There are many skills that nurses are going to need as they get into the medical world and as they become more advanced within it. Many of these skills will be learned as they take on their education or focus on learning on the job. However, some skills can’t be learned in a traditional manner and setting.
One of these skills is professional collaboration. This skill is handy as nurses advance in the medical world because they will work with many other doctors, nurses, and professionals. But why is professional collaboration so crucial for nurses, and how do you start to build those skills? Here’s what you need to know!
What is professional collaboration?
Professional collaboration is when people work together in a one-on-one, small group, or large team toward a common goal that leads to career success. Professional partnership is when people acknowledge one another’s expertise and professionalism, respect one another, and are focused on a shared goal.
Knowing who brings what to the table and how each person can contribute their shared knowledge is essential. These skills are going to help nurses solve problems and also increase the health of their patients. Professional collaboration is essential, not just in the beginning stages when you first learn to work as part of a team with the staff members around you, but also whenever you continue to climb the medical ranks as a nurse and start to work with more people on larger projects.
So, how do you start learning the skills you need to become a better professional collaborator?
The skills you need to bring to the group
First, don’t be afraid to learn about yourself. Before you can actively work with others and ensure that your skills are an excellent fit for the group and solving problems, you need to know what those skills are. So, don’t be afraid to dive deeply into yourself and understand your strengths and weaknesses. What are you good at, and how can those skills benefit your colleagues? What skills do you lack, and what can you do to improve them? For the areas in which you are the weakest, can you work with a teammate who possesses those skills and get some support?
Additionally, focus on your communication skills. Don’t be afraid to figure out where you have communication trouble and try to improve at it. Being able to talk, debate, answer questions, and defend your position on various subjects, especially with those who disagree with you, is a skill that can be very hard to master. However, it is an essential part of collaboration because you might not agree with everyone you work with or the plan certain group members have laid out.
Sharing and support
Not every idea that someone floats around will be great, but this doesn’t make the person who suggested it any less valid. Being able to share ideas and suggestions, especially regarding a patient’s health, is something every nurse needs to do because sometimes, getting a picture from a different angle can lead to a breakthrough.
Creating a collaborative environment where ideas can be shared, heard, and debated can be extremely difficult, but it will be a valuable resource once you manage. Supporting your fellow nurses is another excellent benefit of having a team and the ability to collaborate. Every nurse knows how hard the job can be sometimes, as long hours, stressful days, tragedies, and more can take their toll on them.
However, supporting other nurses and ensuring they can be heard and seen can be extremely helpful and excellent use of your skills.
Learn how to collaborate, communicate, and coordinate
As a nurse, you might be used to working under a doctor or even going solo in your practice, where you aren’t doing much else with a team of people like you. You might be used to doing everything on your own and don’t see the need to have any additional help. While this can work sometimes, it can be hard to make that attitude work as a member of a team.
Being able to communicate effectively can be a tricky skill to learn if you are used to being alone and don’t need to share with anyone. However, communication is the bedrock on which good teams are built, and you need to ensure you know how to communicate positively. It is OK to make requests of your team members, check for updates, and ask for help, but you want to ensure that you keep the relationships with your fellow nurses positive.
This also leads to coordination as you all attempt to bring care to the patient and use your skills. Coordinating treatments and systems means the patient can get the best care without the different treatments potentially contradicting one another. As the nurses in the team continue to work together, they will learn to collaborate better, leading to better results for all.
Understanding the benefits of collaboration
Now that you know what skills you will use when you collaborate with people, you need to understand why you must collaborate with others as a nurse. Working as part of a team and getting to know your fellow nurses has many benefits, and understanding them is essential.
First, teamwork in nursing allows your patients to be treated better and understood better by the nurses. By having a team that is dedicated to providing high-quality care for the patients, they will see much better results in terms of their health. Additionally, nurses involved in a team are much more invested in patient care. This quality care will make the patients more likely to be invested in their health.
Additionally, having several nurses working together on one patient or in a small group reduces the risk of mistakes. Medication errors, improperly assigned therapies or procedures, and delays in treatment can all occur and can easily lead to problems for both the patient and the nurses taking care of them. With fewer errors and better care, everyone can be happier and healthier!
Working as a team reduces stress.
We all know that nursing can be a stressful job that can take quite a lot out of people, and sometimes, as a nurse, it can feel like the days never end, and the workload only gets heavier and heavier. However, when you have a team that works with you and can help you carry the load and remind you that you are not alone, you can feel better about your work and enjoy the world of nursing.
Also, getting to know the other nurses on your team, floor, shift, and wing can be fun. All of these nurses are working just as hard as you and need some support just as you do, so don’t be afraid to reach out and make some connections because your health is just as important.
How to improve your personal collaboration skills
Professional collaboration is essential. It can benefit both the nurses and the patients they work with, and it will likely continue to be extremely important as time goes on. However, if you don’t have any personal collaboration skills, how do you improve them? Like any skill, it just takes practice and a willingness to step outside your comfort zone.
For starters, talk to the nurses around you. Don’t be afraid to go and sit and eat lunch with someone, speak to the person you pass in the hall every day, or reach out and start a support group. If you have been assigned to a professional collaboration by someone above you, then be proactive and reach out to your fellow nurses and see what they are like.
Another great way to ensure that your professional collaboration skills are being practiced is to work with people different from you. Studying an online Master of Science in Nursing Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner – or an online MSN-AGPCNP – is an excellent option for nurses wanting to become more specialized in their field. With a growing aging population, AGPCNPs are in high demand to provide patient-centered care, manage chronic conditions, and provide flexibility for balancing education with other commitments, making this specialization accessible to a broader range of students.
Learn to be an active listener.
While being a professional collaborator and team member is all about talking, communicating, and giving orders, you must also learn to be an active listener. Active listening is less about waiting for the other person to finish so that you can say what you want and more about hearing what that person is saying and adding to the conversation.
This will be especially helpful when dealing with patients because you need to make sure they feel heard. Your patient might have things they want to say or wish to discuss about the procedures they are getting, and if you can actively listen to your patient, you can make sure that they feel heard. You can work together to ensure that the care they are getting is satisfactory to you both.
Also, active listening is a great skill for you to use with other nurses, mainly if a disagreement occurs. So many arguments happen simply because one side refuses to listen to the other. However, with active listening, both sides of a conflict can learn to listen to and respect one another’s viewpoint, even if they disagree.
Take on accountability
Finally, don’t be afraid to take on accountability when working with a team. It can be straightforward to shift the blame, blame other team members, or otherwise pass the buck because you don’t want to accept the responsibility of messing up. However, getting accountability, taking the mistake or the issue on the chin, and then moving on and doing better next time can be very freeing for many people. The problem can then be resolved, and they can return to focusing on the patient.
Professional collaboration will be a skill used for every job in the world, but it will also be essential for nurses. Learning how to be a part of a team and how to speak to and handle your teammates will be very important. It might take some practice, but it will eventually become second nature to you! You will then be able to focus on the rest of your career!