How to Build a Strong Nursing Team

A team of nurses standing in a circle with their hands placed in the center.

Any job has the potential to involve stress and interpersonal conflict, but it does not have to be this way. When the workplace is a hospital and those who are ill and injured are relying on the health care providers, it is essential for those providers to work well together as a cooperative team. A strong nursing team is also integral to high job satisfaction, retention rates and overall quality of life for the employees.

Communicate Effectively With Your Colleagues

Excellent patient care does not happen in a vacuum. It takes a team of RNs, LPNs, NAs and unit secretaries working together to give patients the best possible outcome. One of the cornerstones of teamwork is communication. When you are handing over care of a patient at the end of your shift, you can ensure smooth continuity of care by communicating every detail about that patient. Doing so also reduces the risk of medical errors. Do not hesitate to speak up if you need help from your colleagues. Asking for and giving assistance freely builds trust among team members, which also helps build employee relationships.

Promote a Friendly, Supportive Workplace

Health care is demanding work. When a shift is especially busy and you are trying to do a dozen things at once, it is easy to let good manners and professionalism take a backseat. But remember that you are part of a team and modeling professionalism and calmness under pressure will encourage the rest of your team to do the same.

Something as simple as a genuinely friendly smile will brighten everyone’s day. When disagreements do occur, do not take it personally. Be receptive to constructive criticism and phrase your own feedback in positive, productive ways. Take the time to get to know your co-workers on a personal level, doing something simple such as inviting other team members to eat lunch with you will help build your relationships.

Building rapport is a step toward building trust. Knowing your team well also allows you to assess how someone’s personality or current life events might affect any given situation.

Divide Responsibilities and Offer Help

Most nurses would probably agree that they all wished they had more time. When you are pressed for time, you might not be eager to offer your assistance with another nurse’s patient. Try to be adaptable and offer your help regardless of how busy you are. Volunteering even a few minutes of your time to help out a team member will go a long way toward building camaraderie. Your team member will remember your efforts and will be more likely to extend a helping hand to others in the future. It often makes sense to shift some responsibilities around according to each team member’s own strengths and weaknesses, even if this requires providing care for another nurse’s patient.

Establish Feedback

It is important to hold team members accountable and have clear communication with team members and this includes giving them feedback. Tell your team members what they are doing well and what they can improve on, that way they can work to the best of their ability and improve their strengths.

Share Success and Failure

Working as a team means sharing both success and failure. You win as a team and you lose as a team. It is important to work together. When one person succeeds, you all succeed. Encourage one another and support them in their work. This will help build their confidence in the workplace.

Is nursing management in your future? Enroll in Grand Canyon University’s Master of Science in Nursing with an Emphasis in Leadership in Health Care Systems. By the time you earn your degree, you’ll be well-equipped with the skills necessary to be an effective and ethical team leader. To find out more, click on the Request More Information button.

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