Staying healthy is something that everyone should pay attention to, as it can help us live happier, longer lives. Whether this is finding the best natural treatments for health conditions, following a balanced diet, or working out regularly, taking steps to look after ourselves is not something to ignore. Even if you do all you can to stay in shape, though, most of us will probably need the help of trained medical professionals at some point in our lives.
This could be down to accidents, injuries, or health conditions which appear out of nowhere, leaving us needing healthcare services to get better. Nurses are a key part of the country’s healthcare workforce and play a major role in society.
This means that nursing is a profession that has a high status, and which remains in demand on a national scale. When you factor in the variety of nursing roles available, the high levels of job satisfaction, and good rates of pay, it is easy to see why so many people look to nursing as a career. This can be people moving into the sector straight from college/university or people moving into nursing as a second career from elsewhere.
Nursing is an interesting career to pursue
In addition to the above features, which make this healthcare role so popular as a career, the interesting nature of the work and the ability to interact directly with patients is also appealing to many. It is fair to say that each day is different as a nurse, and you will be required to carry out a wide variety of tasks and engage with lots of patients as you do so.
It is not just interacting with those you care for which is important in this role, though. Professional nursing staff also need to be able to collaborate with colleagues for the best management of health conditions. With that in mind, this article will explore why collaboration is so important and how you can engage in a career in nursing to utilize your collaborative skills.
How can you get into nursing?
Before nurses can dig deeper into specific parts of the role, such as collaboration when managing health conditions, they need to take the necessary steps to break into the sector first. This means undertaking formal training which teaches them how to become a professional nurse who can effectively care for patients.
Initially, this involves enrolling in an approved nursing education program to become a registered nurse (RN). This is the first step on the career ladder for aspiring nurses wherever in the country they may live or are thinking of working.
You can use the steps to becoming an RN in Maine to show how this is achieved in practice. There are various courses you could enroll in in this state, depending on your educational background or current career. For example, the second-degree distance hybrid ASBN qualification at Holy Family University enables people with a bachelor’s degree in another subject area to gain the relevant skills needed to become an RN in Maine. Accredited by the CCNE and with 100% online coursework, it is a popular choice for would-be nurses in that area.
What qualities do you need to become a nurse?
While gaining the academic qualifications needed to become a nurse in US states, such as Maine, is essential, it is not the only thing people considering moving into the sector need to consider. Having the right personal qualities to become a professional in the nursing industry is also important. This is because having the right personal traits will help you enjoy the role fully and help provide the best care to patients.
But what are the most crucial qualities nurses must embody to achieve this? Just as any list of common health conditions can be lengthy, the characteristics nurses need can also be long. Those listed below are commonly thought of as the most vital to possess, however:
- Attention to detail
- Calmness under pressure
- Organization skills
- Problem-solving skills
- Ethics and integrity
Although all of the above traits are important to achieve success as a professional nurse, teamwork and communication are especially key. This is because both enable nurses to collaborate with colleagues effectively when managing health conditions. It is hard to facilitate proper collaboration without the ability to communicate well!
What is collaboration in nursing?
As in other sectors, collaboration in nursing is all about working with others to achieve better results overall. Within the nursing sector, this sees trained nurses working with other healthcare professionals to deliver the best care possible. It can also involve interacting with patients to involve them in the care process and glean any fresh insights which could prove useful for managing their conditions.
Collaboration enables nurses to find the best ways to manage the various health conditions patients may be suffering from and become more effective in their role. It is key to note that professional collaboration in nursing may include working not only with other nursing staff on your team but also with a range of colleagues across a healthcare facility.
But why is this kind of teamwork in nursing so critical for managing health conditions properly?
Sharing of data for effective general patient care
This is one of the main reasons collaboration is key within nursing for managing health conditions. By collaborating with colleagues, nurses are able to pass on crucial general information about a patient which others involved in their treatment need to know. Through effective collaboration, nurses can also share insights with colleagues as to how a patient is responding to treatment, their general mood, or anything they have noticed which might be of concern.
This all makes for much better patient outcomes and enhances the care people receive in healthcare facilities. As you can imagine, the sharing of information in nursing through collaboration can often have a massive impact on patient outcomes. It is also key to note that it is not just nurses passing on data to other nurses, which is vital.
For example, nursing staff may also find out key data needed to provide the best treatment through collaborating with colleagues in other departments. It is only through working with other nurses and intra-professional teams that nurses can stay updated with the latest important information. When you also add in finding out information on how a patient is feeling or responding to treatment directly from the patient themselves, it is clear how important all this is for positive outcomes in the industry.
Essential notes about managing a specific condition
As well as collaborating around general patient care, working closely with other healthcare professionals allows nurses to also stay informed about the best way to manage a specific condition someone in their care may be battling.
This is especially important if it is a rare condition (such as Goodpastures Syndrome or a rare form of cancer) which needs distinct approaches in terms of treatment. If a nurse does not collaborate with colleagues effectively, they may not be aware of how rare the condition is, what causes it, and what they need to do to help manage it properly. On the flip side, if proper collaboration is achieved, professional nurses are aware of all this and can provide targeted care that is suitable for each individual patient.
