Be a Team Player

Not everyone knows how to be a team player and support the team's work. You need to be a helper. Don't be above getting your hands dirty. Team players understand that the sum of the whole is always greater than the value of the individual.

The goal in health care is to improve the quality of life and outcomes for the patients. Some nurses may be better than others at some aspects of care, while others may excel in another aspect. The expectation is not that everyone becomes a perfect nurse, but rather that each contributes what she can to the whole to provide quality care. This might be only a small, supportive role for others in some instances. In other situations, the others might play a strong leadership role and you'll take the supportive role. Everyone pulls together to meet the goals for the unit and the patients.

Remember that there is no “I” in team. If a pitcher on a baseball team tried to play all nine positions at once, he'd get pretty worn out after a minute or two and would not be effective against a team of nine weaker players who all worked together with the same goal in mind. It takes a team to cover all the bases and to work together to reach the goal successfully.

Learn to accept your role as a team member. Support your coworkers where they fall short and step up to the plate when needed to lead the group. United you will succeed. Separately you might not be effective. The goal is to enrich the life of the patient, not to promote your self worth. The rewards you reap will come in the form of satisfaction not for becoming a superstar but for having played a part in making a difference in someone's life today.

No Brown Nosing

Just as you don't want someone taking your idea and running to your supervisor and claiming credit for it, neither should you try to take unfair advantage of a situation by brown nosing or kissing up to your supervisor or other superiors. There is a time and place for sharing ideas. Understand the chain of command and follow it for expressing new ideas as well as for voicing concerns and complaints.

Just because you are the most recent grad on your unit does not mean you are the only one with new and creative ideas. Don't be a “know-it-all” either. All your nursing colleagues have been to nursing school and learned the same things you did. Some things have been updated, but they've continued their education too. As time goes by, you'll develop a sense of when it's appropriate to chime in with your suggestions and as you earn the respect of your coworkers, they will begin to listen to your suggestions and appreciate them and might even ask for your input.

Be open and willing to trade assignments and shifts as needed with your coworkers and you'll help to foster an atmosphere of “you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours.” Show that you are a team player.

Give and Take

Give genuinely of yourself and don't look for secondary gains. Try to get to know something about your coworkers outside of the workplace. Show an interest in who they are as a person and not just a nurse or other health care worker. This will provide you with tremendous insight into how they behave in the workplace.

You may not like every person you work with, but you should be able to respect the job they do or how they treat the patients. Some people don't have great bedside manner or people skills, but they have great compassion and can give a shot or start an IV with the least amount of pain for the patient. Or perhaps they have a great sense of humor and bring a smile to the faces of the patients. Give credit where it is due.

You are going to spend a great portion of your life each day with these people. Try to find ways to build camaraderie and make the job fun and fulfilling for everyone. When you show others that your efforts are for the benefit of everyone especially the patients, you won't find yourself being accused of kissing up.

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