As the old adage goes, two (or more!) heads are better than one. Most of us believe that. But when it’s time to take on tasks or make decisions, we often forget to ask others for help. Why don’t we have a more organized approach when asking assistance from individuals and from our nursing teams? Especially since having support can mean the difference between burnout and balance.
To promote better teamwork, one best practice is to have 'meetings with a purpose.' Hold meetings that accomplish results and specify how team members will support each other. Keeping meetings short is also important in the busy world of healthcare. Your time is limited, so making every moment of the meeting count is crucial.
I encourage teams to have a set of steps for organizing and facilitating meetings. Leaders or managers should inform everyone on the team about these steps. These will guide your decision-making process and actions in an efficient and timely manner.
Here are my recommendations for productive team meetings:
Before the Meeting
Identify the decision(s) required by the end of the meeting.
Identify where support and coordination is required.
Each nurse can submit thoughts on these two topics before the meeting or can simply bring them to the meeting.
During the Meeting
State the purpose of the meeting. (i.e. “Today, we need to determine a better way to coordinate _______.” or “Since we are moving the storage to ______, we need to have a plan to utilize the new space.”)
Ask for ideas by ensuring everyone has a chance to contribute.
Write down all ideas on an easel or whiteboard.
Ensure that everyone’s concerns and opinions are heard. (“I understand your concern about ______, but would you be willing to try a new procedure and then we can evaluate it again?”)
Identify how the team will evaluate decisions and procedures if evaluation is required.
Identify next steps. (i.e. next meeting? When decision will take effect? Who is responsible?)
Find time for fun. If your nursing team can find a few moments for fun and laughter at the end or before meetings, all the better!