Nursing in Neonatal Wards: Time for Top-Notch Team Work!
One essential component of a good healthcare system is a supportive learning environment for the healthcare providers. To facilitate team work among the medical staff is to ensure quality patient care and swift provision of care, with minimal delays and oversights. In dealing with children and especially neonates, it becomes all the more important for the healthcare team to share responsibility of vigilant observation, as the patients in question cannot speak for themselves.
Recently, on my NICU rotation I had a wonderful experience witnessing excellent team work among nursing staff in action. In a room full of term and preterm babies fast asleep, every nurse that came in greeted them with a reassuring smile that seemed to say “Hello, now it’s my turn to take care of you for the rest of the shift”. After their wards they check up on the status of other babies, even those they are not officially assigned to take care of. Their sheer concern shows through as they review their tiny patients’ charts and enquire about the plan of care for each one. Any need of hygiene care, changing of internal lines, feeding or initiating medication, is attended to by a visiting nurse, without waiting for the concerned staff to call for help. This helping hand policy is reciprocated by all members of healthcare team.
Although as students, and later on too, we are constantly reminded to practice good team work, I have not seen better coordination and communication in any other department of the hospital than in the neonatal ICU. The reasons for this remain unclear to me; however this example offers much to learn. In this scenario, the cooperation and understanding amongst nursing staff benefited everyone. The babies were taken good care of, nurses felt less burdened and less frustrated, and the students got to diversify their learning by observing various strategies and interventions performed by different nurses. The work environment that was created involved everyone in the work, and helped everyone learn and improve on their performance.
What I learnt out of it is to create a sense of awareness among all nurses to consider every patient a shared responsibility. No doubt, nurses have their hands full almost all the time, but a mutual concern for each other’s patients will go a long way in maximizing their efficiency, and will also enhance patient satisfaction.
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