There is no "I" in team. There is also no "I" in RN. Cooperation is essential to a successful nursing team. A nursing team is a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts when it is efficient and supportive.
Nurses work with doctors, social workers, nursing assistants and respiratory therapists to meet the needs of patients. The RN is an important part of the health care team, helping to both coordinate and deliver services. Nurses can also work as case managers, who act as gatekeepers and advocates for the patient in all disciplines. They ensure that the patient is treated as a whole person and that all of his or her needs are met.
A nursing team can also consist of a group of coworkers that help one another throughout the shift. Nursing can be a physically demanding profession, so helping one another move patients can reduce back injuries, save time and build a spirit of cooperation that makes for a happy workplace. Watching a patient while a nurse accompanies another patient to the CT scanner or starting an IV for a coworker will come back a hundredfold, when the situations are reversed.
This spirit of teamwork should especially be cultivated among teams in which there are new graduates of nursing that need to be mentored. With an estimated 26 percent increase in registered nurses between 2010 and 2020, team nursing will continue to grow in importance for the future of health care.
There are some jobs in the field of nursing that allow for much more independent work. For example, a home health nurse will give care in a patient's home. Also, parish nurses, school nurses and other community-based nurses work as the only health care providers on site. Do not mistake independence for not having to work cooperatively with others. Nursing is heavy on social skills and interpersonal communication, so be prepared.
The most important relationship any member of the nursing team has is between the patient and the RN. Without a unified purpose and spirit of cooperation between the nurse and the client, all other functions of the nursing team will suffer. Gaining the patient's trust through honesty and care, as well as respect for their humanity will create a successful relationship. A patient needs to know that the nurse has their best interest at heart. The patients will then be more willing to work with the health care team and follow through with their treatment plan.