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 →

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