A strong nursing team can make all the difference in the trust that patients and families experience when receiving nursing care. Nurse team-building is essential for developing a unified group of clinicians who own the organizational mission and carry it out effectively.
This blog will provide innovative ideas for fostering teamwork and cooperation between nurse colleagues. We will explore why team-building is an integral strategy for creating team unity and greater fulfillment in the workplace. Team bonding can be fun and is necessary for maximizing the potential of a professional nursing team.
Why is Team-Building Important?
Many teams include a diverse group of individuals. Various backgrounds, unique personalities, and distinct yet complementary responsibilities make nurse team-building a worthwhile challenge. Teamwork takes effort but is a means to inspire and achieve the collective goal of excellent patient care.
Nurse team-building recognizes:
- Every team member is valuable
- Differences can enhance collegiality
- There is a purpose for the team
- Success is to be celebrated
The ability of a nurse leader to bring together many individual strengths and perspectives offered by a team depends on each member’s commitment to personal and professional growth. There will inevitably be times when conflicts arise, but training activities can help each person to identify healthy ways to manage emotions and communicate honestly. Authenticity is one key ingredient for building professional relationships.
Many types of training activities can boost morale and provide relaxation for nurses. Some varieties are best conducted on-site at regular intervals, while off-site activities may create a change of pace and a chance to learn more about each other in a new environment. Wherever the training location, it is always necessary to maintain professionalism.
On-Site Training Activities for Nurses
A meaningful on-site training activity is to implement a short, daily time of reflection to begin or end each day. You might select or vote on a book to discuss as a group over a specific period and break the material into smaller pieces for consideration. Dedicate a space on-site where employees can write their favorite lessons learned and post them on a wall or creative place where they will be seen and serve as reminders throughout the year.
Themes for training materials that may be beneficial for reflection include:
- How to maintain healthy boundaries
- Transformational nurse leadership
- Inspirational poetry and mission-driven topics
- Diversity and inclusion
Along with this type of creative space, another enjoyable team-building activity for on-site participation is a simple personal questionnaire asking each staff nurse about what they enjoy. Every person will answer the same questions, and the nurse leader can post the responses next to a photo of each individual with the primary reason they became a nurse. These personalized profiles help strengthen team unity as colleagues consider what they may have in common, whether personality traits, hobbies, or deeper motivations for nursing as a calling.
Some teams may place a comments or suggestions box within the office for individuals to anonymously contribute ideas for how the team might grow professionally. The suggestions box can focus on areas where team members see the opportunity for improvements within the group or work environment. Purposefully align the content and objectives of future in-services or nurse team-building activities with comments and suggestions received to ensure tailored training for the needs and goals of your specific group.
Off-Site Training Activities for Nurses
As advocates for patients and families in the community, one essential feature of a nurse team is their ability to know and connect patients with available resources. Some training opportunities offer continuing education credits and expose the nurse team to valuable perspectives of other health care administrators who hold different types of degrees for nursing leadership and management.
Training activities that bond team members together are some of the most effective team-building experiences. Workshops that focus on building resiliency or other interactive, self-care events can boost morale and provide healthy methods for team rejuvenation. Painting nights, pottery classes, or company picnics with family members may allow teams to relax and learn more about each other outside of the workplace environment.
Even teams of nurses who all share similar responsibilities may benefit from empathy training. One of the best ways to help nurses consider the experiences of one another in the workplace is to switch roles. An off-site environment may make this training activity more memorable as nurses begin to experience workflows and teamwork dynamics that are helpful and those that are potentially ineffective for working together.
Suggestions for how to implement empathy training include:
- Focus on a specific part of the day, such as the team’s morning or end-of-shift routine
- Highlight potential motivations and frustrations that may come with particular events
- Allow opportunities for nurses to acknowledge how other team members support them
- Consider the recognition of areas for improvement as positive steps in awareness
The primary purpose of this training is not to develop nurses who can substitute for each other when the workload may need to be shared or dispersed, although this may be an added benefit. The goal is to prompt the context for open discussion on how interactions between team members might be encouraging or creating unintentional barriers when aiming to develop deeper professional relationships and greater cooperation.
How to Encourage Engagement During Team-Building Activities
Team-building activities can be intimidating when the design requires nurses to step outside of their professional roles and engage in ways that may be out of a person’s comfort zone. As a nurse manager, you can encourage engagement by setting a casual and friendly tone.
Nurse leaders play an essential role in creating an environment for engagement that can be fostered through:
- Regular rounding and communication
- Time spent one on one with team members
- Moments of gratitude and appreciation for one another
- Leading by example in team participation
Small prizes for professional growth or practical use in the workplace can hold the interest and attention of participants. It is also helpful to stagger training material to achieve a balanced blend of activity and rest, both physical and mental.
When considering the best ways to encourage engagement, don’t forget to ask for the input of your teammates when creating team-building activities. Nurses may be more invested in participation when they have their ideas and preferences heard and included.
Effective nurse leaders can develop strong nursing teams through training. The University of Indianapolis helps equip aspiring nurse managers to lead confidently and gain skills for constructive collaboration among patients and staff.
Take Your Nursing Leadership to the Next Level at UIndy
Nursing leadership is important at the University of Indianapolis. You’ll build skills and gain knowledge that empowers you to be an effective leader in nursing, no matter the program.
The online ABSN program focuses on essential skills and frameworks while planting seeds that will help you grow into leadership roles in your new career. All programs in the MSN suite, listed below, push you down the path of personal and professional growth that allows you to embrace your leadership potential. The Nursing and Health Systems Leadership program is especially relevant, as it examines the power of great nurse leaders to impact larger healthcare systems.
- Online MSN-Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
- Online MSN-Family Nurse Practitioner
- Online MSN-Nurse Educator
- Online MSN-Nursing and Health Systems Leadership
Finally, if you strive to have the highest impact possible as a nurse and leader, the online Doctoral degree programs can get you there.
- Online BSN to DNP-Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
- Online BSN to DNP-Family Nurse Practitioner
- Online Post-Master’s Doctor of Nursing Practice
To learn more about any of these programs, or for help deciding which program is your best fit, click here to access your program guide or speak to an advisor