When working closely with people, it's inevitable to form many relationships. Nursing is one field where it helps to be a people person. On a daily basis, nurses not only interact regularly with patients but also doctors, hospital and office staff and their own managers. Each connection has a different dynamic, but a nurse must maintain professionalism regardless of her position in the chain of command because she is ultimately dealing with the lives and health of her patients.
Nurses and Managers
Especially in a health care environment, it's important for a nurse and her manager to work as a team. If this dynamic gets overly stressed, the welfare of patients is at risk. Petty fights and disharmony cannot be tolerated for long. Initiatives should be set from the top down to listen to and respect each others' ideas. Relationships work best between nurses and their managers when they play off one another's strengths and keep an open environment for learning.
Nurses and Doctors
A nurse-doctor professional relationship is one that can become strained if not tended to sufficiently. The dynamic that develops between the two can become stressful when there's a battle of wills involved. To avoid this, councils are arranged to bring these groups together to regularly discuss the ongoing importance of fostering a positive work culture between them. In addition, initiatives that encourage doctors and nurses to work together as a team and lead together, rather than in opposition to one another, work to make a healthier environment for everyone. Areas where this collaboration is encouraged are evaluating each others' performances and overseeing budgets and costs, as well as consciously adjusting behaviors between the two groups that have traditionally been strained. Efforts to respect the roles of doctors and nurses help this initiative.
Nurses and Patients
Perhaps one of the most delicate professional relationships nurses must balance is those with their patients. Bonds formed when taking care of others in inevitable, but boundaries must be set early on so that the nature of these connections are not confusing. The nurse is the professional in the relationship between her and a patient, so it is her responsibility to set the rules. Nurses should avoid talking too much about their personal lives, any hint of flirtation or participating in treatments that are beyond their scope of care.
Nurses and Staff
When working in a hospital or clinical setting, nurses interact professionally with members of the office staff. On a daily basis, nurses come in contact with receptionists, lab technicians and cleaning personnel. In order to keep a cohesive environment that is focused on the well-being of patients, nurses need to know how to be personable and work well with all staff members. Even home nurses eventually interact with individuals other than their patients, such as schedulers who send them on assignments.
- American Nurses Association: ANA/AONE Principles for Collaborative Relationships Between Clinical Nurses and Nurse Manager
- National Council of State Boards of Nursing: A Nurse's Guide to Professional Boundaries
- Hospital Impact: Tips to Optimize Doc-Nurse Relationships
- Center for Advancing Health: Your Doctor's Office, Demystified
- Jupiterimages/Stockbyte/Getty Images
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