The demand for nurse practitioners has gradually increased over the last decades. A few of the reasons for this include the rising population, patients having increased expectations, enhanced care with high reliability and safety, the changing healthcare industry landscape, a focus on value-based care, and the looming physician shortage. Nurse practitioners work in hospitals, clinics, care homes, and many other locations as individuals and members of dedicated medical care teams.
The shift of focus to value-based healthcare requires a team of nursing practitioners and other professionals working together to provide the best, most cost-efficient healthcare for patients.
Increasing demand for healthcare
Nurse practitioners can compensate for the shortage of physicians to some extent, and patients are becoming aware of the value they add to their treatment. The increased use of nurse practitioner teams and others is a strategy to address this shortage of primary health doctors and provide primary healthcare access to larger numbers.
Nursing practitioner teams are already recognized, are practicing in clinics, hospitals, care homes, and other settings, successfully bringing a substantial boost in providing healthcare and better patient outcomes.
Increasing number of nurse practitioners
The number of nurse practitioners worldwide has grown substantially over the last 20 years. Nurse practitioners are the providers of choice for millions of patients. Current provider shortages, especially in primary care, are a growing concern, yet the growth of the nurse practitioner role is addressing that concern head-on. Better patient satisfaction levels indicate patients’ faith in nurse practitioner-provided healthcare. Both healthcare facilities and patients are discovering the value that nurse practitioner teams bring to the healthcare system.
Teamwork in nursing and healthcare
The increasingly complex health sector today requires the coordination of multidisciplinary teams working harmoniously. Any breakdown in the system affects patient outcomes, from a patient’s intake to evaluation to treatment and follow-up. Teamwork in nursing is fundamental for maintaining a positive and healthy work environment, and it also helps improve the delivery of quality patient care. The idea of team-based care has been affirmed by associations of nurse practitioners in different countries. These associations identify the key elements of teamwork as communication, coordination, and cooperation. An effective healthcare system consists of teams centered on the patient, with shared goals and responsibility for measurable patient outcomes.
As a nurse practitioner, it’s important to have a strong foundation in clinical knowledge and skills, as well as an understanding of the roles and responsibilities of different care team members. Family nurse practitioner (FNP) programs are designed to provide this comprehensive education and prepare nurses for the complex healthcare landscape. Accredited FNP programs from reputable universities such as Rockhurst University are perfect for nurses looking to advance their skills and knowledge. It gives them a solid foundation to work collaboratively with other healthcare professionals. With a deep understanding of clinical knowledge and skills, patient-centered care, and effective communication strategies, nurse practitioners can work seamlessly with the care team to provide optimal patient healthcare outcomes.
The importance of teamwork and collaboration in nursing
Quality patient care is the highest priority in nursing. People and medical facilities should work harmoniously for patients to receive the best possible care at the healthcare facility. The medical facilities include hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, operating theaters, diagnostics labs, etc. The people responsible for providing the best healthcare include doctors, specialists, nurses, and other staff, and each should play their roles effectively. In inpatient care, nurses or nurse practitioners serve as a bridge between patients, doctors, other staff, and the infrastructure facilities.
Effective teamwork in healthcare delivery brings an immediate and positive impact on patients and helps minimize the occurrence of adverse events caused by errors in both communication and the understanding of defined professional roles. Teamwork is critical for nurse practitioners. They need to communicate with multiple teams of different professionals and other staff teams about patients’ treatment while also understanding the role assigned to each team/team member.
To provide the best treatment and care to the patients, nurse practitioners must maintain the collaboration between multidisciplinary teams and coordination between the members of each team. To achieve this, the following teamwork and collaboration principles must be followed. Teamwork is the efforts within a team to deliver the highest-quality and most efficient results. Regardless of the size of the facility, both teamwork and collaboration within teams are important for the success of healthcare. The components of successful teamwork include:
- Clear and defined team goals.
- Clear and defined team roles and team members’ roles.
- Open communication.
- Respectful atmosphere.
- Clear specifications regarding authority and accountability.
- Shared responsibility.
- Mechanism to evaluate outcomes and adjust.
Teamwork in nursing empowers every team member to take accountability for certain aspects of the patient’s care. Clear and concise communication between the teams and team members helps in working toward the same goal.
