Teamwork and Teambuilding in Nursing Essay
Various scholars present varying viewpoints regarding the viability of the term emotional intelligence (EI) as a subdivision of the overall description of intelligence. While some argue that emotional intelligence is a variant of intelligence as cognitive intelligence, which is measurable via the intelligence quotient (IQ), others argue that it is more of an ability or skill set that one can develop and improve on over time (Locke, 2005). However, most scholars agree on different components that essentially define the concept of emotional intelligence. One of the most comprehensive descriptions of the term defines emotional intelligence as the ability to discern emotions, whether positive or negative, understand them, manage them, and use them to ones advantage, regardless of whether they are ones own or belonging to others (Payne, 1986).
Goleman (1998) presents a concise integrated model, viz. the mixed model, which comprises a wide variety of skills and qualifications that are definitive in people exhibiting sufficient emotional intelligence. EI is inherent in every individual, thus presenting a justification for the ability to develop skills and qualifications relative to the concept. The mixed model consists of five main assessment areas namely self-awareness, self-regulation, empathy, social skill, and motivation (Goleman, 1998). These assessment markers provide individuals with a roadmap to assess their skills and competencies accordingly and establish strengths and weaknesses in addition to employing adequate measures to improve on weak points and enhance the overall EI. Some of the main points that define strength include self-reliance, emotional awareness, objectivity, and impulse control while weaknesses consist of elements such as low achievement drive, poor group orientation, difficulties in adaptability, and contentment.
Emotional intelligence: support for teamwork and teambuilding in nursing
One of the ways that emotional intelligence helps in the development of teamwork in nursing is through its provision of that allow nurses to understand themselves as individuals. The importance of this element originates from the tendency of personal decisions to affect others, especially in a setting where individuals need to accomplish tasks as a team, as is the case with healthcare institutions. According Buckingham (2001), a clear understanding of issues that elicit emotional responses for different individuals is essential for the establishment of objectivity in the decision-making process. Buckingham (2001) explains that the professional longing to achieve objectivity in the execution of ones duties needs to identify emotions and analyse their effects on those around an individual before making decisions, which in most cases are critical in healthcare. This aspect ensures that a nurses personal problems or experiences do not cloud his or her judgment when formulating strategic plans with other healthcare professionals.
Secondly, emotional intelligence allows nurses to understand others working in the same team. The importance of understanding other individuals within a professional work environment is that it allows one the opportunity to objectively identify and select members of the staff that best match their own individuality when forming a team. In instances where a nurse lacks the luxury to pick a team with which to work, understanding others allows the individual to conduct amicable relations for the sake of proper execution of tasks, the health of the patients, and the reputation of the institution. For instance, in a situation where an introvert has to work with a sociable individual in the same team, it is important for the introvert to understand that the sociability is part of an individuals character that cannot easily change. The introvert thus learns to identify characteristics of the extrovert that irritate him or her and dissociate with them when making group decisions. Understanding others also allows nurses working within a team setting to delegate tasks according to individual skill sets. For instance, sociable individuals work better in client-relation situations, while individuals with introverted tendencies prefer paper work to socialisations. Further, the identification of weaknesses enables members in the same team to create a support mechanism that allows individuals to address their weaknesses appropriately.
Lastly, emotional intelligence enhances communication skills for nurses, regardless of their preferred mode of communication. Although the mixed model categorises self-reliance as an indication of individual strength, it also notes the importance of teamwork through the identification of poor group orientation as a weakness. According to Mintzberg (2008), a team cannot be effective without proper communication because it facilitates the dissemination of communication when needed. Mintzberg (2008) further explains that in order to foster proper communication, individuals need to be aware of their personal communication mannerisms and discern those of other individuals working in the same team before formulating a communication strategy such as the formation of an information chain or system. Mintzberg (2008) also mentions the existence of different modes of communication of which individuals should be aware. While some people apply the use of body language such as hand gestures more often, others prefer a direct approach such as verbal communication. Understanding the reasons why people prefer certain methods is essential in establishing methods of communicating with them or interventions, in cases where such individuals indicate the need for help in establishing efficient and effective communication habits.
Maintenance of quality care
Like most professions, nursing requires the maintenance of quality standards in the execution or everyday duties in healthcare institutions. However, unlike most other professions, the level of quality also matters, as it is often a determinant factor for the establishment of life or death situations. For this reason, healthcare institutions have ethical codes of conduct that serve as guidelines on mannerisms that are permissible and those that are punishable by law in case any breaches occur. Formulators of codes of ethics understand that every individual operates by different perceptions of right and wrong and strike a balance in order to ease the decision-making process, especially in situations regarding chronic care patients. Strict compliance with codes of ethics is the main way through which nurses can enforce the highest standards in quality care. A good example of a rule that most healthcare facilities enforce in the codes of ethics is maintaining proper patient records, regardless of the duties that one has for the day. The rule ensures that patients get the right medication as per the physicians instructions, at the right time and in the right dosage, and prevents mishaps that may cost a life and a huge financial burden on the hospital or both (Glass, 2010). The second important element in this discussion is the creation and maintenance of relationships with patients. This aspect eases tasks such as record keeping and it builds the hospitals reputation as one that offers quality standards of healthcare for patients, both financially and personally (Stagnitti, Schoo & Welch, 2010).
Personal care and care for peers
According to Chang and Daly (2012), nurses need to and help their peers do so, as part of the methods that lead to the achievement of effective safety cultures in hospitals and other healthcare institutions. Safety culture is a constituent of the organisational culture for most professions and it involves the adoption of behaviours that serve to prevent accidents at the work place. The safety culture process requires programming of behaviour during the performance of everyday tasks in order to avoid accidental occurrences of some incidents. One of the easiest methods of avoiding accidents in healthcare facilities for nurses is through getting enough sleep after long shifts. According to Stanley (2010), apart from the application of scientific innovations in the medical practice, all medical practitioners, including nurses, should ensure that they perform their duties during periods when they can focus best in a bid to avoid costly mishaps.
Lack of enough sleep often causes irrational thinking, irritability, and forgetfulness, all of which are primary causes of accidents in hospitals. It is also a good idea to help fellow nurses who get too much to handle on days when one is not very busy. Not only is it a gesture of kindness, it also builds valuable relationships, generates reciprocity, and prevents the occurrence of accidents. Exercise is important in fatigue prevention, which is another major cause of accidents in health institutions. Conducting group exercise activities makes the task executable and ensures that nurses have enough energy and proper blood circulation, both of which are important in ensuring healthy brain activity nurses require to make objective decisions.