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Proposal: Teamwork in Nursing
In a hospital setting, care delivery involves multi-disciplinary professionals configured into a complex network of healthcare delivery. Nurses work alongside physicians, and clinical specialists to provide quality, comprehensive patient care as part of an interpersonal team. Team leaders, with the help of individual players, work to produce efficient teams that not only protect patients from risk but to also influence others to create positive, engaging, resilient workplaces. Studies have shown that hospitals containing nursing staff reporting high levels of teamwork also have recorded incidences of low rates of workplace injuries, fewer reports of workplace harassment, and low employee turnover (Creating a nursing dream team, 2017). Nurses engaged by their positions are motivated to provide greater levels of care (The Five Benefits, 2019).
Teamwork between nursing professionals is essential because it facilitates effective communication that promotes positive patient outcomes, which in turn, leads to patient satisfaction (Kalisch, 2007). Medicare is dependent on patient satisfaction scores, so organizations benefit by finding ways to make their systems efficient and effective for both the patient and their staff (Writers, 2019). However, poor employee unity, unclear work goals, and disruptive behavior within a team can derail efforts that may result in preventable medical errors. With the goal of patient health in mind, the idea is to empower nursing teams to produce optimal levels of care to improve patient satisfaction, as well as maintain high levels of job contentment.
Statement of Problem
One of the most uninvested frameworks in healthcare involves the lack of strengthening the nursing team. However, long hours, high stress, and burnout can negatively affect nursing units, allowing disruptions or miscommunications in transitions of care to place a patient at risk for medical error (Writers, 2019). Errors such as delays in treatment or therapies, to critical medication mistakes with confusing orders and dosages. Neglecting the need to strengthen the quality of teamwork may result in unsuitable standards of quality and safety of patient care.
Studies show that optimal teamwork in nursing is directly related to staff who maintain high commitments in their position through a sense of ownership over job responsibilities. To strengthen team dynamics, these four specific areas addresses both the main goal of improving the quality of care and patient outcome, while working to empower and enhance the responsibilities of each member of the nursing team.
- Addressing conflict. Conflict in a small unit can negatively affect team dynamic over time, turning small disturbances into larger issues. Understanding and resolving conflict through effective communication and professional dialog are important for strengthening interpersonal relationships between colleagues in a fast-paced environment (Hayes, 1994).
- Promote informal leadership. Create an inclusive environment with a variety of team professionals (ARPN, RN, LPN, CNA) with a goal towards cultivating relationships that share a common vision of achieving quality outcomes. Recognizing each teammate can assume a leadership role enhances motivation and commitment through active engagement, while concurrently influencing colleagues, patients and their families (The Five Benefits, 2019).
- Implement evidence-based training. Provide opportunities for structured team interactions and utilizing proven tools and strategies to serve as a basis of evaluation in team improvement interventions. Standard handoff protocols reduce information loss during care transitions and utilizing checklists, daily goal sheets, and consistent case analysis encourages fresh discussion towards optimal patient care through organized outcomes (The Five Benefits, 2019).
- Individual accountability. Clearly defined roles in an organized chain of command help to resolve complaints quickly and provides feedback to those who can impact changes. Reinforcing policies and procedures keep nurses apprised and, in the loop, which reduces a hospitals risk for legal repercussions caused by medical errors (Hayes, 1994). Team leadership influences collective priorities when nurses learn to recognize situations that require critical thinking and insightful suggestions to personalize care. One’s ownership of job responsibility as part of an efficient team is closely associated with the level of happiness towards high job satisfaction (Kalisch, 2007).
Team adaptability is built on effective team leadership. Leadership at different levels should include training in conflict resolution, mindful decision making, and professional dialog to improve the transparency of workplace discourse. Revisions and clarifications of expected job duties for team members will help identify individual competencies and foster better collaboration of nursing staff (Kalisch, 2007). Utilizing and implementing daily goal sheets and participating in unit huddles provides every member the opportunity to discuss the goals and expectations of a unit daily (Creating a nursing dream team, 2017). An evaluation of workflow allows for accountability and analysis of a team’s ability to sustain their organization’s strategies towards improving patient outcomes (Kalisch, 2007).
Important efforts should be dedicated to strengthening team member relationships, as well as provide opportunities for nursing teams to identify and customize their teamwork competencies. Effective leadership is crucial in creating and motivating change for team members involved in providing quality healthcare. When a team member has high job satisfaction, this translates into improved patient outcomes, which subsequently benefits the healthcare facility and its patient.
- Creating a nursing dream team. (2017, July 28). Retrieved July 24, 2019, from https://www.americannursetoday.com/creating-a-nursing-dream-team/
- Hayes, P. (1994). Team building: Bringing RNs and NAs together. Nursing Management, 25(5), 52. https://doi.org/10.1097/00006247-199405000-00009
- Kalisch, B. J., Curley, M., & Stefanov, S. (2007). An Intervention to Enhance Nursing Staff Teamwork and Engagement. JONA: The Journal of Nursing Administration,37(2), 77-84. doi:10.1097/00005110-200702000-00010
- The Five Benefits of Teamwork in Nursing: Maryville Online Nursing Programs. (n.d.). Retrieved July 30, 2019, from https://online.maryville.edu/nursing-degrees/top-5-benefits-of-teamwork-in-nursing/
- Writers, S. (2019, July 22). When Nursing Teamwork Suffers - 2019 NurseJournal.org. Retrieved July 24, 2019, from https://nursejournal.org/community/when-nursing-teamwork-suffers/
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