Change in Practice
Nursing practice evolves with the changing times primarily because new knowledge provides new opportunities for improvement. This is primarily why nurses are often encouraged to continue learning and expanding their knowledge not only with respect to nursing practice but also in general with the aim of improving their practice. The purpose of this paper is to identify the existing problem and initiate a change that will improve the work environment and thus, the efficiency of nurses in a healthcare environment.
Nursing involves a lot of inter-disciplinary collaboration with other physicians. A nurse often has to work with a number of other departments including lab, radiology, respiratory therapy, pharmacy, clinical therapies and discharge planning as well as dietetics units in order to effusively meet the needs of a patient in terms of high-quality and accurate nursing care. This implies a need to develop a great working relationship with other staff members within an organization. The greatest challenge in this requirement is that nurses are often limited within their units. Nurses are often comfortable with other nurses within their specific unit, and their interactions outside the unit are mostly transactional rather than cordial (McEwen & Wills, 2014). When interacting with lab technicians, for example, nurses are only likely to look for the required test results without caring to discuss or even review them with a lab team. Nurses also tend to limit their interactions with other physicians, based on the ideology that these physicians are either superior or uninterested in interacting with them. Sharing opinions or perspectives is thus very limited within a healthcare organization since professionals are limited within their practice.
When there is a disconnection in a healthcare organization, patients are likely to receive substandard care (Reeves, Tassone, Parker, Wagner, & Simmons, 2012). First, the most relevant information is lost within the various units. While the important information may be written or passed on to physicians, some small observations may not be written down or even mentioned unless they have a deep conversation about a patients case. When staff members do not engage in these conversations on a regular basis, most of this information ends up being lost without helping a patient. As such, patients end up not getting the kind of care that they really need. In addition, having a disconnection within a healthcare organization limits the productivity of nurses. Studies show that nurses are more likely to enjoy their work and appreciate their roles in a healthcare organization if they have warm working relationships and friendships with their colleagues (McEwen & Wills, 2014). Colleagues, in this case, are not limited to nurses within one unit but rather all staff members within a healthcare organization in question.
In my current practice, nurses barely interact with doctors or even lab technicians beyond the usual requirements when working on a case. This means that various professionals within an organization are divided into their respective units, creating visible rifts within an organization. This may be seen in the way nurses have their own break room, as do other physicians and lab technicians as well as the support staff. Even during lunch, nurses mainly sit with other nurses as the doctors sit with other doctors and the surgeons with other surgeons. In essence, professionals in an organization are divided by their uniforms and professional specializations. Nursing practice is all about offering the best quality of care to patients. This means ensuring that every aspect of a healthcare organization supports the provision of accurate and adequate patient care. Considering how a disconnected work place affects a nurse and their productivity, it can be said that encouraging inter-professional relationships within a healthcare organization is the best way to improve patient care and ensure that nurses are fully focused and enabled to work efficiently. The current practice only makes it difficult for the staff members to practice effective inter-professional relations thus the need for a radical change in the way professional interactions occur in an organization.
The practice change that would remedy this problem is inter-professional collaboration. Inter-professional collaboration entails collaborative models of interpersonal interactions that enable medical professionals to provide patient-centered care within a seamless and highly interactive environment. The whole concept of inter-professional collaboration is based on the system of interpersonal interactions aimed at improving the relationships amongst medical practitioners (Morton, 2012). In this case, there is a need to bring down the barriers that separate nurses from other medical practitioners within an organization.
To achieve this, two sets of activities must be undertaken. First, there is a need to encourage professionals to develop a cordial working relationship that goes beyond the transactional interactions that are currently the norm. This implies seeking effective inter-professional collaborative models that are aimed at encouraging and enabling inter-professional interactions within an organization (Smith, 2012). Bonding games and exercises within inter-professional meetings and gatherings would be a great place to start in this case. Regular meetings beyond usual unitary meetings will also help in ensuring that these professionals get used to interacting with one another. The second change would be in terms of eliminating actual barriers within a health organization. All professionals need to have common break rooms where they can interact in between shifts and generally bond while at work. This will ensure that there are common areas where professionals can just relax and get to know each other even if it is within the work environment. This would allow them to form and maintain interpersonal relationships within the workplace.
