Collaboration: Working with Other Nurses, Physicians, and Other Members of the Health Care Team Sally Keskey
No patient enters the hospital to simply be healed by one lone health care professional. Instead, a patient’s health is improved and managed by a team of professionals: the emergency room nurse fights to stabilize the patient before admission and must provide the best report to the nurse receiving the patient on their floor. The attending physician reviews hospital policy and evidence based practice before enlisting the help of the pharmacy and nursing staff to carry out their orders. Health care is truly a work of collaboration and, as nurses, we must always strive to work efficiently with all members of the health care team.
Know the Roles of Your Team With so many people working in a hospital, it can be tough to know who does what and when to call them. Knowing the responsibilities of your team makes things run smoothly and keeps your patient safe. Does your patient need help getting back to normal after a surgery? They might benefit from an occupational therapist. Hearing wheezes during your patient’s chest auscultation? The respiratory therapist may be able to provide a nebulizer treatment. Next, learn how to best communicate with your team members, especially your patient’s physician.
Communication is Key Collaboration starts with good communication. Use your facility’s suggested reporting method during patient hand-offs or when calling a physician. Many places suggest SBAR, an acronym which stands for: situation, background, assessment, and recommendation. This form of communication is clear and cuts to the chase so that less time is lost before a necessary treatment option is chosen. While it can be frustrating to work with people of all different personalities and communication styles, learning to adapt to these differences is key in creating an environment of efficient health care. Use every opportunity to learn how your co-workers best communicate and always ensure that you understand their recommendation or opinion before acting. Though it’s a challenge to adapt from one communication style to another, it’s a great way to become a better communicator and health care professional.
Ask What You Can Do to Help The best collaborator is always willing to lend a helping hand. See a nurse looking like they’re at the end of their rope? Ask if they’ve got a task they can have you complete if you’ve got a few spare minutes. When things start getting crazy on your next shift, you’ll be glad you did! On top of helping out, don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty. There’s perhaps no bigger wrench in the wheels of collaboration than saying, “that’s not my job.” Whether it’s helping your co-worker’s patient to the bathroom, helping the doctor perform their assessment, or changing the bed with the housekeeper, if you’ve got a spare moment, help out. Our patients deserve a healthcare team that’s committed to providing the best care possible. Collaboration between staff makes it possible