No one person can do it all by him or herself. It’s true in sports, it’s true in business, and it’s certainly true in healthcare. In wound healing, we know that a team approach helps patients heal faster and better. In May, we honor nurses during both National Nurses Week and National Skilled Nursing Care Week. It’s a chance to appreciate all that nurses do to make healthcare work, and to recognize the people who are so often the MVPs of our healthcare teams.
How is nursing like a team sport? Here are the top four ways:
(1) Nurses learn collaboration like few others.
Collaboration is becoming a lost art, yet one that’s more needed than ever. The problems we must solve are increasingly complex, multi-disciplinary, and require tremendous creativity. But in the US, our education system is largely focused on individual efforts - teamwork isn’t taught in the classroom, even at the graduate level. However, whether because of a natural mix of skillsets or because it’s absolutely essential to being successful in the job, nurses are tremendous collaborators and could give most of the rest of us a master class in how to be a team player.
(2) No one person can succeed alone, and nurses know it.
Throughout the healthcare field, there is more and more emphasis on - and need for! - teams from various specialities (nursing, physical therapy, social work, physician specialties like wound care, etc.) to provide outstanding care. At the same time, medical error is the third most common cause of death in the US, with teamwork failures accounting for up to 70-80% of serious medical errors (more on this at the Journal of Medical Ethics). Research shows that having smart people on a team isn’t enough - the team has to be set up to maximize everyone’s expertise and let voices be heard. Nurses have outstanding interpersonal skills, and are often real leaders in this aspect of teamwork.
(3) Communication is key.
Nurses are constantly communicating to keep every member of the team filled in. Sometimes it’s filling in other providers about patient conditions, diagnoses, treatment, or progress; sometimes it’s explaining to patients everything from medication to diet to prognosis; sometimes it’s talking with family and loved ones; and everything in between. Understanding how stress, pain, and other important factors impact communication is key for nurses, and they are experts at picking up verbal and non-verbal cues, as well as making sure that everyone on the team knows the play.
(4) Really good shoes are everything.
On average, nurses walk four miles during a twelve hour shift - that’s more than most Americans walk in a whole day (or even two). Serious runners are advised to replace their shoes every 400-600 miles; so for nurses, that would be every 8-12 months. Great shoes can also help reduce foot, back, and hip pain - if all this is reminding you that it’s time to replace your worn-out shoes, check out this buying guide from The Nerdy Nurse that presents a great round-up of all the best shoe options out there.
Thanks to all the nurses we know - you inspire us to be better, try harder, and achieve more every day. Happy Nurses Week!
Skilled Wound Care is a mobile surgical practice committed to transforming the chronic wound care model in nursing facilities. Wound care experts make weekly bedside visits to patients in long-term care facilities, avoiding transfers to hospitals or clinics. Our expert physicians give patients the most up-to-date and effective wound treatments, and educate facility staff on how to help patients continue to heal quickly and effectively between visits. This model of collaborative care allows SWC’s physicians to improve patients’ lives and health outcomes, to empower nursing staff, and to raise public awareness. Skilled Wound Care, along with its nurse and nursing home partners, is working every day to positively transform traditional nursing home wound care.