Teamwork Among Nursing Staff in Relationship-based Patient Care

Student Author(s)

Courtney Mulder

Faculty Mentor(s)

Judith Westers, BS, RN1 and Donna Garrett, MSN, RN2 (1Spectrum Health and 2Hope College Nursing Department)

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Nursing staff members encourage teamwork among each other through mutual understanding of patients’ acuity, communication, and collective trust. Individual job satisfaction is impacted by a variety of factors including teamwork and individual performance. The purpose of this research was to explore the opinions and attitudes of staff in relation to teamwork. Jean Watson’s Theory of Caring emphasizes the importance of interpersonal relationships among nursing staff. These relationships are founded upon trust, communication, and a caring environment. This study was a six-week-long pilot study. Two microteams on two different medical-surgical units in a large teaching hospital in southwest Michigan, consisting of two registered nurses and one nursing assistant, worked a shared schedule for six weeks. Using phenomenological methodology, three structured interviews of each participant were performed by a research assistant and audio- recoded. The data were transcribed and double-checked for errors and validity. Quantitative data were manually collected determine the number of different staff members each participant worked with over the six-week period. The primary finding from the qualitative component was that the quality of teamwork and teammates decrease workload and work is more stressful when there is minimal support. Findings from the quantitative component found the average number of individuals a participant worked within a shift pre-shared schedule was M = 3.2165 (SD = 1.10139) and shared schedule was M = 2.4038 (SD = 0.64641). Teamwork is enhanced with communication; it changes over time. Limitations for this study included the small sample size, one site for data collection, inconsistency with study protocols, and microteam selection. Implications include education for all nursing staff about teamwork and further research with a larger sample size is needed to explore these themes.

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