From staff nurse to nurse consultant
John Fowler, Educational Consultant, explores ways to enhance teamwork
Over the years, both as a clinician and as a nursing lecturer, I had the privilege of working with a number of senior nurses. Many of these colleagues ran hospital wards, community teams, specialist departments and even large hospital Trusts. All of these people demonstrated their own individual personalities in the way they organised and led their various teams. I don't think that there is one particular style of leadership that works for all people in all the different nursing and healthcare environments. However, as I reflect on the nurses in leadership roles whose team members were positive and the clinical care was organised and of a high standard, then there does seem to be a common principle—that of team ownership.
During my last year at school, I had a part-time job working in a factory. There were a number of jobs that involved workers standing in front of a conveyer belt, along which travelled various components that either needed something adding, or had to be packed into a box. The people working the various conveyor belts became so competent at the different jobs that they could do them seemingly without concentrating on what they were doing—either talking to each other or looking totally bored. If the way that we organise our nursing profession, and individual nursing teams in particular, becomes the equivalent of a factory production line, then the individual nurses and care assistants will feel depersonalised and the nursing care they deliver will lack holistic understanding.
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