Team Nursing Model: 3 Ways It Solves Hospital Workforce Issues

Last Updated on November 2, 2023

How the Team Nursing Care Delivery Model Helps Solve Hospital Workforce Issues

Use of the team nursing care delivery model has surged in recent years, especially in hospitals and acute care facilities. This is with good reason, given its reputation for improving efficiency, collaboration and outcomes. But just what does team nursing mean in the context of modern care delivery? Additionally, how can leaders use it to help solve some of their most pressing hospital workforce issues?

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A Closer Look at the Team Nursing Care Delivery Model

Team nursing is a care delivery model that groups a number of workers under the leadership of a single nurse. Usually an RN, that leader is known as the charge nurse. Next in command is the primary nurse, who’s also an RN, and who helps carry out the leader’s directions. The team is then filled out with a group of (usually) unlicensed assistants, aides and techs. 

This team works together every day as a single unit, in both general and specialized settings (like perioperative or pediatric care). By quickly delegating essential tasks to the most capable workers on a team, team nursing can provide patients with faster, more efficient care. It also helps improve communication with other clinical teams, such as physical and respiratory therapists.

Because of those benefits, the team nursing care delivery model has gained a lot of popularity in recent years. It’s not exactly a new concept, though! It was first developed back in World War II, and formally introduced as a formal care model in 1957 by Eleanor Lambersen. The team nursing modal was popular for a number of decades before falling largely out of use in the 1970s in favor of the primary care model.

But team nursing has made a comeback since the Covid-19 pandemic. Its emphasis on teamwork and communication has come in handy at a time when many facilities are short-staffed. As a result, more leaders use this model to drive efficiency and outcomes, and empower workers to deliver better care.

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How the Team Nursing Model Helps Solve Hospital Workforce Issues

a list of ways the team nursing care delivery model helps solve healthcare workforce challenges on blue gradient background, including increasing effiiciency, reducing burnout, and improving patient outcomes

As opposed to the primary care model, where a single nurse coordinates care and communicates with the doctor and other clinicians, team nursing is built on collaboration.

As such, it helps engage nurses in their work, which can promote a greater sense of teamwork and job satisfaction. In turn, this can help boost retention at a time when that’s one of the major hospital workforce issues facing employers.

Supporting Employee Retention, Job Satisfaction & Staff Development

Indeed, retention and job satisfaction have become even more urgent hospital workforce issues since the pandemic. Subsequently, the team nursing care delivery model can help address them in other ways, too. For instance, it helps train assistants in specialized nursing duties, which offers them career fulfillment and advancement opportunities.

By emphasizing the strength of each team member, team nursing helps drive greater efficiency in the workplace. It helps promote a learning environment and mentorship among workers, too, which can improve engagement and job satisfaction. Additionally, helping define each workers’ skillset can help optimize future workforce planning and recruitment efforts.

Helping Create a Nimbler, More Flexible Post-Acute Workforce

Embracing the team nursing care delivery model can also help hospitals and acute care departments stay nimble during difficult times. Indeed, the need to use labor more efficiently during the Covid-19 pandemic has been a driving factor behind team nursing’s comeback.

“The move to a team style of patient care allows for the redeployment of staff from other areas to assist in the care of critically ill patients with COVID-19,” as Linda Cassidy, PhD, APRN, CCNS, CCRN-K pointed out for the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN). She also points out that the Society of Critical Care Medicine’s Covid-19 resource book is based on a team-based framework.

Driving Patient Outcomes, Satisfaction and Referrals

The improvement in collaboration and engagement offered by team nursing doesn’t just drive job satisfaction, but also better outcomes across the organization, too. By more efficiently communicating and sharing responsibilities, nurses can focus more on patient care — a win/win for workers and patients.

This focus doesn’t just help drive outcomes, but it can also lead to improvements in the patient experience. In turn, this can drive patient satisfaction and word-of-mouth referrals, which can support financial sustainability and revenue growth. At a time when hospital workforce issues may seem difficult to manage, those are important benefits for any healthcare workforce.

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At CareerStaff Unlimited, we specialize in helping hospitals and other healthcare employers meet their workforce needs. Whether it’s onboarding the personnel needed to kick off a team nursing care delivery model or a variety of other jobs, we’re proud to deliver the healthcare workforce solutions your organization needs to meet both your immediate needs and long-term strategy.

Learn how our industry-leading workforce solutions can help your team: Contact us here for more info or to set up a consultation.

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