In healthcare institutions, nurses often need to work in teams to provide better care to their patients. The practices of Teamwork and Collaboration permit nursing specialists to share each other’s knowledge and skills, which allows for significantly better patient outcomes. These practices improve the quality of service provided to the healthcare industry clients by giving the nurses the possibility to better understand the condition of the patient in its wholeness, therefore enabling them to supply the customers with better care and higher levels of safety. Therefore, it is paramount for every nurse to realize the importance of these practices, and possess respective skills to be able to implement them in the workplace.
Teamwork, or working in a team, has several significant advantages that make it an indispensable attribute of any nursing practice. It allows the nurses to join their knowledge and potential to more effectively consider, plan, and implement various actions which are needed to provide the patient with high-quality medical care. It is especially important in intensive care units, where nurses supply more than half of the medical attention given to the patient, and the care is particularly complex (Camelo & Chaves, 2013, p. 109). While working in teams, nurses can rely on each order to support them when it is required. Teamwork also means the possibility to better delegate tasks and share responsibilities, and the collective decision-making lets the healthcare specialists come up with new ideas.
For a nursing team to be effective, it is recommended to provide it with a shared purpose; this purpose needs to be constantly revised. The members of the team need to have good relationships, respect one another, and be able to rely on each other. It is also crucial for these nurses to know the strengths and weaknesses of each other to use these strengths and avoid situations where the weaknesses might hinder their work. Constant communication, learning opportunities, and the recognition of excellence are also important for nursing teams.
There exist, however, some obstacles that might hinder teamwork and, as a result, significantly lower the quality of healthcare. One of the most common barriers to teamwork is poor communication; it might result in various problems, the scale of which varies from delays to wrong-site surgery (Lingard et al., 2008). Other issues that might worsen the quality of teamwork include difficulties in making decisions, low levels of participation, low motivation, and disagreements between the members of a team.
Collaboration, or mutual work aimed at reaching a defined goal, is another attribute that is essential for nursing practice. Such practice has the full potential of achieving significantly better patient outcomes compared to the situation where collaboration is not utilized. It also allows for a greater spectrum of healthcare services provided to the clients. To collaborate effectively, nurses must be able to create effective teams, discuss their views on a medical problem, and reach a mutual consensus about the best type of care that is to be provided to a patient. For that, nurses must be broad-minded and open to diversity, as well as to each other’s knowledge and experience. They also need to be able to realize their mistakes and take them into account in the future. Collaboration also allows for a better implementation of various innovations in the healthcare process (Ryan et al., 2015).
To enhance collaboration, nurses must have strong and professional relationships with their colleagues. Their communication always needs to be truthful and respectful. Proper and sufficient quality and amount of communication are also of crucial importance, which is why it is recommended to organize regular meetings/huddles, both at the beginning of the shift and during it. It is also beneficial to have nurse managers involved in the communication process often, for they are usually able to effectively encourage nurses and help them build and maintain their team. They also might serve as a mediator for communication between nurses and other medical staff, thus providing coordination and flow of information that are paramount for any medical services.
There exist some obstacles that often hinder effective collaboration between nursing specialists. They include the lack of communication (which can be addressed e.g. by organizing regularly scheduled meetings), the dearth of appreciation or mutual understanding between the members of a team (the members need to overcome the personal issues and still work professionally; in some cases, the intervention of a nurse manager might be needed), etc. Such failures in collaboration are likely to result in worse patient outcomes and must be avoided or resolved if nursing care is to be effective.
To sum up, it should be noted that Teamwork and Collaboration are important aspects of nursing practice that can significantly enhance patient outcomes by improving the level of healthcare provided by the team of nurse specialists. These types of practice also enable the nurses to provide their patients with holistic care. Therefore, creating a culture of teamwork and collaboration between nursing specialists is of crucial importance in all modern healthcare institutions that strive to improve patient outcomes and the quality of their service.
Camelo, S. H. H., & Chaves, L. D. P. (2013). Teamwork as a nursing competence at intensive care Units. Investigación y Educación En Enfermería, 31(1), 107-115. Web.
Lingard, L., Regehr, G., Orser, B., Reznick, R., Baker, G. R., Doran, D.,…Whyte, S. (2008). Evaluation of a preoperative checklist and team briefing among surgeons, nurses, and anesthesiologists to reduce failures in communication. Archives of Surgery, 143(1), 12-17.
Ryan, R., Harris, K. K., Mattox, L., Singh, O., Camp, M., & Shirey, M. R. (2015). Nursing leader collaboration to drive quality improvement and implementation science. Nursing Administration Quarterly, 39(3), 229-238.