Evidence Supporting the Proposed Change
According to Green and Johnson (2015), inter-professional collaboration is an incredible solution to a number of problems within the medical profession including medical errors and a generally better quality of a healthcare. Green and Johnson (2015) study focused on collaborative practice in a healthcare where various professionals in an organization work together in terms of not only sharing their skills and knowledge, but also supporting each other morally and as a team at all times. The researchers in this study found that working together as a team improved staff performance significantly. Initially, patients were unable to receive high-quality a healthcare owing to the fragmented nature of healthcare organizations. Green and Johnson (2015) cite an unspecified WHO research in which medical professionals who collaborate in the workplace have open minds and are more effective within complex work situations. This means that inter-professional collaboration will benefit both patients and practitioners. Working within a friendlier environment, in this case, is proven to be beneficial for the intellectual as well as motivational capacity of practitioners thus making them better healthcare providers.
Registered Nurse Association of Ontario (2013) is an insightful guide to inter-professional collaboration. In this guide, inter-professional collaboration is defined as a concept that involves enabling, enhancing, and sustaining teamwork across various professions within an organization (Registered Nurse Association of Ontario, 2013). Therefore, for one to get professionals to meaningfully work together, there is a need to come up with a structure that supports their interpersonal interactions. Healthcare organizations operate with numerous interdependent units that have specified roles within an organization. Their collaboration, however, ensures that a patient is able to receive high-quality healthcare since seamless operations not only shorten the amount of waiting time but also improve the efficiency of the whole process of caring for patients. According to this text, inter-professional collaboration also enables employee satisfaction by encouraging staff members to formulate and maintain healthy working relationships within an organization.
Bridges, Davidson, Odegard, Maki, and Tomkowiak (2011) defined collaborative education as a pillar of collaborative practice where students have to interact with other professions and get used to sharing information and working together in an inter-professional context. According to Bridges et al. (2011), complex medical issues require the collaboration of different professionals in the medical field, and unless these professionals are taught to work together while they are still students, getting them to collaborate in practice may be tricky. It is highly significant to consider that their varying backgrounds imply a wider scope of knowledge as related to a patient in question.
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Evaluating the Change
To evaluate this change, there is a need to consider two factors within an organization. Currently, staff members in different units within an organization keep to their units and only interact with other professionals within transactional contexts. The first point of evaluation should thus be on how well nurses are interacting with other professionals within an organization. To evaluate this, there is a need to find out how well nurses know members of other units. This can be clarified by asking nurses and other staff members random questions about their colleagues. The expectation here is that staff members would have to interact with their colleagues at a social level thus building and positively maintaining healthy working relationships throughout an organization. The expected outcome is an improvement in the inter-professional collaboration within an organization. This means that the indicators are employee engagement and patient satisfaction among other things. The main data, in this case, will be collected from hospital statistics on the level of efficiency experienced within an organization. If the change has had positive outcomes, patients will be effectively satisfied, as will staff members. A reduction in patient satisfaction and employee engagement will also indicate failure for this change. Stagnation in patient satisfaction and job satisfaction amongst medical professionals will also be an indication of failure considering that the change is aimed at improving the situation in an organization.
There are quite a number of cases in which individuals within the medical profession are inhibited from professional excellence based on their inability to interact with professionals from other units within an organization. These limitations require a solution considering that they inhibit the delivery of high-quality care while also limiting the ability of a medical practitioner in terms of enjoying their work. The proposed change is mainly about implementing an inter-professional collaborative model that will allow staff members to interact beyond their professional units. This implies getting professionals within an organization to have normal conversations that are not entirely about work. Evidence shows that when the members of staff know each other within a social context they are more likely to enjoy working together. This means that helping professionals to interact with one another will improve their abilities within the medical practice by improving the efficiency of the medical team and the satisfaction of patients.
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