Empowering Nurses Through Collaboration

When it comes to your nursing job, are you a lone ranger? Do you ever hear yourself saying any of these statements:

“I can do it better myself.”

“I like MY way of doing things.”

“It’ll get done faster if I just go and do it myself.”

The truth is, going it alone can lead to overwork and burnout for you, and can create unnecessary stress and tension in your workplace. It can breed competition, fear, dishonesty, tunnel vision and inefficiency.

Does that sound familiar to you?

I know as nurses we tend to think we have to do it all ourselves and asking for help is a sign of weakness or that no one will help but by thinking this way you limit yourself and set yourself up for having a miserable day. I know, I’ve been there.

Back in my early years of nursing, in the big city hospital I got my first nursing job at, everyone went around doing there own thing, trying to get it all done before the next shift came on.

Where I worked, if you left something for the next shift to do, you heard about it the next day, “Why didn’t you do this and why didn’t you do that?”  It was a mentality of “every woman for herself” or ” I have too much to do and I can’t help you” or “Why can’t you get it done, everyone else can gets there work done on time, why can’t you?”

That was the culture I remember in my early years, as a new nurse.  Instead of working together and collaborating on how to improve our unit, and a long list of other things that weren’t right, we kept to ourselves and stayed quiet.

I’m happy to say I’ve  had much better experiences since leaving hospital nursing. I’ve been working oncology home care now for about 15 years and I work with a great bunch of nurses, doctors, therapists, office staff and more. This group knows the win win  collaboration brings to everyone involved. Without collaboration in home care my patients would dearly suffer and that’s not what any of us wants.

I’m also happy to see the online nursing community coming together in a BIG way to collaborate on improving the nursing profession by empowering nurses globally.  I love it!

Lori Brown, RN,  M.N.,  J.D.  recently held a free nursing telesummit, “5 Days To Nursing Empowerment”  This is a prefect example of collaboration. Lori  interviewed 9 extraordinary nurses whom I admire, asking them  how they got into nursing, what motivates them and their best advice for nurses, helping nurses create a successful mindset, find support, network and much much more.

If you haven’t listened to the recordings then head over there now – CLICK HERE – before they are no longer free. It’s uplifting, inspiring and very motivating, empowering  nurses and challenging us to come together for change.

How to Be a Good Collaborator

 1. Trust. Assume the best about people, and trust them with your head full of ideas. Have faith and remember that your collaborators want to do their best and feel good about their work at the end of the day. And trust the collaborative process, even when people do things differently than you would, and you can’t quite see how it will all come together, trust that it will and you’ll be amazed at the results.

2. Be trustworthy. Mahatma Ghandi said that we need to BE the change we want to see in the world. So if you want to trust people, be someone they can trust. Act with integrity, do what you say you’re going to do, and be open and honest in your communication.

3. Choose wisely. For each task that challenges you, there is someone who loves it and does it well. Build a team of experts. As an entrepreneur we know this works extremely well but it also can be done in a workplace setting. One example that comes to mind and I’ve done this at the agency I work for, is working with the IT department. They’re a great resource but you can also collaborate with them for changes in the charting process especially if you have an Informatics Nurse on staff.

Successful collaboration is a balancing act of personality types, work habits, communication styles and skills.I choose NOT to be the lone ranger, to many talented people out there I can collaborate with. In my opinion, being the long ranger is lonely and way too much trouble.

So before you limit your chance for success, why not open the door to other people’s skills and experience. Collaboration is a win-win solution with many benefits (that’s a topic for another post)

Strive to improve your performance, grow, learn and be successful in nursing and collaboration is that opportunity you don’t want to pass up. Now get out there and find someone to collaborate with!

Tina 🙂

P.S. This post was written as part of the Nurse Blog Carnival. If you are interested in participating find out more details and sign up here

11 thoughts on “Empowering Nurses Through Collaboration”

  1. Pingback: Nurse Collaboration: A Nurse Blogger Carnival!

  2. You make a great point. I can not tell you how many times I have offered to help someone with their assignment and the nurse refused. It is like nurses feel less than if they accept help! I think that it is a trust issue. Part of be a team is to collaborate and be willing to collaborate.

  3. Wow, great points Tina. I so can relate to the opening statements, having said them myself. Another favorite “I’m fine” when I am totally drowning.

    Collaboration is another way nurses can practice self-care. You point this out to us in your third point, about choosing carefully. We don’t need to collaborate with each and every ‘opportunity’ that comes our way. Being selective based on what serves us as authentic individuals will help us show up as true and trustworthy collaborators.

    Speaking from watching you online, I know that you have collaboration at heart. Thank you for a great article.

  4. Collaboration is a win-win situation as you point out. Just collaborating in this ‘Blog Carnival’ has made me meet lots of Amazing nurses online.
    Today, I was so busy at work with all my patients getting procedures done. When I got another admission, I thought I would faint, but one nurse offered to do the paperwork for me and before I realized it , all was done -and the shift was over. Whether it’s in business or at work, collaboration has its benefits.

  5. Oncology home care is a blessed nursing service. Requires much collaboration and TRUST. Huge!!! Being selective, I loved this point you made also applies to trust. We learn from trial and error. The biggest lesson in trust I learned was “learning to keep my mouth SHUT!” Yep. Asking myself before I speak, ” Is it kind, is it true, is it helpful?” Finally, your point about building a team of experts hits home. Experts you can trust:)
    I honor you as an expert in your mission, trust you and look forward to our continuing rewarding collaboration dear Tina!

    1. Thanks Annette! I definitely agree – TRUST and knowing when to keep your mouth shut 🙂 Great insight and collaborating with you ROCKS!

  6. My early years in hospital nursing were horrendous! However I had a terrific team and every night we pooled our thoughts and resources and made a plan to work together to get it all done.

    There was always that one person who resisted, but sometimes she would surprise us when things were really bad.

    We were always short-handed and they would always take one of our staff for some unit with half our needs. I was the only RN and most of our patients were 100% total care. It was like fighting a war each night. To say we left exhausted doesn’t even come close. But our patients were well cared for because we came together as a TEAM.

    Thanks for this post. I hope it helps others build teams to improve their patient care.

  7. Tina,
    I love that you have empowerment and collaboration in the same post.
    The best way to become empowered is to have support from others. One of the first lessons you learn as a nurse is that you don’t practice on an island. It always baffles me when I see that we sometimes forget this.

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