By Emma Wright MACN, Stage Two Emerging Nurse Leader
I started my grad year in August 2020, right in the midst of a global pandemic. In Melbourne, this was the time when we were just about to hit the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
We all know the transition from student to nurse is a steep and, at times, a rocky one. Knowing I’d be making this transition during a global pandemic, I had prepared myself for additional challenges and complexities —just not those associated with PPE and a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic!
Relationships, connections and non-verbal communication are vital to great teamwork, but they were hard to maintain while attempting to keep a 1.5-metre distance. Thanks to social distancing, most of the usual tearoom banter was gone, heightening my sense of isolation. Throw in a mask and a shield, put on a gown and you begin to see the issue…
Thankfully, the other grads on my ward had a group chat where we could check in on each other and share our nerves about starting our new role. Additionally, during the times I was able to talk to other staff, I engaged with and got to know about their lives outside of work. These were just some of the ways I built work relationships during the challenging circumstances of the pandemic.
I have been fortunate to meet some incredible nurses and I have noticed that the team dynamic has a huge impact on my shift. When I am working with nurses, I have a connection with I am confident that we will help each other out. Even during crazy shifts when it is incredibly busy and messy, I know we will work together and get through it!
So, my great wisdom to new grads after my few months as a nurse on how to build relationships with your colleagues? Be the kind of team member you enjoy working with and set the tone for great teamwork and a great shift! You can do this by putting down your phone in the tearoom, listening and finding common ground outside of work and trying to do little things to help out during a shift. Everyone appreciates a well-stocked trolley and empty bin!