Today’s healthcare industry is built around a multidisciplinary approach to care. Nurses work closely alongside physicians and specialists to provide patients with comprehensive healthcare. Nurses must also work closely with one another. The Chief Nursing Officer or Chief Nurse Executive is typically at the top of the chain of command, followed by the Director of Nursing, nurse manager, advanced practice nurse, and charge nurse. The registered nurse is next in line, followed by the licensed practical nurse and any unlicensed personnel.
All of these individuals must work together to provide well-organized care for the patient; therefore, teamwork is crucial to facilitate effective communication and promote positive patient outcomes.
1. Improved Patient Satisfaction and Outcome
Healthcare professionals serve patients not as individual providers, but as multidisciplinary teams. These teams include nurses, primary care physicians, and specialists. Ideally, every individual on the team works together toward the common goal of enhancing the patient’s health and providing the highest possible level of care. As Wayne Robson, the patient safety and quality lead at Barnsley Hospital Foundation Trust, indicates in a piece for Nursing Times, teamwork in healthcare directly impacts the patient’s satisfaction and outcome.
When nurses communicate regularly with the patient’s physicians and therapists, they can offer a more personalized level of care. Organized methods of communication keep nurses aware of all current treatment plans so they can monitor their patients’ progress accurately.
When multidisciplinary teams meet often, they are able to evaluate patients more thoroughly. Thanks to their continual daily interaction with patients, nurses are often aware of minute details that busy physicians might miss in their hurried rounds. When teams have opportunities to communicate often, nurses can ask critical questions and make insightful suggestions about the best way to manage patient care.
2. Higher Job Satisfaction
Nursing careers may present possible challenges, from long hours to high-stress situations. It is crucial for professionals in this field to maintain a high level of job satisfaction to avoid potential burnout. The International Journal of Research in Medical Sciences published a study that demonstrated that nurses who are more satisfied with their jobs provide better care. A research report by The Society for Human Resource Management revealed that teamwork is closely associated with higher job satisfaction.
In hospitals where registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, nursing assistants, and unit secretaries worked together, employees were more satisfied with their jobs. Mentioned in an NCBI report, a study by AM Rafferty, CBE, FRCN of over 10,000 nurses in England revealed that those who scored their interdisciplinary teamwork high were more likely to have high job satisfaction and lower burnout.
When nurses have access to coordinated teams with organized lines of communication, they may be happier with their daily workplace responsibilities. Establishing strong teams in the workplace has been found to result in a more satisfied workforce, which reflects positively on both co-workers and patients.
3. Increased Professional Accountability
Teamwork contributes directly to accountability in nursing. Daily huddles enhance this by keeping nurses in the loop and reinforce changes to policies and procedures. In hospitals and other healthcare environments where team huddles are held less frequently, accountability suffers, according to Nurse Journal.
Nursing accountability can also benefit from teamwork on a smaller scale. Nurses who have attentive supervisors on their teams or partners who check and assess their work typically have more accountability. Organized chains of communication within these teams help communicate patient complaints or incidents effectively to those who are in a position to make meaningful changes. This is critical in the healthcare field, where errors can have a dramatic impact on patient outcomes.
The importance of communication and teamwork is becoming more widely recognized in the healthcare industry. Patient safety errors that result from the inability to communicate effectively put hospitals and other healthcare providers at great risk for legal ramifications. In recognition of this, communication strategies are often included in the curriculum for a nurse practitioner degree. Educational institutions are emphasizing the importance of teamwork and communication early to build a stronger foundation for successful healthcare outcomes.
4. Lower Rates of Job Turnover
Employee turnover is a major problem for hospitals. Nursing Solutions, Inc.’s National Health Care Retention & RN Staffing Report revealed that employee turnover in hospitals was 16.2 percent in 2016. The turnover rate for RNs was slightly lower at 14.6 percent, but certified nursing assistants had the highest turnover rate of all the reported occupations, at 24.6 percent. RNs in surgical services, women’s health, and pediatrics had the lowest rates of turnover, while those in behavior health and emergency care had the highest turnover.
In hospitals where there’s an emphasis on teamwork, nurses are more satisfied with their jobs, as mentioned previously. Higher job satisfaction decreases turnover. Thus, better teamwork can contribute to lower turnover. Forty-two percent of nurses who are dissatisfied with their jobs plan to leave within 12 months, while just 11 percent of nurses with high job satisfaction have plans to leave their current workplace.
5. Improved Engagement in the Workplace
Employee engagement is closely linked to workplace relationships. In a research report by the Society for Human Resource Management, 77 percent of employees said that relationships with their co-workers contributed to their engagement. Sixty-four percent felt that engagement was improved when they knew the people in their work group would not give up in the face of difficulties, and 65 percent were more engaged when their colleagues could quickly adapt to challenges or crises.
Nurses who are highly engaged in the workplace are usually more motivated to provide high levels of care. This can help combat the issue of burnout.
Teamwork is critically important to professionals in nursing. Facilitating these relationships is often in the purview of nurse leaders. Those who are interested in advancing their careers and taking on a leadership position that plays this important role may consider pursing an advanced degree in nursing practice. Such a degree can help nurses with an MSN work toward their Nurse Practitioner certification or Doctor of Nursing Practice degree.