As the world deals with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, nurses are experiencing unprecedented stressors, such as increased patient volume and scarce resources.
While a crisis can stimulate people’s willingness to work together, the ongoing stress makes it much more challenging for nursing teams to maintain a coordinated performance over time.
Additional problems may even begin to appear among team members. Insufficient vigilance might result in people failing to admit concerns, provide feedback, and ask questions.
Setbacks often result in adverse impacts on tasks, ultimately lowering team resilience.
This is why fostering teamwork within nursing teams is essential in dealing with these stressors and reducing their adverse impact.
In this article, we will discuss the importance of teamwork within nursing teams and provide tips on how nurses can work as a cohesive unit.
It improves patient outcomes.
Whether you like it or not, the healthcare industry is established around a multidisciplinary approach to patient care.
Nurses care for patients not as individual providers but as part of versatile healthcare teams. These teams are composed of specialists, primary care physicians and nurses.
All the team members work together toward a shared goal of improving the patient’s health and providing the highest level of care.
When these teams meet occasionally, they can assess patients more effectively. Thanks to their daily interactions with patients, nurses are usually aware of little details that busy physicians might overlook in their hurried rounds.
Through this process, nurses can ask essential questions and make insightful suggestions about the best ways to handle patients’ care.
There is no getting around the fact that patient rounds can be time-intensive. By working together, healthcare professionals can gain a comprehensive view of the patient’s status to help make the rounds go more quickly.
In doing so, a healthcare organization can provide team-based care, ensure better handoffs, and, more importantly, improve patient outcomes and overall satisfaction.
It reduces patient safety risks.
Demanding workloads and increasing patient volume make errors more likely.
Recent data reveals that more than 750,000 nursing errors were recorded in 2010, with their mortality rate spanning from 44,000 to 90,000 cases. The same data further added that every one in 300 errors could ultimately lead to death.
These nursing errors are often unique, but they can be as simple as failing to report a change in the patient’s medical condition.
You can significantly reduce medical errors, treatment delays and inappropriate therapies through teamwork. Unlike other professions, collaboration directly contributes to accountability in nursing.
Daily meetings keep everyone in the loop and reinforce changes to procedures and policies.
Nurses can foster trusting relationships between patients when everyone is accountable, which can ultimately impact patient outcomes positively.
By taking personal responsibility for your actions, you can communicate to your patients that they can depend on you.
It increases patient care efficiency.
The cost of healthcare is a constant concern for everyone.
Like it or not, healthcare organizations face significant pressure in delivering high-value services economically while ensuring that patients receive desirable care experiences.
However, reduced revenues, increasing costs and growing expectations from patients make this even more challenging.
While there are several drivers of high healthcare costs, fragmented care may be one of the most significant contributors to its continued increase.
It is not uncommon for many healthcare facilities to provide uncoordinated and disconnected patient care.
Often, these healthcare facilities have an incompatible records system and a lack of nursing management.
Although cost control and the efficient use of resources are the responsibility of healthcare managers, nurses must conduct patient care and provide high-quality services.
With effective teamwork, nurses can lower healthcare costs and improve the use of healthcare resources, resulting in increased efficiency in patient care.
Teamwork also allows for the standardization of patient care. By improving the standardization of care, nurses can eliminate unnecessary work, expenses and complications resulting from not following best practices.
Sometimes nurses may make suggestions based on their unique clinical experiences or learned from data science. By setting a standard within the team, nurses can reduce guesswork and improve patient safety, while enhancing efficiency and quality of care.
It improves job satisfaction.
High turnover rates have been a significant issue for hospitals and healthcare organizations since the pandemic.
A McKinsey report reveals that 32% of nurses plan to leave their jobs by the end of the year. This is because most nurses do not find a sense of belonging and interaction with others in the workplace.
Through effective teamwork, nurses can promote engagement in the workplace and create collaborative relationships that lead to higher job satisfaction.
Nurses who are part of forward-thinking teams with organized communication lines may be happier with their daily work responsibilities.
Nursing careers often have significant challenges. To avoid burnout, nurses must maintain a high level of job satisfaction.
As teamwork allows members to provide emotional support to everyone, nurses can find ways to effectively manage the stress and demands that come with their daily responsibilities.
This can also increase job satisfaction, reduce turnover and ensure effective collaboration between departmental teams.
How to promote nursing teamwork?
Now that we’ve established the importance of teamwork in healthcare and nursing, you might wonder how to get started.
Most hospital managers and administrators aim to establish a team culture among nurses. Below are some practical ways to promote teamwork within the healthcare industry.
Create diverse and inclusive teams
The initial step to promoting teamwork in healthcare is building diverse teams instead of a group of like-minded individuals.
While a team of like-minded people with the similar background may get along well, you have to think of the bigger picture.
Will the team members challenge each other by tackling patient care differently? Will they bring fresh ideas to the table? Or will they be so agreeable that they end up with ideas that do not get reviewed or elaborated?
If team members have the same beliefs and opinions, their work will likely be one-sided and less creative.
On the flipside, if each team member comes from a different background and has unique beliefs and opinions, they will likely deliver healthcare services that reflect innovation.
How do you create diverse nursing teams, though? An excellent start is to provide inclusive workplace policies and cast a wider net, rather than relying on roles and obligations.
You may want to determine if your team members have educational qualifications from prestigious academic institutions such as Walsh University, which offers a number of excellent fully-online nursing degrees when building diverse teams to ensure teamwork in nursing.
Alternatively, you can use personality assessment tools to measure your prospects’ personalities, skills and motivation.
In doing so, you can identify and eliminate biases from your organization and ensure that you can address all aspects of diversity.
Establish roles and responsibilities for each team member
You can create tension within the team when nurses are unsure of their tasks and responsibilities.
Therefore, you must ensure that each team member understands what they are responsible for to avoid overlap in clinical tasks and responsibilities.
If multiple nurses work on similar tasks because of confusion, you increase the likelihood of wasting valuable time and effort to deliver better patient outcomes.
How can you effectively define each team member’s role and responsibilities? An excellent start is to understand your team members’ unique and individual strengths.
This way, you can delegate effectively and give people ownership over specific clinical tasks and areas.
You may also want to ask your team members about their short and long-term goals to ensure that you can align their roles and responsibilities.
If you are smart enough to establish roles and responsibilities for each team member, you will find that as a team, you will be more productive and efficient in hitting your goals.
Potent communication is the lifeblood of effective teamwork in healthcare.
For nursing and healthcare teams to work together, they must have an avenue to share information to protect patient confidentiality and improve health outcomes.
Healthcare teams often adopt a cross-functional collaboration framework. Without effective communication between cross-departmental teams, their work can fall apart, leading to costly errors and reputational damage.
With increased communication, nursing leaders can keep their teams on the same page in real-time to address urgent issues and work collaboratively.
It is especially important to know that healthcare is ridden with costly errors and mismatched expectations.
How do you ensure increased communication within healthcare teams? A good start is to create a comprehensive communication plan that outlines who individuals need to reach for specific issues to prevent misalignment.
Your communication plan should also include how often each team member will communicate with their nursing leader to report progress.
In doing so, nursing leaders can gain better insights, combat the silo mentality, and eliminate the gap between members across several departments of the healthcare institution.
Ensuring teamwork in healthcare and nursing
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