Common healthcare goals for improving patient care include providing quick responses, reducing wait times, and delivering quality care. Team goals stipulate a focused objective for every team member that fosters team unity, avoids confusion, creates a clear role, and boosts patients’ recovery progress.
Roles for teams and nurse practitioners within teams
Team goals are defined, and roles within individual teams are assigned to avoid duplication of efforts, bridge gaps, save time and improve the safety of patients.
Nurse practitioners interact with many healthcare professionals, both within their teams and across departments. Nurses understand the need to collaborate with interdisciplinary teams, where each team and team member brings their expertise to the team to provide the best possible healthcare. Each team member must comprehend their responsibilities and expectations to achieve the team goal.
Nurses interact with many people, from patients to practitioners to healthcare teams. They must therefore have active listening and communication skills.
Effective team communication is important to team operations and to build team cohesion and efficiency. Improper communication leads to poor patient care and dissatisfaction at every level.
Mutual respect within teams and team members is crucial for healthcare teams. Mutual respect across teams and in team members comes through an understanding that each individual’s work is important for the team’s success. Team members who feel that they are not respected in the team can become counterproductive for the team’s goals, show a lack of engagement with the team, or work on other agendas.
Shared responsibility, authority, and accountability
Nursing teamwork success depends on shared responsibility with authority and accountability. Effective teamwork and collaboration in nursing exist with a clear understanding of defined roles and open communication. It is important that nurses listen to team members’ concerns, work within the defined authority, and be accountable for the consequences of every action. If any conflicts arise, proactive conflict resolution in the early stages helps to maintain respect and faith between teams and team members.
Nurse practitioners work with high-level patient care teams
Nurse practitioners play a key role in organizing the patient care workflow to create a positive experience and, ultimately, high-quality care. Nurse practitioners’ work requires them to work with technicians, registration clerks, physicians, medical departments, housekeeping staff, management, and other healthcare organizations, in addition to other nurse practitioners, to provide the best possible care to patients whether in hospitals, clinics, ICUs, nursing homes, old age care homes or any other setting. Every nurse practitioner working in a team should build trust and relationships with the team members and other teams.
The healthcare teams, regardless of size, will consist of professionals or service providers who contribute to the treatment and recovery of patients. The healthcare teams could be multidisciplinary, intradisciplinary, interdisciplinary or super specialty. Typical members of different healthcare teams include nurse practitioner, physician, doctor and specialist, physiotherapist, occupational therapist, social worker, manager, office staff, technician, housekeeping staff, and other healthcare personnel.
Various possible teams with or without one or more nurse practitioners as members are the clinical care team, primary healthcare team, surgical care team, ICU team, post-hospitalization recovery team, and disaster healthcare team.
Benefits of patient care teams
Nurse practitioners can create and lead patient care teams to deliver patient-centered care in every healthcare setting. These teams offer improved coordination of patient care, efficient utilization of healthcare resources and services, shorter and fewer hospitalizations, and faster recovery. They also reduce medical errors and increase patient safety. They offer better compliance with patient treatment plans and enhanced patient satisfaction levels.
A patient care team should consist of at least two people interacting in a dynamic and interdependent relationship to provide the best care for the patients. The team members should have open, effective communication and share responsibility, accountability, and authority for high-quality teamwork. The absence of high-quality teamwork leads to poor patient outcomes, medical errors, poor safety, and increased healthcare costs.
Healthcare teams also bring various professional advantages to nurse practitioners, including increased job satisfaction, higher productivity, decreased levels of stress and burnout, and support for new entrants to nursing.
Personal values of team members
The teams that nurse practitioners work in must exhibit the following personal values for high-level patient care team success.
This is the most important value for team members to carry out their roles and responsibilities. The discipline of team members allows teams to develop and abide by standards and protocols while finding ways to improve. Team members share all new information to enhance individual and team functioning.
Honesty is critical for maintaining the necessary mutual trust for the smooth functioning of the team. Effective open communication among the team members strongly inculcates honesty and transparency around objectives, resolutions, uncertainty, and mistakes.
