From staff nurse to nurse consultant: Team working part 7: developing a positive ethos

09 December 2021
Volume 30 · Issue 22


John Fowler, Educational Consultant, explores ways to enhance teamwork

Hands-on clinical nursing is hard work; it is often physically exhausting and emotionally draining. This may seem an obvious statement, but the experience of many clinical nurses that I have talked to in recent years is that this has now become accepted as the norm. Many areas of clinical nursing are by their very nature physically demanding and emotionally challenging, but should this lead to them becoming exhausting and draining? What can the nursing leadership do to help maintain the positive holistic health of the clinical nursing team?

Every clinical areas will place different demands on the healthcare staff. For some areas, such as the emergency department, it will be the sheer volume of patients at peak times. Those working in oncology areas will be combining specialist drug administration with intense emotional support. For others, it will be the demands of confused, high-dependency or complex-needs patients. In addition to the nursing needs of our patients are the problems associated with staff shortages, lack of sufficiently qualified and experienced staff, increasing computerised records and many more individual stressors. These are not to be avoided; meeting and coping with these everyday stressors is part of nursing practice, it is the ability to cope with these stressors in a positive way that enhances the quality of our nursing care. Left on their own, individual nurses will cope for a while in these difficult situations, but their reserves of physical and emotional energy will be drained and they will risk the danger of emotional and physical burnout.

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