iNancy Elder Care with Nancy Karen Culp RN. As a Registered Nurse with almost 38 years of nursing experience I bring to you a series of articles & guides to help navigate thru the workplace setting. Over the years I have been thru the School of Hard Knocks so to speak and I’m still learning! Experiencing a wide range of work settings, situations and challenges along the way has allowed me to share what I have learned or that which those around me have learned. This information is presented to give you support and advice. Here is my unique perspective of the experiences I have had along the way for your benefit!
An effective teambuilding program is designed to be a give and take situation… to allow for participants to give feedback on what their strengths and weaknesses lie and then make their contribution to the team. In a health care environment, where Quality of Care and Quality of Life are at stake, it is vital all staff to work together to get the hundreds of tasks done in a timely and efficient manner.
Long Term Care (LTC) like most work environments, undergoes changes that impact how the unit or interdisciplinary team work together. One example of this was back in the 90’s when most facilities added subacute or rehab units to their services, they dramatically increased the number of admissions and discharges. Staff needed to work more closely than ever as a TEAM to accomplish this monumental task.
WHY IS WORKING AS A TEAM SO IMPORTANT?
TEAMBUILDING creates a working environment that:
- Fosters TEAM spirit. It is a way to formalize the power of COLLABORATION. By definition – collaboration is a way to blend the talents, skills & creativity of a diverse group of people. By collaborating, a work group leverages its skills, time, and resources for their own benefit and that of the organization.
- Allows for us to better understand ourselves and others thereby creating a diverse and creative and enjoyable working environment…In order to accomplish what we want, we need to START with the END in mind. Wouldn’t it be great to look forward to work every day? To thoroughly enjoy what we do? We must first decide what that would be like. “If a person does not know what harbor he is seeking, no light will be enough to guide him”
Trainers know that it is important to get the objectives out of the way early on, otherwise participants spend valuable time thinking about them and miss the learning at hand. One way to do this is to tell the staff that I have a magic wand which allows them to change anything they want in their work environment. I pass around an actual toy “magic wand” and I ask them to answer the following questions:
Question #1 – If you could change anything about others at work, what would it be?
Question #2 – You have just become “the boss” if you could change anything about your working environment, what would it be?
These two questions open the door for participants to verbalize their thoughts and feelings about their vision for what a cohesive work environment should be… it is very insightful to say the least about the picture they paint of the challenges they are currently working with!
TELL THEM THEY ARE IMPORTANT!
The next critical point to be made helps each individual employee to recognize the importance as part of the teams they work with… I explain that the culture of the facility is to recognize that THEY are important and that NO ONE in this organization is insignificant. I cover this in orientation as well. “Every single employee is equally important, no one is more or less important than another!” I reiterate that this means that for example, the housekeeper and the director of nursing for example are equally important Responsibility and knowledge base varies but importance does not. Each of us has specific talents, skills, knowledge and responsibilities that make our organization complete as illustrated in the following story;
During my second month of nursing school, our professor gave us a pop quiz. I was a conscientious student and had breezed …