Build a Nursing Team You Can Be Proud OfHealthcare Doesn’t Happen in a Vacuum

Although we all have had days where we feel as though we are the only one at work getting anything done, let’s be honest. No one can work in healthcare alone.

In fact, I was at a conference last fall and heard one of the speakers talk on the topic of individual strengths nurses possess. He made that point that healthcare is people working with people to do things to and help other people. It’s a very people oriented career.

Not All Teams Created Are Equal

Being a nurse is like playing on a team sport. I used to play sports growing up, actually. I had “good” teams and “bad” teams. What do I mean by this?

Well, we had a really amazing team one year in soccer. My coach was a bit of a tyrant. At the immediate time, I am not sure we really even liked him. He made us run our butts off. He had us polish our cleats. We had to show up hours early for games and if we lost… well, I won’t even go there. But heck. We wound up having a winning season, going to playoffs, and even sticking together on non-school sport teams. I actually grew to really be fond of that coach over time.


On the other hand, there was THE team. We had really great players, yet not much leadership. The coach did not have any experience and took over in a year when we should have won the entire thing. I mean all star players returning. Our bench (this was basketball) now was stacked. Yet this coach did not know who to play when or how to run a drill. It wound up being a miserable season where we barely broke the halfway mark in terms of wins and losses.

Build a Nursing Team You Are Proud Of

Those scenarios above have a lot to do with our team’s coach. And sure, the coach IS important to team success. Which is why good management is super important.

However, there are also other things that go into making a good team great. And the fact is- working in healthcare, you are going to find yourself working in a team! With providers, ancillary support, non-licensed professionals, family members, religious professionals… you name it. The team’s the limit!

So what can we do to make our nursing team great?

[bctt tweet=”Here Are 3 Techniques to Build a Nursing Team You Are Proud Of” username=”ElizabethScala”]

Build a Nursing Team You Can Be Proud Of1. Handle Conflict Accordingly.

Pam Broyles, DNP, RN, an expert on team communication and conflict describes how she does not even like or feel comfortable in conflict. I mean… I am with you, Pam! Who would? She suggests that we use the good old nursing process to handle conflict with colleagues.

Assess the situation. What caused a conflict and who was involved? Is the conflict something that can be addressed immediately or do you need time to cool down? A proactive way to be a team member is to avoid reactivity. Think about your thoughts, feelings, and actions before you blow up at your teammate.

The key to a successful team is one that can have a conflict and then smoothly handle the situation to a positive outcome.

2. Find & Be a Mentor.

This is a two-part whammy! Louise Jakubik, PhD, RN-BC, CSP has conducted extensive research on the subject of mentoring in nursing. She suggests that nurses find mentors and become mentors to other nurses.

When we are part of a team, we are not alone. We need to interact with, problem solve, and likely receive help from our colleagues and teammates. Who better to learn from then a mentor you look up to? And why not give back? If you are a successful nurse enjoying positive experiences in your nursing career… find a newer nurse that you can mentor through the teammate process.

3. Branch Outside of Nursing.

Teams are all over healthcare. Some are solely nursing teams while others have members from a variety of disciplines. Where I have worked, in nursing research, there were even community members, past patients, and volunteers on some of our teams.

Greer Glazer, RN, CNP, PhD, FAANr is an expert on leadership and interdisciplinary teams. Her experience is interesting in that she brings both the academic and clinical perspectives together. Not only does Greer speak about the changes that need to happen in the clinical settings of healthcare, but she brings up examples of how furthering one’s education can shape up a really awesome team.

  • Talk to people at work.
  • Network with professionals both in your discipline and outside of it.
  • Get as much clinical experience as you can.
  • And never stop learning.

These are many of the things that will have you show up as the best teammate that you can be!

Let’s hear from you! What do you think about building effective teams in healthcare? Have you ever taken steps to improve the teams you find yourself on? What did you do to build nursing teams that you were proud of? Leave a comment and thank you for reading.

Elizabeth Scala, MSN/MBA, RNAbout the Author: Keynote speaker and virtual conference host, Elizabeth Scala MSN/MBA, RN, partners with hospitals, nursing schools, and nurse associations to transform the field of nursing from the inside out. As the bestselling author of ‘Nursing from Within’, Elizabeth guides nurses and nursing students to a change in perspective, helping them make the inner shift needed to better maneuver the sometimes challenging realities of being a caregiver. Elizabeth received her dual master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University. She is also a certified coach and Reiki Master Teacher. Elizabeth lives in Maryland with her supportive husband and playful pit bull.