Conversations with Liz
When we are caring for residents, it is a team activity. Teams that work well together and communicate effectively perform better and provide safer care.
Our residents have increasingly complex needs requiring a multidisciplinary approach to care to promote better outcomes.
You may have team members who are knowledgeable, skilled, and have great clinical expertise. However, if there is no collaboration with each other and good lines of communication it is likely that the resident will not benefit.
What are the benefits of working as a team?
It allows the workload to be shared, reducing the pressure on individuals, and ensure tasks are completed within a set time frame. It also allows goals to be more attainable, improves job satisfaction and resident care.
Working in a team enables us to learn from one and other. We gain understanding from different perspectives and learn from our more experienced colleagues.
When team members are aware of their own responsibilities and roles, and understand their ideas and work is valued and being relied upon by the rest of their team, team members will be motivated to share the same vision, values, and goals.
As a team we share knowledge and information about the resident among our team members. This serves to ensure that the necessary care and support is delivered as per the care plan instructions. It also acts as a cross-check on each other’s work, thereby reducing the chances of errors.
The result creates a workplace environment based on communication, trust, support, respect, and cooperation.
Remember there is more than one way to get the job done.
What qualities do you think are essential in a good leader? For example, great communicator, good listener, honest, fair, respectful, organised, knowledgeable, etc
Even though you may not be the leader you can still practise the qualities that you admire in others. This self-reflection helps us grow as a team.
Teamwork is about supporting each other
How often have you heard the phrase “it’s not my job, or “they are not on my list.” Isn’t it frustrating!
If we are all working together to achieve the same outcomes, then we are all responsible and accountable.
If you give help easily, others will help you in return. Helping each other out develops positive relations with co-workers. This positive attitude will also spill over onto those you care for and can help make their care pleasant and enjoyable.
However, if there are consistent issues with staff not being able to complete their workload, or continually needing guidance then this would need to be reviewed.
What Language do we use?
When I hear a staff member use the words “I’m only” to describe their role, for example “I’m only a cleaner” it makes my heart sink, as clearly that staff member does not understand the important role they play within the team or organisation.
It is essential to correct the negative use of this term, by reminding the staff member of the value their role plays in ensuring the best outcomes for residents.
Discourage gossip, treat all team members with respect.
When staff start using the phrase “we can’t do that” change this to a positive and ask what can we do?
Team members should be encouraged to ask questions, share ideas or concerns, and discuss potential solutions.
Barriers to working as a team
Examples that have been shared by long-term care facilities include:
- Organisational barriers to communication
- A culture in which speaking up is not supported
- Staff turnover
- Inadequate (teamwork and communication) training
- Heavy workloads, and ambiguous instructions.
What are the roles within a team?
As a team leader it is important to recognise that everyone has something of value to offer, that different views and expertise strengthen team decisions and problem-solving.
In group(s) (approximately six people in each group)
- Ask each team to draw a circle, to divide it equally into nine sections, one for each of Belbin’s team roles, and to enter their names in the segments that correspond to their top two roles.
- Encourage discussion among the team members by asking them to list five main areas where they think their strengths and weaknesses lie, and how these match, overlap or contrast with those of their co-workers.
- Ask your team to come up with three action points based on its findings, focusing on helping the team to perform more effectively.
Register for our upcoming webinar with Auditor and Registered Nurse Liz Lear
When – Wednesday 8th September 11am