Over the last decade, patient care has become more complex due to the increase of multiple chronic conditions in people of all ages. This growing complexity of patient care, combined with an ongoing nursing shortage and healthcare reimbursement that is heavily reliant on patient satisfaction, has required nurse leaders to look for creative ways to solve these problems.
Team-based nursing shows promise for addressing these issues and many others. Additionally, a Registered Nurse (RN) to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree program can equip you with the knowledge and skills to directly improve patient care in your community.
What Is Team-Based Nursing?
In team-based nursing, groups of professionals collaborate to plan, execute and evaluate patient-centered care. Group members work together toward a common goal to provide safe, high-quality nursing care.
The most common group configuration usually involves pairing a licensed nurse with unlicensed, assistive personnel or an experienced nurse with a novice nurse.
The roles and responsibilities related to team-based nursing may vary greatly according to patient acuity, number of patients, type of hospital unit or floor and hospital.
How Can Team-Based Nursing Benefit Patients?
Team-based nursing care results in improved outcomes for both nurses and patients. Research shows “nurse satisfaction is increased when team nursing is used because nurses feel supported, the environment is collaborative, and staff communication improves.” In turn, higher rates of nursing satisfaction often result in higher quality patient care, fewer medication errors and greater nursing productivity.
Aside from improved nursing satisfaction, studies show that team-based nursing improves continuity of care as well as other aspects of patient safety. For example, one transitional care unit (TCU) noted there were no patient fall incidents during the three months this team-based nursing care model was implemented. Because there is more than one nurse assigned to a patient with team nursing, patients receive continuous care coverage, which may also account for this reduction in patient falls.
In addition to these patient care benefits, the flexibility of team-based nursing allows the healthcare team to reach its greatest potential and manage the care of more patients.
How Can Team-Based Nursing Benefit Nurses and Other Healthcare Professionals?
In addition to job satisfaction, team-based nursing also provides mentorship opportunities. Novice nurses require support and mentorship from more experienced nurses to develop their skills and confidence. Research shows that team nursing provides “an increased level of support for less experienced staff, improving their confidence in providing nursing care.”
Team-based nursing also results in nursing staff collaboration and a share of responsibility for patient care due to a team’s variation of skills, education and experience. This means greater peer accountability among staff team members.
This may also be an effective nursing care model when patient acuity or the number of patients increases, but the number of skilled nurses caring for this patient population is limited, much like the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Team-based nursing is a positive patient care model all around. Nurses feel more supported and satisfied with their jobs, while novice nurses have mentors to look to for their expertise and knowledge. Team-based nursing increases productivity, helps patients receive higher quality care and prevents patient safety incidents. Additionally, the entire nursing team can collaborate while maximizing the individual scope of practice using a mix of skills, knowledge and experience to care for a larger group of patients.