Nursing and Collaboration: How Nurses Facilitate Teamwork

 A team of nurses discusses a patient’s treatment plan.
A team of nurses discusses a patient’s treatment plan.

Teamwork is vital in healthcare delivery, where collaboration can increase workflow efficiency, reduce the chance of errors and improve patient outcomes. Because they play such a direct role in patient care coordination, nurses can be central to fostering effective collaboration, acting as a conduit to keep different departments and healthcare professionals informed on a patient’s progress and direction. For those seeking out an advanced nursing role, leadership skills that foster nursing collaboration can make a career in nursing even more rewarding.

The Role of a Nurse 

Nurses provide patient care in settings including hospitals, clinical offices, schools, senior living homes and private physician practices. The specific type of care they provide can depend on their level of expertise. Registered nurses (RNs) collaborate with physicians and other medical professionals treating patients. Advanced practice nurses such as nurse practitioners (NP) can also diagnose and treat patient conditions, help patients develop proactive health strategies and write prescriptions in states that offer full practice and prescriptive authority. 

Whatever their level or specialty, nurses all strive to ensure that patients receive the best care possible. This involves developing essential skills that translate across different nursing roles, including communication, organization and critical thinking. These skills are fundamental to a nurse’s ability to contribute to a collaborative healthcare environment. 

What Is Healthcare Collaboration?

The basic definition of healthcare collaboration is when at least two healthcare professionals work together to develop an optimal patient care strategy. These collaborations often involve multiple components of healthcare. 

Any combination of physicians, nurses, pharmacists, physical therapists and clinical professionals — can work together to create the best plan possible. Collaboration requires clear communication to keep everyone involved in the treatment process informed on every aspect of care, including patient history, current treatment strategies and any changes to a patient’s health. 

Collaborative healthcare offers several benefits. The different perspectives involved in collaborative care can lead to care delivery innovation, more efficient care in the form of fewer and less repetitive tests and less potential for medical errors. Collaborative oversight can also improve regulatory compliance, lower healthcare costs and improve patient satisfaction and outcomes. 

Healthcare Collaboration in Nursing

Nursing collaboration plays a vital role in the process because nurses are often the primary point of contact between patients and their medical teams. They obtain and track information from vital signs to health assessments and are in a unique position to advocate for patients when working with other medical care providers.

Collaboration in nursing doesn’t solely involve a nurse reporting information to a physician or a clinical professional. It also involves collaborating with other nursing colleagues to ensure that necessary information is shared and accurate. This process requires leadership skills and a strong, mindful approach to nurse team building

There are many ways that nurses can facilitate collaboration in healthcare settings, both within and outside of their units. A 2023 study by Collegian outlines some of the main categories of collaboration for nurses. These categories are:

  • Togetherness. Collaborating for a common goal while still centering patient wellbeing.
  • Collegiality. Working together with respect for all colleagues. 
  • Leadership. Facilitating teamwork as a manager or leader. 

  • Communication. Promoting clarity and understanding among and between teams.

  • Support. Helping other colleagues with various tasks.
  • Knowledge. Sharing relevant information, issues and skills with colleagues. 

Collaboration can yield a host of benefits for nurses. A 2019 Nursing Open Study found that “good collaboration among nurses is associated with higher job satisfaction, lower intent to leave and better quality of care.” The study also found that effective verbal communication and peer encouragement can create a supportive environment and help nurses recognize how important their work is, which can increase both job satisfaction and motivation. 

Help Create Collaborative Healthcare

Nursing collaboration requires strong nurse leaders to lead the charge. Spring Arbor University’s online Master of Science in Nursing – Nurse Practitioner program can help you develop into a nurse clinician leader who makes a difference in care delivery. 

Our curriculum is designed to help you develop expertise in the nuances of nurse leadership, such as moral and ethical decision-making, philosophical nursing practice theory and interdisciplinary care delivery partnerships — all crucial to collaborative care strategies that benefit patients.

Find out how Spring Arbor University can prepare you to grow personally, professionally and spiritually and make an impact in a critical field. 

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