Why Teamwork in Nursing is Critical

Given the growing complexity of our nation’s health-care system, teamwork in nursing has become more vital to the profession. As medical teams come to manage patients suffering from multiple ailments, not only has effective collaboration between nurses and other health-care professionals been linked to better patient outcomes, it also yields higher job satisfaction and less employee turnover.

In a team-based health-care environment, members from different care disciplines―physicians, nurses, pharmacists, nutritionists, physical therapists, and the like―come together as a unit and work in tandem with patients and their families to develop the best possible treatment plans.

Formally known as interprofessional collaborative practice (IPCP), a teamwork-based care model follows the premise that when providers and patients communicate and consider each other's unique perspective, they can better address the multiple factors that influence the health of individuals, families, and communities.1

Furthermore, interprofessional collaboration is key to better health-care outcomes in the United States. It represents a fundamental transition from treating people who are sick to keeping people healthy, and from paying for volume to paying for value. 2 Such collaboration also reduces the number of medical errors, while increasing patient safety.1

However, more progress still needs to be made to improve patient safety by further breaking down professional silos. A 2013 analysis of preventable medical errors in the United States found that such errors resulted in anywhere from 210,000 to more than 400,000 deaths each year—making these errors the third leading cause of death in Americans.3

A 2014 study published by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the nation’s largest public health philanthropic organization, found the following set of practices to be the most effective in developing, fostering, and sustaining interprofessional collaboration in health-care facilities:4

  • Mentality that puts patients and their families first
  • Team communication that overcomes barriers of different interaction styles
  • Leadership commitment to interprofessional collaboration
  • Leveled playing field where team members work at the top of their licenses

Furthermore, collaboration in patient care seeks and acknowledges the contributions and expertise of all of the members of a health-care team, while also supporting individual recognition.

What to Expect from Loyola’s ABSN Program

As a student in the 16-month ABSN program at Loyola University Chicago, you’ll find our curriculum places significant emphasis on teamwork in nursing. In fact, our university has received national recognition for its collaborative education and practice models that prepare students to work together as a team to improve patient outcomes.

When it comes to teamwork, you can expect Loyola’s ABSN program to give you the knowledge, skills, and values required for working collaboratively with other health-care workers as well as patients and their families to improve outcomes.

One of the ways we teach our ABSN students the importance of collaboration in health care is through nursing simulation. These highly realistic learning activities give you the opportunity to intervene in different clinical scenarios without the fear of harming an actual patient.

For example, during a simulation, you might play the primary nurse role, while members of your cohort carry out the roles of secondary nurse, scribe, and family member. As primary nurse, it would be up to you to determine the best course of action for the patient and then delegate tasks accordingly.

Just know that no matter the role a person plays within a health-care team, whether in a simulation or real life, each individual shares the same goal of providing the best possible patient care.

What Brings Nurses Together

Nursing tends to be one of the only clinical professions where its members learn the roles of other health-care providers. Nurses, especially those who practice holistic care, also have the ability to assess the patient’s physical, emotional, and spiritual situation and draw upon available resources to create an individualized care plan.


If your coworker has more experience and confidence with starting an IV, and you have a patient with difficult veins, making them a “hard stick,” it would be better for the patient if you asked for assistance until you gain more experience.

So, should you decide to apply to our ABSN program and graduate in 16 months, you’ll want to keep these four tips in mind as you work to become a respected member of a health-care team:

1. Build rapport with your team members

As you enter the health-care workforce, you’ll want to get to know your colleagues and watch how they interact with one another. Be sure to inquire as to how each person contributes to the team and how your role will influence patient outcomes.

2. Believe in over-communicating

When you’re a nurse, never be shy about over-communicating. In fact, every last patient detail must be clearly communicated between you and your colleagues, especially during shift changes.

3. Be prepared to step in

When someone on your team calls off, it’s always a good idea to step up to the plate and fill in wherever necessary. Or, should there be a situation where a fellow nurse is struggling with his/her patient load, be a good team player by helping him/her out when possible.

4. Plan for every possible situation

When you’re a nurse, every day and every patient is different. Therefore, it’s important that you and your team have a plan in place for different patient care scenarios so that everyone can respond accordingly without hesitation.

Are You a Team Player?

If you follow the adage “two heads are better than one,” then you’ll want to take advantage of the interprofessional education opportunities available through our ABSN program. Get started by contacting our admissions team today!


  1. Sullivan, Mary PhD, RN, FAAN; D. Kiovsky, Richard MD, FAAFP; J. Mason, Diana PhD, RN, FAAN; D. Hill, Cordelia LMSW; Dukes, Carissa BGS. “Interprofessional Collaboration and Education.” American Journal of Nursing: March 2015 - Volume 115, Issue 3, pages 47–54.
  2. CFAR, Inc.; Jennifer Tomasik, SM, FACHE; Caitlyn Fleming. “Lessons from the Field: Promising Interprofessional Collaboration Practices.” Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: 2014, page 7.
  3. James JT. “A New, Evidence-based Estimate of Patient Harms Associated with Hospital Care.” Journal of Patient Safety. September 2013. 9(3): pages 122–128.
  4. CFAR, Inc.; Jennifer Tomasik, SM, FACHE; Caitlyn Fleming. “Lessons from the Field: Promising Interprofessional Collaboration Practices.” Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: 2014, pages 4-5.