According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, registered nurses have been ranked with the largest projected employment growth between 2010 to 2020.
The healthcare sector has embraced the relevancy of teamwork in all aspects of its working. It has been recognized that nursing is not an individual effort, and requires effective teamwork in order to provide timely healthcare and ensure patient safety. Lack of teamwork and communication has been found to have caused several avoidable patient-related errors by healthcare providers.
Being a part of a team provides nurses with the support system that can enable them to achieve a common goal. Since the scope of making human errors is extremely high in the healthcare sector, it becomes imperative that decisions are taken after discussing critical issues with colleagues and physicians. Which is why, this Buzzle article discusses why effective teamwork is so valuable in nursing.
Importance of Teamwork in Nursing
Patient is Given Priority
There may be instances when some team members do not agree on some things, or do not like each other. However, such personal differences are kept aside through team meetings and discussions. Teamwork ensures that personal ambitions or insecurities do not come in the way of providing the best possible healthcare to patients. The safety and well-being of patients need to be given precedence over all other matters and interpersonal disputes.
Work is Accomplished Faster
The charge nurse, also known as the registered nurse (RN), is the one who leads the team, and is responsible for allocating fixed duties to each member of the nursing team. The delegation of responsibility ensures that each shift is handled efficiently, and all the work is completed on time. Since every team member knows his/her duties, the scope of confusion or waiting for someone else to do the job does not arise. It also ensures that there is always someone willing to lend a helping hand in case one of the nurses is held up because of an emergency case. Teamwork also ensures that the nurses work as one unit, and treat the night shift with the same sense of urgency and priority as they do with the day shifts. This way, the work from the morning shift does not pile onto the nurses managing the night shift. A similar attitude must be maintained by the nurses working in the night shift towards their morning batch teammates.
Being a part of a team enables the nurses to communicate better and discuss their problems more openly. Team members can compare notes, evaluate the health status of patients, discuss the changes in medication, signs of improvement or deterioration, etc. These team meetings need not be restricted among nurses alone, and can be branched out to involve physicians, hospitalists, and hospital management as well. Nurses are trained to explain the condition of patients in detail and in broader terms. However, physicians are trained to come straight to the point and require quick feedback about a patient's health status. This discrepancy in the nurse-physician communication can be resolved through team interactions, in order to ease the flow of communication and introduce more quality treatment as far as patients are concerned.
Reduces Scope of Errors
Since every crucial aspect of patient care is discussed with the team, the scope of making errors in administering treatment is greatly reduced. In case one nurse is not skilled or confident enough to carry out a task, the RN can delegate the task to a better-qualified team nurse instead, at that time. All the while, the RN is accountable for the delegated task. Through teamwork, nurses are able to assess each others strengths and weaknesses, and are thus able to take on responsibilities which fit well with their area of medical interest. For example, if one nurse is better at handling the computer and maintaining records, she/he would be assigned a similar task in order to increase efficiency, job satisfaction, and output.
Having a steady bunch of team members to rely on can make the tasking career of nursing a lot more manageable. Nurses who work around the clock need to take washroom breaks whenever needed, and make time for taking their meal breaks too. This is where supportive team members come into the picture, wherein any one of them can act as a stand-in for the nurse taking a break.
Reduces Staff Departure
Long hours of working, being overburdened, and job dissatisfaction are some of the major factors that result in attrition in nursing jobs. When tasks are delegated in a team, and measures are taken to reduce the work burden of the nurses, it helps in preventing them from quitting their jobs.
Apart from improving the quality of care provided to patients, working as a team has helped nurses experience more job satisfaction, knowing that they have colleagues to depend upon.