Are you relying on your nurse team too much?

iStockphoto + Scrubs

“Could you give 1143A a pain pill for me?” my co-worker called down the hall as she donned an isolation gown before heading into a patient’s room.

“Of course,” I replied, already on my way into the medication room.

Helping out your team is a common scenario for a staff nurse. Amid the chaos of the floor and the music of call lights, we rely on our fellow team members to assist in a bind. Passing pain pills, positioning patients, pulling foley catheters for another nurse…it’s all in a day’s work. But where do we draw the line? When do we need to ask: Are we relying too much on our nurse team?

Scenario 1
You’re a new nurse on a unit and you’ve been busy all day assisting the rest of the team. When your patient needs an IV started, you ask for help.
Your view: You’re not confident in starting IVs yet.
Your team’s view: You’ve been too busy playing Nurse Nightingale to pick up your own patient load.
What you can do: Address the situation with humor and acknowledge that you need some practice with IVs. Compliment your senior nurse on her experience: “I know after I spend some time down here, I’ll be able to start IVs as well as you. Would you mind helping me with this one so I can see your technique?”

Next: Scenario 2 →

Pages: 1 2 3 4 View All

, , , ,

Chaunie Marie Brusie, RN, BSN

Chaunie Marie Brusie, RN, BSN, graduated with her Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing exactly one week before delivering her daughter Ada Marie. Now working as a part-time nurse, taking an occasional class toward her master’s degree and chasing around daughter #2, Chaunie is pursuing a passion for writing. She blogs at

Post a Comment

You must or register to post a comment.

2 Responses to Are you relying on your nurse team too much?

  1. Mr. Dog

    This article seems to be less about over-reliance on your team, and more about being taken advantage of by your team. If I have spent a shift helping others out with their tasks, some quid pro quo is perfectly acceptable. If people get in a huff if you ask for a favor, after helping them all day, you need to assess how much help you provide to them in the first place.

  2. Nurse Rene

    Teamwork is what is is Supposed to be all about. And I agree with Mr. Dog: the article DOES seem to ‘miss’ with the title. There can never be too much TeamWork if the unit functions well and the patients’ needs are taken care of. That model which is called ‘Team Nursing’ is the most effective patient care delivery system that I have ever experienced. Everyone functions according to their abilities and the units’ Chain of Command is understood. It is usually the most equitable model as it is based on patient acuity and the fair division of assignments according to responsibility, skill and experience.