Understanding the Mechanics of a Nursing Team


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Participating in team work is a significant part of a nurse’s daily schedule. Understanding the way a team functions is essential. After all this can lead to better utilization of a team within any organization and further enhance the outcome. Nursing could certainly benefit from a high performing team after all, “teams make fewer mistakes than do individuals” (Miller, Riley, & Davis, 2009, p. 248).Therefore, steps need to be in place to make sure the teams are functioning at high capacity. One way to monitor the team’s success is to employ a team assessment questionnaire. The team questionnaire provides insight into the areas of the team that are functioning and addresses areas that may need redesign. The questionnaire ultimately provides direction for the team by utilizing thought provoking questions. When utilizing the questionnaire to evaluate the benefits of a team huddle. The questionnaire pointed to a deficiency in the area of roles while most of the other areas such as activities, relationships and, environment scored well; there was still opportunity for improvement. The purpose of this paper to evaluate the outcome of the team based on findings from the teamwork questionnaire.
A team consists of two or more individuals who come together for a common purpose (Baker, Day, & Sales, 2006). A recent team initiative called a huddle was instituted at my facility on several pilots units. These initial huddles proved to be successful and were implemented on my unit three weeks ago as a directive by our senior management. The huddle is a brief nursing team meeting that takes place several times a day and lasts about five to ten minutes. The huddle time will vary thought out the day in order to include all nursing shifts and personnel. Additionally, the huddles will consist of all available nurses on the unit and are led by the manager or charge nurse. The team huddles are documented in a binder and are available for all staff to review. This team initiative was implemented on the same day as a new admitting process occurred on the unit, so key goals of the team will be to disseminate information and discuss problems that hinder patient flow in the ambulatory surgery unit.
The most deficient area the team assessment yielded was in the roles category. Deficiencies would be fitting as huddles are a new concept during a critical transition. Members of the team as well as unit issues will vary on a daily basis, which can contribute to the uncertainty in the nurse’s roles and responsibilities.

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Furthermore, opportunity to reflect on the overall team’s effectiveness may also necessitate additional time beyond the ten minute team building effort. Although, a topic will be identified at the start of the huddle to define the team’s goals, there is no formal preparation on the part of the members. Not to mention no ancillary personnel are in attendance .This could have an impact on why some staff members are contributing more than others. Since, unit leadership initiated the huddle as mandate by senior leadership there may not have been complete by in to the process initially. Finally, implementing new teams models may bring skepticism about the importance of the team’s agenda
The activity portion generated the most success on the team assessment with new ideas and efficiency ranking high. This was evident during one huddle when nurses discussed the best way to document beta blocker compliance, since the timing of the medication was crucial for anesthesia. Additionally, timely discussions and quicker decision making were a benefit of the short meeting time. There was just one incident where the manager may have used the huddle as a platform for policy discussion. Although, this information was important another forum may have been more appropriate. Overall team members have made a concerted effort to focus on the unit’s goals of improving communication and patient flow.
Relationships scored well in the area of productivity. Most member of the team has been working with one another for a considerable amount of time. Effective interaction and commitment have long been established. The fact that the teams meet for short period of time does not always allow for positive feedback and may present as a challenge for discussing complicated topics that require more time. Additionally, the location of the team being held in an open area can impact how sensitive issues are handled.
The general environment also proved to do well in the area of productivity. Individual nurses have been discussing new ideas especially in the area of unit design. The central focus of the unit has allowed many members of the team to look at ways to facilitate patient flow. In one of the huddles a nurse felt that better unit design could enhance work flow and alleviate frustration if the post operative patients were assigned to different cubicles and nurses were in closer proximity. This was met with positive reception and will be taken into consideration during the coming week. Again time constraints and the speed of patient flow do not allow for individual recognition and can often be over shadowed by always looking for ways to improve.
Overall, I feel the team is well-functioning during this transition phase. The fact the members of the team have had a stable work history can have a profound effect on outcomes. Established membership and constant leadership are prime ingredients for consistent and safe care (Miller, Riley, & Davis, 2009) Longevity in itself is not the sole reason for team camaraderie. Other key points are that the team has identified the physical distant of the nurses as barrier to impeding patient flow. According to Kalisch, Weaver, & Salas ( 2009) serious communication disconnects have occurred as a direct result of geographical issues In this case nurses on this team want to work together to achieve success which reflects in their thinking Additional consideration for the team needs to made on how relationships interrelate with others. A shared mental model where all members recognize and articulate a common understanding of the problem is critical to a good functioning team (Riley, Davis, Miller,McCullough 2010). Perhaps including all vital healthcare workers in the huddles can help clarify information concerning the team member’s work load and address vital patient information. This kind of closed-loop communication has been established as an important feature of a successful team (Kalisch, Weaver, & Salas, 2009). This can better help define the roles and responsibilities on the unit. Finally, leadership needs to continue their commitment to the team for often the bonds are formed by their support.
Teams are formulated regularly without much consideration of the skills that go into the overall development. Like any other nursing proficiency teamwork requires skills that must be developed, cultivated and evaluated to promote and improve the process. I need to remain focused on the common goals and keep in mind teams are collaboration. Additionally, the team huddles have proven to be a successful tool when executing a new process. I need to embrace this overall success because not all teams have such a strong foundation. Theses team huddles should work in conjunction with the other unit teams to improve quality of care.
In conclusion teams are an essential part of the nursing design. Utilizing the initiatives that will enhance team effectives is imperative. Team assessments have shown to a beneficial tool that can provide direction for any team. The need for evaluation needs to be on going as team are developing and moving forward each day.




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