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Teamwork & Collaboration in Nursing: Top 5 Benefits


Today’s healthcare industry is built around a multidisciplinary approach to patient care. Nurses are part of the clinical team of physicians and specialists who collaborate on providing well-organized, comprehensive care to patients. Teamwork is crucial to facilitating effective communication and promoting positive patient outcomes. Earning a nursing degree online — such as a RN to BSN online — can be the first step in understanding how teamwork benefits the nursing profession and patients alike.

Why Is Teamwork Important in Nursing?

Teamwork. Collaboration. Communication. These concepts are not just ideals — they play a critical role in patient outcomes and quality of care. As clinicians, nurses must rely on all these skills to ensure their patients get the care they need.


This is because nurses are the front-line providers of patient care. They are the first clinicians to recognize how patients respond to care, such as whether their health is improving or deteriorating. As part of the multidisciplinary team treating a patient, nurses coordinate care by communicating vital information to doctors, specialists, and other providers and weigh in with their own evidence-based recommendations.


It’s important for nurses to hone their teamwork skill set because they are team members and team leaders when it comes to patient care.

What Is Teamwork and Collaboration in Nursing?

Teamwork in nursing involves communicating and coordinating care with fellow nurses, other clinicians, administrators, and staff. Collaboration also involves including patients and their families in care decisions, which means communicating appropriately and empathetically with laypeople.


Collaboration occurs across departments and shifts. Communications may include texts, emails, notes in electronic health records (EHR), and stand-up huddles, ensuring everyone involved in a patient’s care is on the same page at all times.


In many ways, teamwork and collaboration in nursing are part of nursing ethics and ethical decision-making, because they respect patient autonomy.

How to Promote Teamwork in Nursing

Creating a team culture among nurses is the goal of most hospital executives and administrators. Some effective ways to promote teamwork in nursing include:

Start at the Top

Chief nursing officers (CNOs), at the top of the nursing career ladder, can have a great deal of influence in building a team culture. CNOs who value teamwork and collaboration can put policies in place that foster communication among team members and empower nurses to make clinical decisions. They can support teams by allowing people to admit mistakes without fear of punishment, with the goal of learning from errors. Hiring for a team culture is also important, so everyone is on board with the changes.

Commit to Organizational Change

For a team culture to thrive, an organization may need to change its procedures. Organizational change can be difficult, as people can be attached to familiar ways of working. Some barriers to organizational change include staffing issues; lack of communication between administration and clinicians; interpersonal issues, such as team personalities, social identities (older and established versus younger and less experienced); and resistance to change.

Implement Training

Teamwork and collaboration are not necessarily intuitive. Training is necessary so teams operate at the highest level. Training includes learning strategies that support patient safety; resource management; and tools such as clinical assessments, checklists, rounds, and other measures. Two common healthcare teamwork training programs are crew resource management (CRM) and TeamSTEPPS (Team Strategies and Tools to Enhance Performance and Patient Safety).

Facilitate Clear Communication

Healthcare team members who work well together have the following characteristics: They communicate well, they perform tasks well, and they collaborate well. Techniques include reporting vital signs out loud, repeating and clarifying information, having individual tasks to focus on, and making sure the tasks are coordinated. Teams also work best when they debrief after a healthcare crisis and use the time to resolve personal conflicts.

Support Team Members

During COVID-19, hospitals and healthcare workers have been under a terrific amount of stress. Stress can impact the effectiveness of a team, as individuals themselves deal with emotional and physical pressures. When hospitals acknowledge these pressures and support individuals, it can help the employees continue to work well together as a team.

5 Nursing Teamwork Benefits

In 2021, hospitals reported 1,068 sentinel events, or dire patient experiences, according to The Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations. The most common of these patient safety events included falls, unintended retention of a foreign object, wrong surgery, suicide, and delay in treatment. The Joint Commission found the reasons for many of these sentinel events included failures in communication, inadequate staff training, and inadequate patient assessment, all of which are addressed in hospital teamwork culture.


Improving patient outcomes (including via reducing sentinel events) is one of the top five benefits of teamwork in nursing.

1. Improved Patient Satisfaction and Outcomes

Healthcare professionals serve patients not as individual providers but as part of multidisciplinary teams. These teams include nurses, primary care physicians, and specialists. Ideally, all the individuals on the team work together toward the common goal of enhancing the patient’s health and providing the highest possible level of care.


When multidisciplinary teams meet often, they can evaluate patients more thoroughly. Thanks to their regular daily interactions with patients, nurses are often aware of minute details that busy physicians might miss in their hurried rounds. When teams have opportunities to communicate often, nurses can ask critical questions and make insightful suggestions about the best ways to manage patients’ care.

2. Higher Job Satisfaction

Nursing careers often present challenges, from long hours to high-stress situations. Professionals in this field need to maintain a high level of job satisfaction to avoid potential burnout. Some studies have shown that collaborative relationships among nurses are connected to high job satisfaction.


When nurses are part of coordinated teams with organized lines of communication, they may be happier with their daily workplace responsibilities. Establishing strong teams in the workplace has been found to result in a more satisfied workforce, which extends to co-workers and patients.

3. Increased Professional Accountability

Teamwork in nursing contributes directly to accountability in nursing. Daily huddles keep nurses in the loop and reinforce changes to policies and procedures. If huddles are conducted according to TeamSTEPPS processes, they improve problem identification. This can prevent sentinel events, according to the Patient Safety Network of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.


Nursing accountability can also benefit from teamwork on a smaller scale. Nurses who have attentive supervisors on their teams, or partners who check and assess their work, typically are more accountable for the patient care they provide.


The importance of communication and teamwork is becoming more widely recognized in the healthcare industry. Because of this, communication strategies are often included in the curriculum of nurse practitioner programs. Educational institutions are emphasizing the importance of teamwork and communication early to build a strong foundation for successful healthcare outcomes.

4. Lower Rates of Job Turnover

Employee turnover is a major problem for hospitals and has only worsened since the start of the pandemic. A survey by Advisory Board, a healthcare advisory firm, found that bedside RN turnover rose to 18.6% in 2020. Additionally, a 2021 McKinsey survey found that 22% of nurses intend to leave their job in the next year.


High employee attrition creates a feedback loop — the more nurses leave, the more remaining nurses are overworked and burned out. Stress makes teamwork and collaboration in nursing more difficult, which impacts patient care.


In hospitals that emphasize teamwork, nurses are more satisfied with their jobs, and higher job satisfaction decreases turnover. That means that better teamwork can contribute to lower turnover.

5. Improved Engagement in the Workplace

In hospitals in which nurses are viewed as professionals, engagement was higher, according to a 2020 study in the Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing. This professional practice model calls for teamwork and collaboration in a multidisciplinary setting. The study showed a direct correlation between implementation of a professional practice model and better patient outcomes, enhanced staff engagement, a more positive team culture, and an increase in staff satisfaction.

Get Started by Earning Your Nursing Degree Online

Teamwork in nursing is changing healthcare as much as it’s saving lives. If you’re wondering about what nursing degree to choose, explore an online option from Maryville University. Maryville offers RN to BSNMaster of Science in Nursing (MSN)Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), and Post-Masters NP certification options. See where your nursing career can take you.


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