Healthcare is a team effort. In any department, healthcare professionals of different levels and specializations are collaborating to provide the best possible care services. In a “routine” surgery, the nurse anesthetists, surgeon, operating room nurse and more have to be on the same page, while they carry out an extremely distinct role. The success for any hospital, long term care center, or healthcare facility hinges on the teamwork and chemistry that is fostered between HCPs in the same unit. Healthcare managers and administrators must take it upon themselves to foster a culture and environment of togetherness.
Though there are many ways to approach this, and what works best will depend on the personalities you are working with. To get you started, we have listed a number of key strategies nurse leaders can employ to better promote teamwork in the facility.
80% of medical errors stem from miscommunications, during procedures. Communication allows HCPs to focus on their roles, stay on the same page, and remain cognizant of the current situation or patient condition. Because of this, proper communication needs to be encouraged and fostered by nurse administrators. Proper communication skills can be incorporated into mandatory HCP programs, for example. HCPs can benefit from being taught active listening, which lets staff listen and respond to one another in an involved way.
Appoint the right leaders
Nurse leaders play an integral role in the success of a unit’s cohesiveness. They are in charge of connecting with other staff members, facilitating collaboration, and inspiring them towards better nursing outcomes. Facilities need to make it a priority to promote the best leaders in their staff. The right nurse leader can create a positive culture of transparency, conversation, and collaboration. There are a number of qualities that you want to look for in a good nurse leader.
- Communication skills to coordinate and collaborate with different HCPs.
- The compassion and empathy to connect with others.
- The ability to delegate tasks, based on the individual strengths of weakness
- A commitment to excellent, and ethical patient care.
The nurse leader that works best for your facility is a case by case basis. Some units work better under stern supervision, while others need a more gentle touch. What matters most is their ability to manage personalities, and get tasks done in a timely manner.
Communication is a two way street. A great way to do this is with periodic staff meetings. They can be held at periodic intervals, though monthly meetings work in most cases. In these meetings, they can provide feedback on the current team chemistry, where they thrive, and which areas require improvement. This open forum promotes collaboration and an exchange of ideas, between established professionals. It allows HCPs to feel heard and acknowledged, while nurse leaders can come away with valuable insights.
Acknowledge a job well done
As a leader, it is important to acknowledge when your HCPs have finished a procedure, or shift successfully. This may seem like a minor detail, but feeling underappreciated is a major source of stress for HCPs. Most nurses, doctors, and physicians enter the profession to help others. Lashings out from superiors or patients may not seem like much, but it can all add up. Fostering a culture of gratitude directly combats this, and promotes better relationships between administrators, leaders, and HCPs. Simply giving thanks or noting how well an HCP performed can go a long way towards promoting better teamwork.
What happens if proper HCP teamwork is not promoted?
As was mentioned earlier, most medical errors stem from poor communication and teamwork. When the errors build up, a facility’s reputation inevitably takes a hit. No one wants to be admitted to an error-prone hospital, after all. Sour teamwork can also cause distrust and stress, among HCPs. Nurses become frustrated with doctors and vice versa, and everyone constantly butts heads with one another. When everyone is at odds, the whole operation becomes less efficient as it takes a longer time to get anything done at all.
On the other hand, good chemistry elevates an operation. Everyone is more productive and efficient, in a positive team environment. There is less stress, and facilities can even save on costs over time. Creating a positive team environment based on communication and trust is a long term endeavor, but the fruits of that labor are worth it, more often than not.