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DiversityNursing Blog

Elitism in Nursing: Breaking the Stigma to Enhance Teamwork

Posted by Sarah West APRN, FNP-BC

Wed, Jun 12, 2024 @ 09:17 AM

Elitism in Nursing, a long-standing and pervasive issue, has been a source of significant problems across all areas of our profession. It often manifests as unspoken or assumed, leading to bullying, belittling, and an exclusive mentality. While experience is crucial for training and developing new Nurses, it can also breed a sense of superiority if not kept in check.

The truth is that elitism has no place in our noble profession. The key to our success lies in our ability to function as a team. By replacing elitism with teamwork, we can foster an inclusive and collaborative culture where every member is valued and respected for their unique contributions.

Read on to discover how we, as Nurses, can enhance teamwork and eradicate elitism, paving the way for a more harmonious and effective work environment.

Promote a Culture of Inclusivity: Recognizing and appreciating the importance of every Nursing role, from LPNs to APRNs, is essential to promoting a culture of inclusivity in the workplace. It is always important to highlight each Nursing role's unique contributions to patient care.

Nurses should strive to encourage a diverse workforce and celebrate the differences in each Nursing professional's background, education, and experience as strengths to be learned from rather than a source of division.

Encourage Open Communication: Encouraging open communication by ensuring that all meetings and discussions involve input from all Nursing staff levels is essential to promoting teamwork and reducing elitism. To facilitate open communication, it is important to establish systems for regular feedback so that all Nurses can express their concerns and use their voices to suggest improvements without fear of retribution.

When Nurses feel as though they can express their questions, concerns, or feedback freely without the fear of retaliation or retribution, elitism will become extinct.

Recognizing and Rewarding Teamwork: The best way to promote teamwork is to recognize and reward the team for their achievements rather than individual accomplishments. Celebrating milestones and successes as collective efforts can help further promote teamwork and emphasize the importance of teamwork over the elitism mentality.

Maintain Focus on Patient-Centered Care: To eradicate elitism in the workplace, the entire Nursing team must share the same goal of providing high-quality, patient-centered care. Collaboration and teamwork must be emphasized to achieve the best patient outcomes.

Collaboration between all healthcare disciplines is essential to creating a holistic approach to patient care. When the team works together, and all healthcare providers feel heard and respected, patients receive the best possible care.

Address Power Imbalances: Power imbalances must be addressed to snuff out the elitist mentality in Nursing. Implementing transparent policies regarding job roles, responsibilities, and advancement opportunities can help reduce the perceived power imbalances we often encounter in the workplace.

If power imbalances are noticed, proper conflict resolution is essential to ensure that issues related to elitism are addressed constructively and do not result in further bullying or belittling of other Nursing professionals.

Elitism has no place in the Nursing profession. While it may be true that some of the older generations of Nurses may ‘eat their young,’ this is not a trend we should continue as more generations of Nurses join the field. By implementing these proven strategies, we can promote teamwork, collaboration, and mutual respect, significantly improving the Nursing environment and, most importantly, patient care.

Topics: teamwork, teamwork in nursing, healthcare team, elitism, nursing team

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