Showing up to work does not mean that you are gifted a neatly wrapped patient assignment. The same goes for your coworkers. What may seem like the smooth sailing assignment can easily shift to the assignment from hell. Working as a team is essential on any unit. No one person can possibly manage an emergency alone, sudden unexpected admission alone, or the sick call that leaves the unit short staffed. It is the strength of many that keeps the unit running.
Ask for Help
When in need, ask. Ask your coworker to hang a new bag of fluids for you or turn your other patient. Asking for help will free you to focus on the more critical task at hand. Every nurse needs help at some point. You will be able to return the favor in no time.
What tasks can be easily delegated? If you have a patient whose condition is deteriorating, this is your priority. Delegate routine tasks for your more stable patients. Who can help? Another nurse or a nursing assistant?
When a nurse offers to help you in some way, accept the help. Do not feel like you have to do everything yourself. The ego sometimes takes over and refuses help even when it is needed most. Set ego aside and accept any assistance that is offered to you.
On the flipside, don’t just sit and watch as your coworker scrambles. Offer your help. You will be on the receiving end in no time. A little help can make all the difference in your coworker’s shift and will not go unnoticed.
Be sure when asking for help, that you take the time to clearly explain what you need. Stop and think before walking away. It is easy to get flustered when you have too many tasks at hand, but it is important to take the time to communicate effectively what you need done for your patient. Taking the time will ensure that no vital information is missed.
Trust that when you have delegated a task to someone, that the task will be done. This can be tough for those who want to try to do everything without any help. Trust is an important part of team building.
If your coworker helps you with an admission or a deteriorating patient, be sure to thank them when the dust has settled. Acknowledging that your coworker took some time out of his or her likely busy shift will be long remembered and appreciated.
It has taken me years to be the nurse that asks for help and delegates. Asking for help and delegating was not my strong suit. I preferred to try to do everything myself. With experience I learned that asking for help is not a weakness. It builds trust and confidence between coworkers and ultimately a stronger team.
Lori is a travel nurse that has made her way to Sweden. She is also a Yoga Alliance Certified Yoga Teacher. Follow her adventures working and traveling through Europe in her blog, Neonurse, or on Instagram.