Be Part of a Winning Team for Your Patients

By: Martha Tice MS, RN, ACHPN, Clinical Nursing Editorial Director,

Martha Tice

Joan was so short of breath from end-stage pulmonary disease she could barely get the words out: “This is the best care I have ever had!”

During my 15-year career in hospice and palliative care, I heard many variations of those words from patients and families. It didn’t matter the age they were or the disease process bringing their lives to a close, people were amazed that their physician, nurse, social worker, chaplain and aide all listened to what was important to them, worked together to manage symptoms and achieve a sense of completion in relationships with family and friends. Most importantly allowing them to validate the meaning and purpose of the lives they had lived.

When I ask myself why people identified their last weeks and months of life as a time of quality care, I believe the answer lies not just in the expert use of medications, treatments, grief counseling and anticipatory teaching about what to expect as their disease progresses, but also in the way the care is provided—as an interprofessional team. You have likely heard the terms multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary.

Entering stage right is a new actor: continuing interprofessional education. It has emerged as the term used to identify a method of educating professionals together to deliver better care. The goal is to develop team members who understand and value one another’s strengths. The result is a collaborative approach to working with patients and families to address the goals of care they have identified.

In addition to wanting to provide excellent care, all of us are also consumers of healthcare. So if you want to know more about ways to improve care for yourself and your patients, take a look at some of the courses I highly recommend.

Courses to improve care for yourself and your patients:

Hospice and Palliative Care: Right Patient, Right Time, Right Place
Clear up misconceptions about hospice. It isn’t a “place,” and people don’t have to be “old” or have cancer to benefit from hospice services. 

Working With an Interprofessional Team
Check out the evidence for improved care when healthcare providers learn and practice as interprofessional teams.

Common Fallacies About Cancer Pain
Clear up myths that can prevent good pain management for your patients. When the whole team operates with the latest knowledge, good things can happen!

Noninvasive Positive Pressure Ventilation Requires Healthcare Team Spirit
Find out which of your patient’s could benefit from this therapy and potentially improve the quality of their life.

Welcome to — leading the conversation about nurses’ professional lives, news and ideas. Follow our blog and be where the nurses are.

2 Responses to Be Part of a Winning Team for Your Patients

  1. John Ray says:

    Interesting thoughts on end of life care. I think the quality/quantity of care could be part of the reason for patients positive views on care during this time. I agree wholeheartedly with the courses you recommend for improving care of patients you listed. Thanks!

  2. Becky says:

    I decided to become a CNA a few years ago so I could help people when they got towards the end of their life. It is so fulfilling to know that you can make a difference. I just try to be there for them.

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