A team consists of two or more people working together (Oxford University Press 2010). This could apply to many situations, however in a clinical setting a nurse must work effectively as part of a team (Nursing and Midwifery Council 2008). Anyone can work with another but if they are not working effectively, the benefits of a partnership are lost. The profits gained from working effectively as a team are indefinite, such as, finishing the task more quickly, (making a bed is easier with two rather than one), and combining strengths can make a better end result. Multidisciplinary teamwork is viewed as one of the key processes through which care is managed in the British National Health Service, and yet is often viewed as one of the most problematic (Alan Pearson 2006). Teamwork is considered difficult, as not all nurses have developed these skills. Beatrice J Kalisch (2005). This essay will therefore now explore team working in relation to the NMC code of conduct.
What does the NMC mean by stating a nurse must work effectively as part of a team?
The NMC divides up the section on teamwork into four parts to emphasise to the healthcare professionals what is expected of them.
“You must work cooperatively within teams and respect the skills, expertise and contributions of your colleagues” NMC (2008: p.4). This means that even though a nurse may not get on with his or her colleagues, socially or culturally, (other nurses, departments in the hospital, and patients and their families), a nurse must still have courtesy to listen to colleagues’ knowledge and opinions, as the nurse would expect them to listen and value the nurse’s own opinion. This creates a calm and safe working environment for the nurse and the patient. Beatrice J Kalisch (2005). The author’s positive experience of group work is that peers have listened to each other’s ideas and divided up each task to make the best use of the expertise in the group.
“You must be willing to share your skills and experience for the benefit of your colleagues” NMC (2008: p.4). When working together everyone has the potential to achieve more. From a student nurse’s perspective there are a number of ways that we can improve ourselves, if other healthcare professionals share their skills and knowledge. By actively learning from mentors, for instance, mentors show ways the individual mentor finds methods that work for the mentor in practise based on evidence. By talking to practice facilitators and more advanced students, students can learn from the mistakes of others and from techniques which are proven, and be more confident and ready to put successful processes into practise. In group work the members of the team have had different life experiences and different exposure to healthcare. Because of this individuals in the team have been able to share their skills and experiences to help and advise one another. This has given each of the team members more material to include in academic work and all other aspects of a nurses career.
“You must consult and take advice from colleagues when appropriate” NMC (2008: p.4). A nurse must be confident to work alone but know when they themselves need assistance in a task. As the qualified nurses’ code states, “acknowledge limitations of your competency”. Likewise, if a problem needs a third party to assess a situation, for instance, if the patient’s vital signs alter dramatically, then a more qualified nurse or a doctor must be informed. In the author’s group work the team split up each task and each team member had a part of the task to do, so each member of the team must use initiative to problem solve the part of the task.
“You must treat your colleagues fairly and without discrimination” NMC (2008: p.4). In the author’s group work, all the members of the group valued others’ opinions, and used ideas from all members of the group. At one point in the author’s group work, a member of the group took away the work to complete more