5 Reasons Nurses Must Excel at Interprofessional Collaboration

Recent Posts

Let's Connect

In the ever-changing world of healthcare, providing care has become more challenging. The importance interprofessional collaboration among healthcare professionals is crucial, especially in nursing. Nurses are central to coordinating care, working closely with others to guarantee that patients receive top-notch care.

What is the role of a nurse in an interprofessional collaboration?

The nurses often take on the crucial role of sharing fresh updates with the interprofessional team concerning inpatients. This could range from sharing recently obtained lab or diagnostic results to highlighting any shifts in a patient’s condition. It’s a key responsibility that ensures everyone on the team is well-informed and can provide the best possible care.

Nurses actively engage in the planning and participation of interdisciplinary care conferences. They take on essential roles, such as assigning, delegating, and supervising nursing team members. Education is a significant aspect of their work, involving both clients and staff. Nurses act as staunch advocates for their clients, making referrals as needed and ensuring seamless continuity of care. Moreover, they play a pivotal role in contributing to the evaluation of patient outcomes. 

Interprofessional collaboration is a critical aspect of a nurse’s training, often commencing during their time in school. These intentionally designed educational opportunities involve interactions with students from various disciplines, instilling core competencies essential for nurses to engage in deliberate and high-stakes collaborative care in their professional field.

Five Reasons Nurses Must Excel at Interprofessional Collaboration

1. Nurses Must Practice Effective Communication

Healthcare delivery is becoming increasingly team-based. 

During a typical hospital visit, a patient will meet with multiple practitioners, including nurses, doctors, physician’s assistants, pharmacists, physical therapists, and social workers, among other disciplines. This can lead to charting errors, care overlap, and misdiagnoses – but there’s a solution: effective communication.

Nurses must have excellent communication skills for talking not only with patients, but also with the care team. Effective communication reduces redundancy and error and improves quality outcomes, patient experience, patient safety, and use of resources.

2. Nurses Must Work Within a Continuum of Care

Nurses are positioned to lead and partner in teams that provide services across the continuum of care (hospitals, ambulatory care, public health, schools, long-term care, and home health). They can also excel within specific roles on a care team, providing a unique perspective on the patient’s treatment plan. 

Because many nurses begin learning how to work on teams as a part of IPE training in nursing school, they’re better able to understand how different disciplines work – and learn from them.

3. Nurses Must Work to Reduce Inefficiencies in Treatment

Interprofessional care helps cut down on overlap and redundancies in patient care. An interprofessional team may make clinical rounds together, or meet to debrief and develop patient care plans.

With their consistent, direct patient care role, nurses have a unique opportunity to observe treatment in real time. They can make observations relating to patients and their environment, reduce inefficiencies in treatment, and give feedback to their interprofessional team.

4. Nurses Must Become Champions for Collaboration

Modern healthcare institutions take interprofessional collaboration all the way up to the administrative level – from the bedside to the boardroom. Nurses may take leadership roles on hospital committees and become more active advocates for patient-centered care, or even help develop or expand interprofessional collaboration modalities at their institutions.

5. Nurses Must Put Patients First

The ultimate goal of successful interprofessional education is improved patient care. Nurses make up the largest segment of the healthcare profession, with approximately three million registered nurses currently practicing in the United States. 

No matter where they’re employed, all nurses must put patients first, working on multidisciplinary teams as patient advocates with an understanding of each patient as a whole. 

Essential skills that the nurse must develop to function effectively as a member of an interprofessional team:

1. Active Listening:

The ability to actively listen to the perspectives of other team members fosters understanding and promotes collaborative decision-making.

2. Conflict Resolution:

Proficiency in resolving conflicts diplomatically is crucial in a team setting, ensuring that disagreements do not hinder the delivery of patient-centered care.

3. Cultural Competence:

Understanding diverse cultural backgrounds enhances a nurse’s ability to collaborate with colleagues and provide culturally sensitive care.

4. Critical Thinking:

Nurses need to employ critical thinking skills to analyze complex situations, make informed decisions, and contribute substantively to the team’s problem-solving processes.

5. Flexibility and Adaptability:

The dynamic nature of healthcare requires nurses to be flexible and adaptable, particularly in interprofessional teams where different perspectives and approaches converge.

In conclusion, by integrating and emphasizing interprofessional collaboration in healthcare within nursing education, institutions can empower nurses to thrive in team-based environments. This not only enhances the quality of patient care but also contributes to the overall success and adaptability of the healthcare system. It is an investment in creating healthcare professionals who are not only skilled in their individual capacities but also adept at working seamlessly with colleagues from diverse disciplines, ultimately benefiting the patients they serve.

Get Our Education Updates

Scroll to Top