#Blogtober: Teamwork in Accident and Emergency Nursing

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03 / 10 / 2014 12.01am

By Matt Overy

#Blogtober Day: Friday 3 October

I would not be doing my job as a Staff Nurse in an Accident and Emergency department if it wasn’t for my colleagues.  Let me rephrase that – I couldn’t do my job.   It would be impossible.  I’m not talking about issues regarding staffing levels and the potential problems that arise from this though.  Instead I’m talking about the bond I have with my colleagues which enables me to do my job.  In short – they help me to keep going.  On days when I leave my work disheartened, exhausted and occasionally questioning my chosen vocation, they are one of the main reasons I go back the next day.  Aside from the satisfaction of being lucky enough to help people at potentially the scariest moments of their lives, it’s my co-workers that motivate me.

At the age of 34 I’ve have had a fair few jobs.  Teamwork was relevant throughout all of them.  Here it seems even more essential than ever.  My current job isn’t like Casualty or Holby City.  Story lines don’t get wrapped up neatly prior to the credits rolling.  No actors here. Real things happen.  Real people get sick, and real people die.  I’ve come to recognise the look that can appear across a person’s face when the realisation hits them that they’re about to lose a loved one forever.  However, good things do happen too as well, honest!

Good or bad – it’s about sharing them and experiencing them with people that understand.  I have often attempted to explain an occurrence at work to a loved one or friend and am met with a sympathetic nod accompanied by a vacant facial expression.  That’s not their fault by any means.  How could they know what it’s like? But my colleagues know.  When things get really tough at work, two pairs of eyes can meet across a department that’s bursting at the seams with a look that might say to me, “I know. I understand. We can do this.”

Not everyone is the best of friends obviously. That would be ridiculous and pretty much unheard of in any workplace environment anywhere. Not everybody agrees with how other people work either.  However, in the moments where it’s needed the most, everything falls into place.  I may work with someone who I have little in common with outside work, but they have taught me things which I will never forget.  It’s these things that I’ll take with me on whatever journey the nursing profession takes me.  

At the heart of this reflection is the realisation of the importance of supportive teamwork.  Being able to really lean on your co-workers and having awareness that you could be, and probably are, someone’s ‘leaning post’.  I believe that this makes us all equally important and responsible wherever we are on the professional ladder.  Teamwork goes far beyond simply performing mechanical tasks together to get the job done and I think this applies to any organisation out there.  Do you?

Matt Overy works for Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital Foundation Trust as a full time Staff Nurse in the Accident and Emergency department. You can connect with Matt via email address.

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