In contemporary healthcare settings, it is rare for patients to be under the care of only one provider. Instead, an interdisciplinary team of healthcare professionals delivers patient care, and nurses must have the necessary preparation and skills to work as part of a team. An RN to BSN program prepares nurses to be participants in the delivery and management of patient care.
Why Are Teamwork and Communication Important in Nursing?
Patient care today is more complicated than ever due to various factors. For instance, there is an increasingly large aging population that has one or more chronic conditions such as diabetes, cancer, arthritis, Alzheimer’s or kidney disease. The complexity of these illnesses requires specialized care, which has resulted in the development of multidisciplinary approaches to patient treatment such as the Cancer and Aging Resiliency (CARE) clinic approach to geriatric oncology.
With diverse healthcare teams made up of different nurses, physicians and other healthcare professionals, it is important that they clearly and effectively communicate with one another to build strong work relationships, share resources and solve problems.
The World Health Professions Alliance (WHPA), among others, refers to teamwork in healthcare and related settings as “interprofessional collaborative practice.” WHPA cites the World Health Organization’s definition of the concept: “Collaborative practice happens when multiple health workers from different professional backgrounds work together with patients, families, carers and communities to deliver the highest quality of care across settings.”
Healthcare team members apply collaborative practice and focus on patient-centered care by doing the following:
- Cooperating with one another
- Exchanging information
- Integrating electronic medical records
- Providing timely informed consent
The importance of seamless collaboration and communication in the healthcare team has been highlighted in recent years by the COVID-19 pandemic. The global crisis overwhelmed healthcare systems in unprecedented ways, requiring healthcare professionals to push the limits of their roles and resources, working together to save people’s lives while keeping colleagues and loved ones safe.
How Does Teamwork Help Patients and Nurses?
When teams coordinate care, they decrease the level of stress patients may experience and positively affect outcomes. WHPA also notes that collaborative practice can increase job satisfaction while reducing stress and burnout for healthcare professionals like nurses.
Improving job satisfaction and reducing burnout are important components of creating positive nursing environments that engender further teamwork development and higher quality care. As team members, nurses are not the sole providers of care, so they do not carry the entire responsibility for a patient’s health. They have the support of their teammates to help them make decisions.
The authors of a study featured in BMC Nursing elaborate on the many benefits of teamwork in healthcare settings. In addition to improving efficiency and patient safety, the authors write, “Teamwork builds on employee cohesion and reduces medical and nursing errors, resulting in greater patient satisfaction and improved healthcare.”
What Listening Skills Help Nurses With Patient Assessments?
The healthcare team relies on solid patient assessment for planning a course of action. For nurses to gather the necessary patient information, they have to be good listeners and, in particular, practice active listening. To properly assess patients, skilled nurses use the following listening skills:
- Stay relaxed
- Make eye contact
- Sit at the bedside facing the patient
- Refrain from making judgements or criticizing the patient
- Keep from interrupting patients while they are talking and wait for pauses to ask questions
- Repeat back to patients what they have said
What Communication Skills Do Nurses Need?
It is imperative that nurses competently communicate with team members. Along with the listening skills noted above, great communication skills include:
- Awareness of nonverbal cues
- Constructive feedback
- Honesty and courtesy
- Verbal clarity
Healthcare teams have a common purpose: to provide safe, optimal patient care with successful outcomes through communication and collaboration. Nurses who complete an RN to BSN program are prepared to succeed as part of a healthcare team.
Learn more about Eastern Illinois University’s online RN to BSN program.