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Who You’ll Hear

Kati Kleber, MSN RN – Nurse educator, former cardiac med-surg/stepdown and neurocritical care nurse, author, and speaker.

Elizabeth Mills, BSN RN CCRN – highly experienced neurocritical care nurse, current Stroke Navigator for a Primary Stroke Center

Melissa Stafford, BSN RN CCRN SCRN – highly experienced and currently practicing nationally certified neurocritical care nurse.

What You’ll Learn

  • Nursing Teamwork
  • Teamwork in admissions
  • Personalities
  • Problem with delegating
  • Help the most
  • Working with non-team players
  • Success

What Nursing Teamwork Practically Looks Like At the Bedside

Welcome to Season 4 of the FreshRN Podcast. Nursing Teamwork is one of those buzzwords, but what does it practically look like during elbow-to-elbow nursing care? In this episode, we chat tips, what good teamwork feels and looks like, and how to be a good team member, and more.

Nursing Teamwork

This is what good teamwork looks like for the in-patient nurse:

  • Teamwork can be challenging for new nurses
    • You are nervous, trying to do all your tasks right, so you kind of get a “silo mentality”
  • Teamwork is looking at the unit as a whole instead of your role individually.
  • If you have a light assignment you should take a proactive approach and help your fellow nurses who don’t
  • The best teamwork is someone that knows what a fellow nurse needs without them having to say it.
  • Think about what kind of picture cohesive teamwork paints for the patient and their family.

Teamwork in admissions

  • Admissions are a standard process
    • The team can come in and delegate to each other
      • One does blood sugar, one does blood pressure, etc
  • The challenge occurs when one nurse is very busy and attempting to predict their needs
    • Look on that patient’s chart and see if there are tasks that you can help with.

Use the Red-Yellow-Green Method to distinguish who needs help most and who can give help.

  • Red – super busy, I need help the most
  • Yellow – moderately busy
  • Green – not very busy, available to help others

Personalities in Teamwork

Everyone on a team has different strengths and weaknesses. Being aware of that can help everyone work better together.

  • Leverage people’s strengths
  • If there are things some people aren’t as strong at, ask someone that is better at it to help you.
  • Manage expectations. Don’t expect someone that is super relaxed to be acutely aware of the unexpressed needs of those around them
    • Use direct communication with them.
  • Be direct and ask.
  • Some people don’t know how to delegate, so suggest ways you can help them.
    • “Can I grab a blood sugar for you?”
    • “Do you need me to draw some labs?”
    • “What meds can I pass for you so that you can catch up on charting?”
  • Learn non-verbal behaviors that nurses exhibit so you can know when to help them.
    • Fast-paced walk
    • Shorter sentences
    • Facial Cues
  • Learn how to ask for help
    • Don’t get your feelings hurt thinking “why isn’t anyone helping me?” if you haven’t asked anyone for help yet.
    • Sometimes some people don’t look like they need help, so it’s tough to read their mind.
    • Reach out and verbalize your need for help when you have it.

How to Learn Personalities

Learning more about the personalities of your fellow nurses will help you all work better together as a team.

How to learn about personalities:

  • Watch your mentor – how did they do it?
  • Have conversations with people that aren’t about work.
    • Ask about their kids or what they are doing next weekend.
  • Make an effort on your own part to look around.
    • Is there an alarm going off? If so, how can you help with it?

The Problem With Delegating

Even experienced nurses have trouble delegating tasks to other nurses around them.

Reasons delegating isn’t easy:

  • The nurse might be a control freak.
    • Has a certain way he/she likes things done
  • Trouble trusting new nurses
    • Not sure if the new nurse has the experience to do the task correctly.

How to Help The Most

When you are working as a team, there are things you can do to help everyone out when they need it.

  • Anticipate upcoming tasks and offer to help and do them.
  • When you are helping, do your tasks correctly and thoroughly.
    • Don’t make the person you are helping have to redo your work, this will stress them out and hurt their trust in you.
  • Don’t just do the tasks, but document that they were done.
  • Earn that person’s trust.
  • Demonstrate that you are going to follow through on things and do them appropriately.
  • Experienced nurses have a responsibility to:
    • Demonstrate what teamwork looks like
    • Check in with new nurses and see what help they need.
    • Ask new nurses questions you know the answer to. This will build confidence in the new nurse and help foster communication.
  • Check in with fellow nurses throughout the shift

How to Work With People That Aren’t Team Players

How do you work with people that aren’t team players, and maintain a positive attitude for the rest of the group?

  • Keep nagging them, ask them direct questions
  • If they refuse to work as a team, take it up the chain of command.
  • Notify leadership about this unhelpful trend.
  • Talk to them directly. Let them know how their behavior is affecting the team.
  • Support them and let them know how they can grow.
  • Colleagues have to hold them accountable. Keep asking for help.
  • Ask for reinforcement – not discipline – from leadership

How to Succeed at Teamwork

This is what excellent teamwork looks like on the nursing floor.

  • Be proactive. Think about everyone around you and how you can help the entire unit.
  • Know your limits. Don’t agree to watch more patients if you are already way too busy.
  • Don’t be a silo. It isn’t only about you getting your tasks done. All the nurses on the shift should help each other with all the patients together.
  • Help each other out. If a call light is on and you are available, answer it even if it isn’t your patient.
  • It takes time. Give yourself time to learn more about your team.
  • Get to know personalities. Learn how they think and how to work better with them.

If everyone is helping each other out, everyone will have a fantastic shift where no one feels alone.

More Resources on Nursing Teamwork: