1. Hader, Richard RN, CHE, CPHQ, NE, BC, PhD, FAAN, Editor-in-Chief

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Often we become so focused on attaining goals that we grow shortsighted and forget about the supportive personnel who help us succeed. Whether it be an administrative assistant, a patient care associate, an environmental service technician, or other healthcare colleague, it's imperative we cultivate an environment that promotes teamwork to enhance our ability to achieve common goals. The task of providing quality patient care has become increasingly complex and requires the skills and commitment of many to be successful. Each member of the team brings to the business unit specific knowledge and abilities, and when these skills are aggregated, it provides both a foundation and a framework to ensure success. If the contributions of all team members aren't appropriately appreciated and recognized, interpersonal conflict may arise and camaraderie may erode.


Working in healthcare is associated with a considerable amount of stress. Excessive workloads, coupled with competing clinical, environmental, and administrative priorities, may cause team members within one job classification to complain about those working in other positions. Many leaders find themselves in the role of referee between professional and ancillary staff because either or both of these groups don't feel that the other is assuming their share of the workload. When this type of situation isn't handled appropriately, it can lead to a fragmentation in care delivery and failure of a system that relies on the skills of many to achieve success.

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As the leader, you must ensure that each team member possesses a full knowledge of the various position duties and role responsibilities within the department. Armed with this understanding, team members will gain a greater respect for the skills of their colleagues, which may encourage them to offer help and support during challenging situations.


You must also educate nurses regarding how, what, and when to delegate. When seeking the assistance of others, requests should be made by using appropriate tone, common manners, and effective language such as "please" and "thank you." These simple words translate into placing a high value on the service being requested while simultaneously providing recognition for completing the work. Tasks should only be delegated if they're within the scope and skill of those being asked to complete them. If someone hasn't been educated regarding a particular skill or if it's outside their comfort zone, it's unreasonable to believe that they'll be effective in completing the task. Delegation should only be done when there's a mutual understanding between both parties regarding the skill required and an appropriate outcome. In addition, those who support nurses must be educated on how to be proactive and anticipate a nurse's needs. Ancillary team members shouldn't wait for continuous direction. Routine collaboration will strengthen synergy and build mutual confidence between team members.


When recognizing the accomplishments of the nursing staff, remember to acknowledge those who've helped them achieve success. Role modeling the manner in which you recognize team members will be influential in fostering a culture that values the contributions of all.


Richard Hader