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  1. Section Editor(s): Laskowski-Jones, Linda MS, RN, ACNS-BC, CEN, FAWM

Article Content

The longer I practice nursing, the more I appreciate people with well-developed abilities to collaborate. When we collaborate effectively, we're better able to accomplish just about anything that we set out to do. I equate successful collaboration with getting everyone on board a boat to row in the same direction-and actually enjoy the experience.

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Collaboration is all about being able to form strong partnerships with people. Accordingly, partnerships are founded on the ability to develop constructive relationships. We all learn about the need to build effective nurse-patient relationships as part of our professional education, but what about the value of forming positive working relationships with coworkers, leaders, and other members of the interdisciplinary health team? These relationships are equally important.


As nurses, we have significant opportunities to serve as role model collaborators to bridge gaps in our healthcare system and improve patient care delivery. Collaboration is a skill to be developed and valued. We have an obligation to mentor colleagues who may not appreciate their own pivotal role in forming collaborative relationships.


It's no surprise that some among us work well with other nurses but not as well with physicians or other health professionals. There are also nurses who form strong alliances with coworkers within their own work unit but who don't necessarily see the value of collaborating with personnel from outside departments. Then there's the minority (thankfully) who don't feel compelled to get along with anyone and believe their only duty is to come to work and take care of their own patients. We need to set different expectations.


The American Nurses Association has identified the need to form positive working relationships and to collaborate in the updated Code of Ethics for Nurses with Interpretive Statements.1 This document serves as the ethical framework for nursing practice in the United States. Being collaborative requires competency development in intra- and interdisciplinary conflict resolution and the ability to connect with people. Well executed, it promotes a healthy and positive work culture.


The bottom line is that we need much more of it in our ranks. It's time we collectively raise the bar and expect nothing less.


Until next time,


Linda Laskowski-Jones, MS, RN, ACNS-BC, CEN, FAWM

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Editor-in-Chief, Nursing2015 Vice President: Emergency & Trauma Services Christiana Care Health System, Wilmington, Del.




1. American Nurses Association. Code of Ethics for Nurses with Interpretive Statements. 2015. http://www.nursingworld.org/DocumentVault/Ethics_1/Code-of-Ethics-for-Nurses.htm. [Context Link]