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  • Nursing: Cooperation makes it happen.

    Author: Health Times

Collaborative care is a healthcare model which aims to improve patient outcomes through inter-professional cooperation. It's a model that's becoming increasingly popular across all health sectors, as medical professionals increasingly understand the importance of a holsicitic approach to health. 

Collaborative care usually includes a primary or tertiary care team working with allied health professionals – such as dieticians, physiotherapists or mental health professionals – or other medical specialists. 

Effective collaboration encourages patients, families and healthcare providers to be active participants in the treatment process which in turn promotes improved quality outcomes, improvements in patient experience, patient safety, and effective use of resources.

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Some of the hallmarks of collaborative care involve prioritising patients, commitments from those in leadership positions to ensure inter-professional collaboration, effective communication across the team, and contributions from practitioners who are all equally and highly experienced (1).

The role of nurses in collaborative care

Nurses are the only clinical professionals who are specially trained to understand the roles of other healthcare providers, this training provides a strong foundation for successful collaboration.

Effective communication is critical for a collaborative care plan to work; nurses are trained to have adaptability, empathy, and communication skills, which allows for them to be excellent leaders and members of a care team.

Nurses’ ability to understand and assess a patient’s clinical, emotional, and social needs can help them to call upon available resources and create a patient-focused care plan. As nurses are offering direct patient care around the clock, they have a unique and focused view of how that care should be provided.

Nurses can be role models in their honest and open communication with team members about the quality of patient care which is being provided and the work environment.

The benefits of collaborative nursing

The ‘Ways Of Working In Nursing, Resource Package’ issued by New South Wales Government outlines the following ways in which collaborative nursing can be beneficial for nurses (2);

  • Allows nurses from various backgrounds and levels of expertise to perform their duties effectively
  • Ensures that temporary staff and ‘transitioning to practice’ nurses have improved supervision by senior nursing staff
  • Takes advantage of knowledge and experience of each team members, which also leads to professional development and increased knowledge for junior staff
  • Reduction in staff isolation and a more supportive working environment
  • Patient outcomes and satisfaction is improved
  • Individual team members can familiarise themselves with each other’s skills and capacities
  • Significantly reduced risk of missed care (any patient care which is omitted or delayed)
  • The workload is shared which can reduce nurse stress levels and potential manual handling injuries
  • Increased job satisfaction and morale
  • Nursing duties are made easier if team members are working together in a close environment and can assist and support one another

Collaborative care has proven to be highly beneficial for nurses, patients and overall performance of healthcare teams by increasing patient safety and also providing nurses with valuable healthcare experience and insight.

Such outcomes can only suggest that the use of collaborative healthcare teams will increase in numbers across hospitals around the country to provide optimal services to patients in the future.



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