By Cheryl Carver, LPN, WCC, CWCA, FACCWS, DAPWCA, CLTC
National Nurse's Week (May 6-12) clearly influenced me for this month's blog topic. I think about teamwork among nursing staff members. A joint effort is not only paramount in delivering quality health care, but can also help us with job satisfaction. It makes me think of a favorite quote by Helen Keller: "Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much." We can refer to teamwork in many different ways, but one thing remains certain: pulling together results in positive outcomes.
The Impact of the Nursing Team on Patient Care
As I round with wound care physicians in long-term care facilities countrywide, I'm noticing the same contentions. One of the premier quandaries is what I call, "dysfunctional nursing teamwork." I see countless nurses and nursing assistants not putting forth a joint effort, causing increased conflicts and inadequate care for their patients. I think we can all admit to being guilty at one time or another, of judging health care professionals by the alphabet soup after his or her name, or the job title on their badge. It is important that every voice should be heard and appreciated.
Nursing assistants tell me they often times feel unappreciated and disrespected. They are the first line of defense and are the eyes and ears for the nurses. I personally have worked in both roles as a nursing assistant and nurse experiencing the communication break separating many nursing staff members. This directly increases the likelihood of adverse patient outcomes. If nursing staff members could try and focus a bit more on working side by side, while offering a little praise, it would go a long way. The following three factors contribute to a strong nursing team:
- Good communication
- Consistent approach
Working with your colleagues and practicing these elements of teamwork will inevitably increase continuity of care.
Improving Patient "Service"
Whether you are a health care professional or caregiver, it can be physically and emotionally wearing. I have stepped foot into both pairs of shoes. My many years of caregiver experiences for my loved ones have given me a variant of perspectives. Health care professionals get paid by the hour, and have the option to ask for a helping hand. Home caregivers do not get paid, cannot clock in and out, and many times do not have an extra pair of hands available. Patients are our customers. We expect good customer service. When we go to a restaurant and pay for a meal we expect it to not only taste good, but to also be served by a waiter or waitress that is pleasant with a smile. Most of us would insist on a free meal if it weren't up to our standards. So I ask this question: shouldn't patient care be viewed in the same way?
"Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success."
About the Author
Cheryl Carver is an independent wound educator and consultant. Carver's experience includes over a decade of hospital wound care and hyperbaric medicine. Carver single-handedly developed a comprehensive educational training manual for onboarding physicians and is the star of disease-specific educational video sessions accessible to employee providers and colleagues. Carver educates onboarding providers, in addition to bedside nurses in the numerous nursing homes across the country. Carver serves as a wound care certification committee member for the National Alliance of Wound Care and Ostomy, and is a board member of the Undersea Hyperbaric Medical Society Mid-West Chapter.
The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author, and do not represent the views of WoundSource, Kestrel Health Information, Inc., its affiliates, or subsidiary companies.