A large part of working in the healthcare field is being able to work cooperatively and efficiently with not only co-workers, but also any other people that the nurse may have to interact with on a day to day basis. This includes patients, patient’s families, physicians and professionals in many different fields of specialties. Teamwork and collaboration includes the ability to work directly or indirectly with others and accurately communicate information among a few or many different people.
The more obvious need for teamwork and collaboration is for the relationship between co-workers. Not necessarily just with nurses, but also nurse’s aides, certified nursing assistants (CNA’s) or anyone else helping with everyday patient care, like nursing students. There are a lot of responsibilities that come with caring for patients and it can take a toll if everyone is not helping each other. As with any other situation where there are multiple “hands stirring the pot,” care must be taken to ensure that accurate communication is happening so that everyone knows what has been and what has to be done. The nurse also must be sure that delegated duties are within another person’s scope and ability.
A nurse’s first priority is his/her patient. In order to meet their needs, the nurse must work as a team with the patient. Goals and chief concerns must be understood by everyone involved, but especially the nurse and patient to achieve optimal outcomes. The patient must be on board with the plan of care in order to make it effective. The nurse must find out what end result the patient is working for, if at all. If everyone is working together and collaborating, miscommunication and errors are minimized. With most patients, a nurse also has to have a healthy relationship with their families. This is especially true when the family will take on the responsibility of being the main caregivers after discharge.
The nurse and family being able to work together to teach and learn the care that will be needed at home and also to collaborate and plan what appointments or outpatient help is necessary moving forward is an integral part to the patient’s healthcare needs. Nurses can work and collaborate as a team with physicians directly or indirectly. They work with physicians within the hospital or clinic to provide patient care, but also have to collaborate once the patient is discharged to organize follow up appointments. There may also be certain cases that involve multiple specialties that need to be kept within the loop. In many of these cases the nurse is left with the task of communicating the patient’s needs to everyone involved to make sure their needs are met in all aspects of care.
How frustrating it must be as a professional, such as a physical therapist, who does not get to be with a patient in the beginning of treatment in the hospital or doctor’s office. Yet they have to be up to speed once the patient is home. If no one has clarified the goals, priorities and what is required to meet those goals and priorities of the patient’s, many issues may fall through the cracks, and optimal outcomes may not be met. Or in some instances, the patient may also regress into a worse state.
Teamwork and collaboration is a quality that a nurse must possess to be able to provide complete care to patients and their families. They must know how to use resources and communicate needs to many different people. Nursing is definitely about patient care in the aspect of their physiologic needs, but it also encompasses a sense of customer service in the way of coordinating arrangements for future needs outside of the hospital or clinic.