- Clinical teamwork has been key in fighting COVID-19
- The role of the CNO is essential in establishing and maintaining clinical teamwork and collaboration
- Role-based communication is critical for effective clinical teamwork
More than a year ago, the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services declared the COVID-19 pandemic a public health emergency. Since then, one thing stands out: Teamwork and clinical collaboration have never been more critical to care delivery.
Research shows that effective teamwork has been key in the battle against COVID-19. After all, responding to the global pandemic has demanded an “all hands on deck” approach to patient care. And, as healthcare organizations continue to battle COVID-19 and focus on the future, that same teamwork approach will be essential.
Within that teamwork, the role of the nurse is critical. Not only because nurses provide the majority of patient care, but because they have expertise and experience that is unique and essential to any healthcare strategy.
As healthcare leaders look to continue strong teamwork established during the pandemic, they are best suited to lean on their Chief Nursing Officer to model organizational expectations.
The Role of The CNO is Critical to Effective Clinical Teamwork
The Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) role is vital in building and maintaining effective teamwork.
“Elevated emphasis on patient-centered care has brought an increased awareness of teamwork in healthcare,” writes Carol Davis, nursing editor at HealthLeaders, continuing, “the chief nursing officer (CNO) plays a critical role in establishing and maintaining an effective teamwork culture.“
In an effective clinical teamwork environment, the CNO can encourage and model clear communication. Additionally, the CNO is uniquely positioned to understand and convey the importance of each team member’s roles and responsibilities. Too often, teamwork breaks down due to a lack of this understanding – and a lack of appreciation for the responsibilities of each unique role.
As stated by Sophia L. Thomas, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC, PPCNP-BC, FNAP, FAANP, president of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, “The hallmarks of effective teams—from players on a soccer field to the multiple disciplinary professionals in the ICU—is mutual respect and communication.”
CNOs, and nurse leaders in general, can be advocates for this level of teamwork. Additionally, they can advocate for nurses when teamwork breaks down due to factors such as silos that making collaborating with their physician counterparts difficult.
Role-based communication is especially helpful in breaking down those silos. It provides nursing leadership with the opportunity to easily convey what isn’t working well with interdisciplinary communication today and how it can be improved with the right technology.
Role-based Communication Empowers Clinical Teamwork
Interdisciplinary clinical teamwork requires closing gaps between nurses and physicians. Often these gaps exist today because the two different roles are using entirely different communication systems that communicate poorly with one another. With role-based communication, nurses can streamline communication by contacting the role they need assistance from rather than a specific individual.
Every nurse knows the frustration when continuing patient care requires physician intervention, and nurses are left waiting for a response to a page. Valuable time is wasted.
Nurses can point to role-based communication as a key element to improving clinical teamwork, and critical to transform care team efficiency and collaboration.
We know that strong collaboration in healthcare leads to higher employee satisfaction, better patient outcomes, reduced turnover, and decreased costs. An effective clinical teamwork culture requires a shared understanding that collaboration between nurses and physicians is essential, and nursing leadership can help lead the way.