Are you relying on your nurse team too much?

Scenario 4
It’s five minutes before shift change when you notice an order to insert a Foley in your patient. You decide not to sign the order, leaving the task for the next shift to complete.
Your view: You don’t have time to insert the Foley. Reporting off and finishing your charting are more important.
Your team’s view: You are dumping your work on them at the start of their shift.
What you can do: No nurse likes to start off her shift with a mountain of leftover tasks, so make a conscious effort to avoid this common mistake. Get in the habit of reassessing your task list and checking for recent orders at least an hour before shift change. Make it an exception, not a generality, to leave a task, so your co-workers will understand and be willing to help.

Teamwork is important. However, nurses must recognize that over-reliance on a team can contribute to an unhealthy working environment. Respect professional boundaries and perform frequent self-checks to ensure your own proper balance of cooperation and independence as a team member.

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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

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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.