Human errors are inevitable, and team members with differences in expertise, training, and experience must recognize this and should not believe that one is superior to another. That is, team members should have humility. It is important that while working in a team, members rely on and help each other, regardless of the hierarchy.
The nursing profession is motivated by a caring attitude toward the needy. The team members should be compassionate toward their patients and their team members.
Team members must always cooperate when tackling new problems or emergencies. They should view their or others’ errors as valuable learning opportunities and always help each other in difficult situations.
Team members should learn new lessons from their and team members’ daily activities. They should use these to continuously improve their individual work and the team’s functioning as a whole.
Principles of high-level patient care teams
For developing a high-level patient care team, several principles should be followed.
Each team should have a leader with defined leadership roles and responsibilities. The leader must facilitate, support and coach the team members and be a role model.
High-functioning teams prioritize communication and consistently seek ways to improve these skills among all members.
Team members should develop trust in each other and learn to respect team members, understand each other’s opinions, and have an open mind in reaching consensus decisions.
The team should have shared goals that are known to all members, and all members should work for the defined team’s purpose. This encompasses patient and family goals, as well as shared interest and ownership, including the defined role of each team member.
Team members should regularly review progress, performance, successes, and failures and collect feedback from all stakeholders. An objective review enables improvement in the team’s processes and identifies needs for the team.
Promoting teamwork in nursing and healthcare
Nurse practitioners, including FNPs, are increasingly recognized for providing quality patient care. As holistic caregivers, they are adept at promoting teamwork in nursing by recognizing the valuable contribution areas of each team member and building trust and respect within the team.
A simple healthcare team may be a medical clerk, a nurse practitioner, and a primary care provider. Depending on needs, this team may call for a therapist, dietitian, pharmacist, or specialist. For critical patients, teams may include differently experienced nurses, doctors from different specialties, technicians, social workers, and other healthcare professionals. Each team member contributes to the patient’s care and adds to the patient’s experience. When members work in sync, there is improved patient care and other positive outcomes, including higher workplace satisfaction.
Impact of teamwork on nursing
Promoting teamwork in nursing is essential for improving patient outcomes. Nurse practitioners form the frontline of healthcare and impact every aspect of the patient’s journey to becoming healthy, and they are more effective when working in teams. The critical nature of teamwork in today’s context is more significant to meet the ambition of delivering quality patient care through patient-focused teams. Teamwork in nursing stresses the team’s goals that guide the team members in an integrated way, with each team member contributing unique skills and strengths.
In maintaining safety for patients in healthcare settings, including outpatient care, physician’s offices or medical clinics, nurse practitioner teams work to avoid factors that may cause harm to patients. Diagnostic and surgical errors, delays in treatment, inappropriate therapies and miscommunication during shift changes are particularly high risk for patients. Nurse practitioner teams reduce the risk of errors, including those happening in medical records and treatment plans.
- All-inclusive care
Nurse practitioner teams promote the wellness of patients through holistic care by supporting the entire patient experience. The nurse practitioner addresses the patient’s body, mind, and spirit, and works as a connecting point for all caregivers. Teams work to treat the whole person emotionally as well as physically, resulting in better outcomes.
- Organized care
An important factor in effective teamwork in nursing is organized care. Organized care requires each team member to play their role effectively and efficiently. Multi-faceted teamwork is crucial for patients with injuries, co-occurring conditions, or intensive care needs, and can promote interprofessional teamwork.
- Intensive care
An ICU patient’s treatment will involve several specialists depending on the type of illness, such as neurologists, cardiologists, and therapists. The treatment will also require care by a nursing team to support and boost the care at each step. Intensive care settings rely on teams of nurses and other ICU staff working together. Nursing practitioners provide round-the-clock bedside care, monitor vital signs and symptoms, and respond to patient needs. They evaluate information collected from the monitoring devices and administer prescribed medication or other treatments. They also coordinate the work of other staff and specialists and keep tabs on the knowledge and context to help other team members.
Teamwork and collaboration in nursing are essential. To be an effective team member or team leader, nurse practitioners must show their character, skills, abilities, strengths, humility, empathy, and cooperativeness. Such nurse practitioners work successfully in teams in clinics, hospitals, care homes, and other healthcare settings. Many advanced educational programs in nursing enable students to learn teamwork and collaborative skills.