Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Tapestry of Nurse Collaboration

If you listen at all to RNFM Radio, you'll know that myself and my co-host Kevin Ross are very keen on the promotion of collaboration among nurses and nurse entrepreneurs, not to mention everyone else on the planet.

This post is part of the ongoing "Nursing Blog Carnival" that's being hosted this week on the blog over at, so please head over there to read the rest of the submissions on this very worthy topic of collaboration in nursing.

What Is Collaboration? 

According to Merriam Webster's online dictionary, one definition of the word collaborate is "to work jointly with others or together especially in an intellectual endeavor". This sounds great, and as far as nurses are concerned, this particular definition is perfect for our purposes. 

Collaboration and cooperation are, in my mind, a hallmark of human society. While many of us humans don't exactly play nice (think Bernie Madoff, or Whitey Bulger the gangster), many human endeavors couldn't possibly happen without collaboration. 

Could a skyscraper be built if the carpenters, plumbers and welders didn't collaborate? Could a car be manufactured if everyone on the assembly line just did whatever they want? Could a meal be cooked in the restaurant kitchen if no one listened to one another in the creation of a meal? Could a plane land if the pilots refused to collaborate with the air traffic controllers? I could go on and on, but I think you get the point.

So, if collaboration means that we're working jointly, then almost anything that a nurse can do in the course of his or her day is an aspect of collaboration.

Some Examples of Nurses Engaging in Collaboration

When nurses give one another report, they're collaborating on the care of a patient. And if a nurse is meeting with the physical therapist, surgeon, speech pathologist and discharge planner, that group must by nature collaborate in order to maximize patient care and facilitate the course of treatment and eventual discharge. 

Providing care in a patient's home, the home health nurse collaborates with the patient and his or her family in order to arrange appropriate care for that patient. 

In the entrepreneurial space that I inhabit more and more frequently, I collaborate with many nurses, not least of all my RNFM Radio co-host and business partner, Kevin Ross of Innovative Nurse. Nurse entrepreneurs need one another, be it for strategic partnerships, joint ventures, co-promotion and cross-promotion, as well as simple peer-to-peer support. 

From my vantage point, nurse entrepreneurs are feverishly embracing collaboration, and I can't say how thrilled I am to see such  (nearly) universal collaboration and cooperation among so-called "nursepreneurs". 

Nurses collaborate as clinicians, researchers, writers, artists, filmmakers and administrators. We collaborate as a natural aspect of our training and education. We need each other. 

A Seamless Tapestry

Indeed, there's no end to how we can collaborate as nurses. In fact, this very blog carnival is an exercise in ongoing collaboration, with a different nurse blogger hosting each edition of the carnival, choosing a theme or subject, and then weaving the various posts that have been submitted into a seamless tapestry or narrative. 

So, my friends, let's continue  to weave this tapestry of nursing collaboration. What could be more symbiotic, a veritable living metaphor for the ways in which nurses work together for the good of the whole? 

We're the threads and we're the weaver, but we're also the loom and the fabric itself. 

Tell me how you weave your life and work with other nurses, and let's share our stories and our love of collaboration. There's no end to what we can do together.


This post was written as part of the Nurse Blog Carnival. If you are interested in participating find out more details and sign up here.
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