Teamwork in Nursing (or really just anywhere) - BE THE CHANGE

Teamwork is a skill. Individuals have to learn how to be a team player. As a new nurse or even as a nursing student SET YOURSELF APART by learning this skill and fine tuning it every shift.

When YOU show up with the intention of doing the best you possibly can for your patients AND your peers, YOU win. And trust me, it does not go unnoticed when you are the change maker.

Frequently I get asked questions from other nurses and nursing students about how to increase teamwork and camaraderie in the workplace.

My best answer… be a team player first, lead by example. When you noticed that another nurse is slammed with blaring call bells, overbearing family members and/or very sick patients HELP OUT and offer a hand. Especially if your section of patients is a bit lighter or you are caught up with your work.


There have been MULTIPLE nights on my floor where I NEEDED the assistance of other nurses on the unit or my patients were going to be neglected unintentionally. A GREAT example of this was during a code situation. A code is unpredictable, you have no idea when it will begin or end. I had a code on our unit during the night shift when we were understaffed. In that moment it was important that my other 5 patients were still medicated and their needs were met even though I was unavailable.

Guess who took care of my other patients - one of my coworkers held down the fort with my other patients while 2 other nurses from the unit helped me initiate and run the code! Because I had answered call bells and helped with their patients in the past it was a no-brainer that they would come to my rescue when I needed help.

“But what is that other nurse doesn’t extend a hand like you do? Does that mean that maybe I shouldn’t help out so much?” No, if anything people will notice that you go above and beyond to help others and they will start to do the same for you and each other, leading by example is key. If you want to see more teamwork on your unit or in your clinical then you need to lead the way and start to teamwork yourself.

When you notice that a peer or coworker is struggling lend a hand, just the offer goes a long way. Give with no expectation. Why? Because ultimately you are there for ONE reason - the wellbeing of PEOPLE. Your patients can not heal and get the care they need if their nurse is overwhelmed, inundated and simply not able to catch up.


Most of the time when we offer a hand and give kindness it comes back to us in tenfold. Even if no one else offers to help you in that shift, those good deeds will make you feel better, the other nurses feel better and the patients feel better.

This does not mean you let others take advantage of your kindness. Offer your assistance and set boundaries. Your patients and your health is top priority, if someone is asking for your assistance but your patient needs you - your patient is your priority. Let others know that you can help them as soon as you get a chance. If you need to use the bathroom before you help boost a patient in bed - do that first. If you need to chart an incident that happened before you move on with the shift, do that before helping out with a bed bath.

If you are still nervous about teamwork and prioritization, remember this: You will learn with on the job experience as long as you enter each shift with positivity and the best intentions for your patients and others you will succeed.

Teamwork in the work place makes your job more enjoyable AND easier to manage. Good luck and happy team-working!