There may be an “I” in nursing, but it is certainly not an individually driven career. Nursing is all about teamwork. The physical aspects of the job more often than not require more than one person to complete a task, and the emotional aspects require teamwork and support even more.
Teamwork in nursing improves not only care to the patient, though this is by far the most important part, but also improves the job itself for those that are completing it.
How a Nursing Team Functions
In a typical day of nursing, in a hospital setting for example, a nurse may turn a patient six times. This is from assuming that the nurse is working a twelve-hour shift and incorporating the standard policy for tissue damage prevention by turning the patient every two hours. This does not mean that the nurse is not in fact turning the patient more; this is just an example.
Trying to reposition the average adult by yourself is not the easiest task. If it is possible, it is probably not the best idea for your back. What makes such a difficult single-person task easier is teamwork. A two-person turn saves the backsides of all parties involved.
Thinking of nursing in terms of time management also shows the importance of teamwork. Using the “buddy system” for turns has probably saved the nurse a good amount of time. That time managed can be used to assess patients, provide emotional care, and administer needed medications.
During an assessment of a patient, a nurse may find that the patient has had a significant change in exam. A patient that was once stable may now be critically ill. Teamwork is a great thing to have in place for such a situation. When a patient’s blood pressure is crashing or their respiratory status is decreasing rapidly a second, third, or even fourth pair of hands may mean the difference between life and death.
According to Jeffery R. Dichter, “Quantitative studies suggest that in the critical care setting, when these patients are managed by a multidisciplinary team that proactively oversees the weaning process using standardized protocols, they are consistently ‘extubated’ in nearly two days less time as compared to the traditional process”. Again, this shows the improvement of care for the patient from the practice of teamwork.
A Nursing Team Works Best
When looking at the interdisciplinary team approach to healthcare, the benefits of a multifaceted team approach can be seen. Instead of one person attempting to manage the various aspects of a patient by themselves, the tasks are delegated. This allows for various people to be responsible for the patient’s care. It gives the opportunity for multiple sets of eyes to check the patient, decreasing the likelihood that vital information would be missed.
Having a respiratory therapist on staff may decrease the amount of medications that a nurse needs to administer. It also means that in the case of respiratory decline, there are two persons with training at bedside that are available to assist in the care as directed by the physician.
Ancillary staff and nurses are available to assist the physician in assessing the patient, as well. Doctors may not always be at the bedside. Acute changes in patient condition may be assessed first by a nurse, who then calls to inform the physician, and any other staff that may be needed to care for the patient and improve care.
Care provided to patients is vastly improved when the approach to their care is taken with the team approach. The better the team works together, the better the quality of care provided to the patient. Teamwork, while improving care, also decreases the stress of the employ and promotes an overall well being in the work environment.
A study by the National Center for Biotechnical Information found that SIDR (structured interdisciplinary rounds) had a positive effect on nurses’ ratings of collaboration and teamwork on a hospitalist unit, yet no impact on LOS and cost. Improved patient care combined with improved staff satisfaction at a next to nothing cost—teamwork in nursing and health care sounds like a win–win.
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