can do it your way when it's your patient.

do i expect everyone to answer me the same way i answer them? nope. does it bug me if they say no? not in the least. do i still help them out when i can? yes.

there can be no scorekeeping. the people who don't want to help don't have to. those who do, will. eventually it will spread. peer pressure can be used for good, and it does work.

ultimately it's all about attitude. change yours first (if necessary) and then watch as people follow your example. it may take some time, but it will be worth it.

good luck.


1,188 Posts

Has 14 years experience.

313RN is right on.

Set an example. Always offer help. If an IV is beeping, go check it, don't just call the nurse and let her know.

Other things we do:

We have nights out every once in a while. I simply send out an email to everyone on the floor saying we're going to meet at X bar at 7pm for 2 hours. Usually about 5-8 people come, and they are usually not people I typically hang out with. I love getting to know my coworkers outside the bar.

A lot of times we do something very informally. Day shifters go out for a late dinner or drinks after work, and it's usually scheduled on that day. They just decide to go out, invite everyone who worked that day, and about half of them end up going.

On nights, we try to go out for breakfast, particularly on a weekend. Sometimes we just meet in the cafeteria, sometimes we go somewhere else. Once again, I make a point of inviting everyone. Even if you don't go, just being invited is nice.

None of this is official, or comes from management...it's just something that someone, anyone organizes and invites other to. When I organize an evening out or a breakfast, I always do it with one other person--that way I know at least one person will be there with me.

Some people don't like going out to a bar--I tell them that's fine, organize us to do something else. Bowling, dinner, a movie, whatever.

My point is, take initiative. Be the team player. Be the nice, smiling, positive nurse. Organize a night out with a coworker and invite everyone.

nursej22, MSN, RN

3,133 Posts

Specializes in Public Health, TB. Has 38 years experience.

Our hospital has the customary staff recognition day, annual picnic, christmas party, etc. but I can't see that this is effective in promoting teamwork. It's almost too big. IMO, team-building is more effective on the unit level.To paraphrase a popular motto about politics "all teamwork is local".

We don't do anything formal, most shifts have a weekly or bi-weekly pot luck. Having a theme like Cinco de Mayo, adds to the interest. And we have occasional contests: Wearing red for "Go Red for Woman's Heart Heath", "Who Am I" trying to guess various staff by trivia they submit, and such.

Every cohesive unit I have worked on, including med-surg, had a manager that was strong, positive and present. He or she was visible on the unit, ready to listen or help, serving as a positive role model. The dysfunctional units had managers who were often away, disinterested, and often didn't even know staff names.