A nursing career can provide job security, competitive wages and excellent benefits. Those are attractions for many who enter the profession. In addition, nurses can also earn respect, appreciation and recognition – from colleagues, patients and the community at large.
One of the most important factors in helping nurses achieve their mission of providing optimal patient care while striving for personal and professional fulfillment is their ability to develop workplace allies.
The Importance of Support
Although support is important for any nurse, it is vital for new nurses struggling with the transition from student to professional. The healthcare team may have high expectations for a new graduate at a time when the nurse feels overwhelmed with responsibility and lacks confidence in decision-making and problem-solving skills.
The ability to develop a relationship with an ally, a colleague who provides assistance and support, can mean the difference between a nurse feeling comfortable or insecure.
Trust is the foundation of this alliance. Nurses must know their allies will understand their workplace emotions and struggles and respond with support and empathy. This trust enables a new nurse to ask questions, discuss weaknesses and admit to feelings of inadequacy while accepting guidance and advice from like-minded colleagues.
Many institutions offer recent-grad programs, internships or preceptors. A new nurse can be paired with an experienced RN who functions as an educator, assists with building clinical and critical-thinking skills and serves as a sounding board. Another benefit is the opportunity to develop friendships and camaraderie with other nurses, which can help foster a positive professional environment.
Developing Professional Alliances
Building a professional alliance requires time, effort and commitment if the RN’s personal work mission is to be attained and the healthcare organization’s ultimate goal of better patient care achieved. There are numerous ways to develop these alliances, including:
- Communicating effectively to facilitate the movement of information, opinions and support among colleagues
- Treating colleagues as equals regardless of their position
- Exhibiting professionalism in all relationships and not engaging in gossip or the discussion of personal matters with colleagues
- Promoting planning and strategizing to meet mission goals
- Demonstrating a strong work ethic and a willingness to do more than is expected
- Supporting colleagues’ ideas and personal missions when they are in agreement with the organization’s mission
- Being dependable and trustworthy when making commitments to colleagues and patients
- Resolving conflict as soon as possible to maintain progress toward mission goals
- Acting honestly and respectfully in all professional relationships to build strong collaborations and promote a positive work environment.
Many demands are placed on RNs as they strive to fulfill their personal mission and that of the healthcare organization. Nurses who develop strong allies may find that a stressful work environment becomes more manageable when they are part a cohesive team of colleagues with shared personal missions.
By enlisting the support and understanding of colleagues, nurses can better manage perceived inadequacies and lack of confidence. In turn, those professional alliances can improve the performance of the nurse and the healthcare organization.