Changes to treatment plans
Whatever condition they may be suffering from, all patients will have a treatment plan drawn up for everyone involved in this care to follow. It is essential that nurses not only understand the plan each patient they care for has but also keep updated with any changes to it.
This can be especially true when it comes to the medication patients may be prescribed. It can be common for very ill people to be prescribed high doses of certain drugs to fight initial infections, but then the dosage be reduced over time as they get better. If a nurse is unaware of this reduced dosage in an updated treatment plan and continues to administer the higher initial dose, the effects could be very serious.
Due to this, collaboration in nursing becomes important as a way for professionals in this sector to stay abreast of any changes to a patient’s treatment plan. This may simply involve communicating with colleagues to find out about any changes or actually being involved in intra-professional discussions when the plan is changed. For more senior nursing staff, collaborating with the nurses they manage is essential to ensure everyone is updated on a patient’s treatment.
Ensure patients get suitable targeted care.
Effective collaboration within nursing is a fabulous way to ensure patients get not only the best care in general but also top-level care from qualified healthcare professionals in specific niches. By building up an effective professional network through collaboration in their facility, nursing staff can have a range of contacts in key departments to call on when needed.
But how does this work in practice for enhancing patient care levels? If a patient a nurse is caring for starts to show signs of mental health issues, for example, this may not be something they are qualified to handle themselves. In this instance, the patient should be seen by a trained mental health practitioner who works in the same facility.
Nurses who collaborate effectively in their roles not only know the right person to call but can also work with them to get the patient the targeted help they require. This is much better for the patient concerned and also the safety of other patients/staff. Although this is just one example, it shows why collaboration in nursing is key for boosting patient care levels in specific situations.
Better teamwork boosts patient experiences.
Collaborating effectively as a team within nursing is important for managing health conditions due to the positive impact it has on the patient experience. This naturally relates to the wider team, which may be looking after someone, but also the immediate nursing team that is dedicated to their care. As a result, it is a must that anyone working as a nurse realizes how valuable good teamwork is and can work with others effectively.
But why is good teamwork so crucial in this regard? In simple terms, a happy team of healthcare professionals makes for a much nicer environment for patients. This is not only in terms of the general atmosphere on a ward but also the general attitude of nurses who might be treating patients directly.
Nurses who do not collaborate well and do not get on with team members are more likely to be miserable at work. This attitude can spill over into their dealings with patients and negatively impact their experience.
In turn, this could lead to the patient feeling down or miserable and therefore see them take longer to get better. Nurses who do not collaborate well with others may become distracted by conflict in the workplace, rather than being focused on their patients. This could see mistakes made that may be painful or even deadly for those they care for.
Range of opinions for better patient care
This is perhaps the last major reason why collaboration in nursing is vital for managing health conditions. In short, working effectively with others allows nurses to gain different perspectives on how best to treat a patient or what is the best course of action in certain situations. This can be especially important if a nurse is unsure as to how best to proceed.
By working in intra-professional healthcare teams, nurses are also able to hear different perspectives on patient care and gain new insights from other health professionals in this area. Collaborating in this way also means nurses can share their own thoughts on the best way to care for a patient and manage their condition. All this is much better for patients and means a range of opinions is always sought in order to find the best way forward.
Best practices for collaboration in healthcare
Although we now know what it takes to become a nurse, what collaboration means in nursing, and why it is so important, we will now look at how it can be achieved in practice. This is especially important for nurses that plan to move into the sector themselves and are wondering how they might be expected to work with colleagues to provide the best care.
The best place to start for any professional nurse is to simply foster open, clear, and honest communication in their role. This includes both communicating effectively with patients and also healthcare colleagues involved in their care. By doing this, professional nurses can find out the latest information to inform the management of health conditions but also pass this information on in a clear manner to others who might need to know. Clear communication is also crucial when providing your own input into discussions on patient care as a nurse.
In addition to this, it can also be useful to create safe spaces for nurses in which they can freely share information. This helps make people feel comfortable enough to fully engage in the collaborative process and feel they are in a space that makes it easy to engage with others. This is not always the case if you do it around a desk in a busy nursing unit, for example.
What other best practices for nursing collaboration are there?
Effective collaboration within nursing can only happen within an environment that promotes mutual trust and respect. It is also key to ensure everyone feels their input is valued and taken seriously. If more junior nursing staff do not feel this way, for example, they may disengage from the collaborative process.
It can also be sensible to encourage a sense of shared responsibility to drive the management of health conditions. This starts with each nurse understanding their own roles and responsibilities within the team. Once this has happened, everyone is able to buy into the fact that they all have a part to play in the care of every patient.
Perhaps the last standout example of best practice for collaboration in nursing is the ability to resolve conflicts within teams effectively. This is because different views on the best management of a health condition can sometimes lead to strained relations in a nursing unit or intra-professional team. In these cases, it is vital that any conflict is resolved amicably so collaboration can continue unhampered moving forward.
Managing health conditions with collaboration in nursing
Whilst there are many key parts within nursing roles that help trained professionals provide the best care, collaboration is arguably the most important. Without the ability to work effectively with colleagues, trained nurses will not be able to share information properly or stay up to date with any amendments to treatment plans. If they are unable to communicate with patients well, they may not pick up on key insights on individual care that this could bring. It is, therefore, crucial that any nurse is able to collaborate effectively in order to manage health conditions properly.