Teamwork: Keeping Promises, Helping Others, and Listening

Two smiling nurses
There is really nothing better than teamwork!

As we come to the end of 2021, I want to thank each of you for everything you do for your patients and each other every day.  No matter what setting you work in, your job has not been easy.

This year has not been without challenges, and the way your units look and who you work with may be different now than it was in January. However, I hope you have great teammates to help you get through the tough times and celebrate the joys (big and small).

There is really nothing better than teamwork. As a medical-surgical nurse, I have always valued it above many other parts of the profession, and I have been a part of wonderful outcomes with great teams. As a nurse caring for patients at the bedside, I valued keeping my promises to my coworkers and finding ways to help them before asking for assistance.

When we had especially difficult patients to care for, such as those with dressing changes that took hours, patients with dementia, or prisoners with guards, I encouraged my coworkers to pair up with a colleague to get the job done more efficiently and ensure everyone’s safety.

I always tried to say yes when I was the person my coworkers asked to complete these tasks. Part of it was to help the patients, but the other part that made me feel just as good was seeing the smile and appreciation on my coworker’s face when we were done. That high-five between coworkers after a challenging job is done is one of the best feelings.

When I was a nurse manager, I spent a lot of time instilling teamwork into our unit culture. For example, we did team-building exercises during most staff meetings, kept our promises to one another, and asked candidates their views on teamwork when we interviewed new staff members.

When I was a nurse manager, I spent a lot of time instilling teamwork into our unit culture. For example, we did team-building exercises during most staff meetings, kept our promises to one another, and asked candidates their views on teamwork when we interviewed new staff members.

In addition, we valued input from every staff member when we worked to solve a problem, and we celebrated together when we experienced a triumph, big or small. As a result, teamwork became an expectation on the unit, leading to high staff engagement and low turnover. 

Many of us become nurses because we want to help people. But, in my opinion, helping others doesn’t start and stop with the patients we care for. There are opportunities to help everyone around us.

For example, in healthcare, we can help our interprofessional partners by anticipating the equipment the physical therapist will need for the patient with the total hip replacement or by having a list of questions for the provider when they round on patients to reduce phone calls and texts.

Outside of healthcare, the opportunities to help others are endless and can be as simple as holding open a door, letting someone with only a couple of items go before you in line at the grocery store, or buying a beverage for the car behind you in the drive-thru line.

Recently, I had an opportunity to help someone, and all I had to do was listen. It was not in a hospital setting, but they needed someone to listen to their thoughts and ideas. Nurses are trained listeners because we use our assessment skills to identify injuries and disease by using all our senses.

...listening is a specialized skill, and it can be tough to keep your mouth shut and not interject opinions or try to fix the problem.

However, listening is a specialized skill, and it can be tough to keep your mouth shut and not interject opinions or try to fix the problem. Long story short, by listening to them, I connected with this person and built trust and a stronger relationship.

I bring up listening related to teamwork because we must be willing to hear each other to be the best teammates we can be and meet the needs of our patients and each other. 

As 2021 ends, please find time to listen to yourself and identify what you need to be the best version of yourself. To be the best teammate, you must care for yourself.

Reach out and tell AMSN your wellness tips and tricks, how you get through the holiday season or share your teamwork stories. We would love to hear from you so we can share your ideas and help others.

Happy holidays to you all!

Please contact us with any questions you may have about Publications.

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