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Cultivating Collaboration

1. Create A Collaborative Culture

The Positvity Cycle

Everyone has a role to play: RN Jennifer Ahlstrom, Nurse Manager John Cooper and EMT Nate Roll develop smarter ED solutions by working together.

Connecting people, departments, units and buildings to create truly innovative nursing ideas

No one can build a thriving academic medical center alone. One bold idea must be combined with others, built upon and refined to create the kind of solutions that break through the clutter and change things. Simply put, innovation takes teamwork.

But how do you create a place where thousands of nurses, physicians and staff can put aside their individual priorities and work together for the greater good of the institution and, ultimately, the patient?

Embrace change

It starts with the individuals themselves. It’s the leader who embraces change—from the CNO who encourages her staff to take calculated risks to the charge nurse who proposes a brand-new solution to an age-old problem. It’s the nurse who transcends traditional boundaries, working with everyone from housekeepers to medical directors to transform the patient experience. And it’s the medical assistant who knows that his voice will be heard, his ideas can effect change and his contributions will be recognized.

Nurture collaboration

So how do you get these stellar people on your team? You start by offering a clear vision of what you want the future to look like. Then, you remove any barriers that stand in the way of that future. By giving your employees the gift of trust, they can learn by doing, gain self confidence, create innovative solutions and take ownership of the results. Bolstered by their own success and personal growth, they give back the gift of accountability saying, “you can count on me,” and showing your organization that they mean it. We call this process the Positivity Cycle.

Collaboration drives results.

Decreased nursing floor charges housewide.

We’ve seen this Positivity Cycle pay off in incredible new ways this year—from creative business ideas that have saved our organization millions of dollars to patient-centered initiatives that have boosted our overall satisfaction scores to the 95th percentile. Read on for specific ideas and stories that can help you create a collaborative culture—and transform your nursing department.

Build innovation

There are concrete steps you can take to build your own nursing dream team. Here are the basics of what we’ve discovered—and put to the test—in our own organization:

  • Hire for attitude and train for the technical components of the role.
  • Set high expectations and measure outcomes.
  • Have and show confidence in the team’s ability to drive change.
  • Do not dictate the methods; provide leeway for creativity and innovation. If the team creates the solution, they will own it and will make it successful.
  • Make it okay to make mistakes.
  • Publically reward and recognize great work, and always give credit to the team.
  • Trust the team to come up with the right solution—they will surprise you with solutions that you would have never imagined!

What does accountability mean to you? Hear our leaders share their experiences in creating an accountable culture—and share your own ideas with our community.