In today’s healthcare system, whether you’re in the community or acute side of things, there are a million and one different teams that all work together to help patients. As a student nurse, you are in an optimum position to spend time with all these different teams, something that you won’t be able to do once you’ve qualified.
Who can you spend time with?
You can basically spend time with whoever you can justify spending time with. Just because your placement is on an elder care ward in a community hospital, or theatres in an acute hospital, this doesn’t mean you can’t branch out and see how everyone else works.
Who have I worked with?
Dietitians, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, pharmacists, district nurses, community matrons, palliative care nurses, practice nurses, anaesthetists, operative department practitioners, stroke speciality nurse, tissue viability, minor injuries specialist nurse, radiographers, general practitioners and IVF practitioners. There’s probably more of them in there and this is just a small range of the different teams and specialities that are on offer.
Why should you spend time with them?
To know what’s on offer – from my own experience, I’ve noticed that a few nurses are totally unaware of the services that exist outside of their own speciality, and therefore don’t always realise these people exist to refer onto.
Different agendas – every team has different priorities when it comes to patient care. It’s vital that all nurses appreciate why these agendas are in place and how they can all benefit the patient. The team I first noticed this with were the physiotherapists, which I have written about here; physio’s main role is to improve patient mobility, and often this requires more time and effort than a nurse has available. In some circumstances, nurses will revert to using shortcuts (safe ones) when it comes to patient care to speed up their processes, however these are not necessary in the patient’s best interests. I feel that if all nurses can have the opportunity to spend time with other teams and see what and why they do the things they do, they can better appreciate those roles and skills.
Learn new skills – every speciality has their own set of skills and there’s no reason you cannot incorporate some of these things into your own practice.
Cohesiveness – often in healthcare, different teams of professionals can exist alongside each other, going about their business without truly crossing paths. If nurses have a better appreciation of what the other teams do, they can work better together as one unit.
Meet new people – getting to know the different teams that work with your patient can make it easier to get their help and advice in future.
Know who you’re referring to – nurses often have to refer their patients onto other teams for different reasons, and it can be really helpful for your patient if you know what this team does and can explain it to them.