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5 Traits of a Collaborative Nurse

Knowing how to collaborate well is one of the keys to a successful nursing career.

Few people achieve success alone. In healthcare, this is doubly true. Often, teams of nurses, physicians, technicians, and administrators must work together to make patient care effective and efficient. If you’re thinking about starting or advancing a nursing career, learning how to collaborate on a team can make you more valuable and successful.

What does it take to be a good collaborator? Here are five traits you should cultivate:

5 Traits of a Collaborative Nurse

If you’re going to work well on a team, you must be comfortable with and accepting of diversity. It’s highly unlikely everyone you’re collaborating with will share your race, ethnicity, political views, religion, and cultural preferences. Instead of worrying about differences, recognize that a diversity of backgrounds and opinions can help your team develop new ideas and/or avoid groupthink.

Do you know your own strengths and weaknesses? You should. When you understand what you’re good at and where you struggle, you can maximize your usefulness to the team. Additionally, make an effort to understand your own biases. If you have ingrained attractions or aversions to certain ideas, therapies, or methods of patient care, make sure you know where those attractions/aversions come from, and be ready to defend or reconsider your positions if others on the team feel differently.

Nobody is perfect. And no one agrees with everyone all the time. For a collaboration to work, you have to accept that people will make mistakes and that conflicts will arise. The right way to handle a mistake is to help correct the error and help make sure similar errors don’t occur in the future. In the case of conflict, disagreement can be productive, but only if you treat conflict as an opportunity to make the team and the work better. In many instances, a smart compromise can be the best path forward.

Collaboration takes agreement, and agreement takes time. Even in an urgent medical matter, it’s important to remain patient and allow the collaboration to come together. Getting annoyed can create unhelpful conflicts and/or cause others to withhold their ideas, which might cause your team to miss a potential diagnosis, treatment option, or solution to the issue at hand.

In a productive collaboration, a great idea/realization can show up at any moment. This is particularly true in fast-moving medical situations. In order for your team to succeed, you have to be ready and able to adjust on the fly. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t speak up if you think an idea is bad, but it does mean you shouldn’t hold onto an earlier idea/plan out of stubbornness.

How Else Can You Improve Your Nursing Skills?

Being able to collaborate is just one of the many skills you need in order to go far in your nursing career. Experience will help you acquire some of these skills but, ultimately, if you want to put yourself in position for the best jobs and nursing salaries, you’ll need to head to nursing school and earn a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree.

With a master’s degree in nursing, you can gain the skills and knowledge you need to become an APRN (such as a nurse practitioner), a nurse educator, or a leader at your hospital or clinic. That’s what makes entering a master’s in nursing program such an excellent choice—and thanks to online education, making that choice is more convenient than ever.

When you enroll in an online MSN program, you don’t have to move or limit your work to earn your degree. Instead, you can complete the majority of your MSN nursing coursework from home, on a flexible schedule that allows you to attend classes at whatever time of day works best for you. This level of convenience is why earning a master’s in nursing online has become increasingly popular among working adults.

In fact, one of the most popular MSN programs in the nation is at Walden University, which provides an exceptional online learning environment and a teaching faculty that’s 100% doctorally prepared. No other school graduates more MSN students than Walden.* The university even offers and RN to MSN online option that makes it more possible than ever to go from your RN to MSN. If you want to acquire the skills you need to succeed as a nurse, earning a master’s of science in nursing from Walden is an excellent idea.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering a Master of Science in Nursing degree program online. Expand your career options and earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.

*Source: National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) IPEDS database. Retrieved July 2017, using CIP code 51.3801 (Registered Nursing/Registered Nurse). Includes 2016 preliminary data.

Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,