Valuing teamwork: Insights from newly-registered nurses working in specialist mental health services

Authors


  • Michelle Cleary, RN, PhD.

  • Jan Horsfall, PhD.

  • Judy Mannix, RN, BEd (Nsg), MN (Hons).

  • Maureen O'Hara-Aarons, RN, MN.

  • Debra Jackson, RN, PhD.

Michelle Cleary, Family and Community Health Research Group, School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Western Sydney, Locked Bag 1797, Penrith South DC, NSW 1797, Australia. Email: m.cleary@uws.edu.au

ABSTRACT

In this qualitative study, the experiences of a small cohort of registered nurses (RN) during the first 2 years of mental health employment were documented. A total of 13 semistructured interviews were completed from within a specialist mental health setting. Eleven issues were identified: (i) teamwork; (ii) experiential learning; (iii) self-development; (iv) confidence; (v) listening; (vi) rapport; (vii) keen observation; (viii) patience; (ix) empathy; (x) learning from colleagues; and (xi) maintaining a positive approach towards patients. The nurses focused on the here-and-now circumstances, rather than on future plans, or past preparation, and were able to elucidate the qualities and skills that they brought to their clinical work. Participants were most proud of achievements that bridged the personal and professional, such as self-development, working closely with patients to develop rapport, experiential learning, and teamwork. Findings highlight the importance of teamwork to newly-graduated RN entering the mental health environment. It is known that teamwork can convey a sense of belonging and help create an environment in which applied experiential clinical learning can occur. Therefore, it is important that efforts are made to facilitate team building and opportunities for teamwork when new graduates are transitioning into the mental health clinical practice environment.

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