7 Characteristics of Exemplary Healthcare Teams

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nursing teams, teamwork, healthcare teams, professional development, team building
I just did a seminar titled, “Navigating the Road to Exemplary Teams.” In this seminar we spent a lot of time comparing and contrasting sports teams versus healthcare teams. When asked, most of us can clearly identify a sports team as just that…a team. However, when asked if nurses believed they were a part of a team, we hesitate.
Some of the most common complaints I hear from nurses is that they feel unsupported and are often overwhelmed with the amount of work they need to accomplish in a day – seemingly, by themselves. However, if nurses identified themselves (and others) as part of the same team, I think we wouldn’t feel so overwhelmed and alone.
John Maxwell writes a lot about teams. In his book, “Teamwork 101” he shares 7 characteristics of teams. I encourage you to compare YOUR workplace to these characteristics:

Care about each other – All great teams start with caringabout each other – Caring is the foundation. When you see great sports team score a point or touchdown, they all celebrate together. When a team member is in trouble, the team stops everything to help their teammate.  What can YOU do to show your co-workers that you care about them?
Share common goals – All great teams know the goal. What is the goal of a football team? Basketball team? It’s to score of course!!! What about YOUR team? What is the goal? It should involve patient care…not…avoiding admissions or getting the easiest assignments.
Communicate with each other –Communication starts with the leader communicating to team members and team members communicating to each other…without, members more likely to work against each other and tasks get left undone. Imagine when a fly ball is hit to the outfield. Both outfielders run towards the ball. If nobody communicates, they run into each other and MISS the ball (how many bloopers have we seen about this?) but when they communicate, “I got it!” they catch the ball. Are you communicating effectively with all members of your team?
Grow together – The leader is coach, providing opportunities for team members to learn and grow professionally and personally. But, team members are also responsible for helping each other to grow. Great sports team support skill development in each other through practice, practice and practice!! What can you do to strengthen your co-workers and help them grow?
Fit well together – A good fit requires an attitude of partnership. You know strengths and weaknesses of team members and you work together to become a stronger team. Do you know the strengths and weaknesses of YOUR co-workers? What are you doing to support their weaknesses? What are you doing to give them opportunities to utilize their strengths?
Place the needs of the team above their own – Great teams give the ball to their teammate who may then score the winning point. Why, because it’s about the team…not the individual.  Are you picking up the slack for new nurses? How do you support agency or travel nurses? Are you sacrificing an easy assignment for the sake of the team?
Value each role – Great teams recognize that EVERY member of the team, no matter what role they play, is valued as an equal. The safety is just as important as the quarterback; the guard is just as important as the forward; the nursing assistant is just as important as the nurse.  How do you show other teammates that you value them?
Watch this video about creating an exemplary team. 
Does it look like they care about each other?
Do they share a common goal?
Are they communicating well with one another?
Can you see them growing together? Fitting together?
Do they value each other?
Yeah…now that’s an exemplary team! Go get it!!!
Thanks for reading. I’d love to read your comments about YOUR team. What do you do to create a great team?



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About the author: Dr. Renee Thompson is a keynote speaker, author and professional development/anti-bullying thought leader. Renee spends the majority of her time helping healthcare and academic organizations improve the work environment. To find out how you can bring Renee to YOUR organization or nursing event, click here.

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4 thoughts on “7 Characteristics of Exemplary Healthcare Teams”

  1. Pingback: 3 Rs for Nurses: Effectively Care for Patients. - RTConnections

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