By Genevieve Hall, R.NCS.T., R. EEG/EP T.
You’ve probably heard how important teamwork is about a thousand times by now, however, that doesn’t make it any less true. Teamwork is a never-ending process. We must keep coming back to it, again and again. Fine tuning, again and again. With demands for increasing patient numbers, accommodating doctors’ needs, and technical issues, technologists must accomplish ever-increasing duties within the same, strict time constraints.
This may sound obvious, but you need to let your coworkers know where you are. Whether you are with a patient, at lunch, or simply running to the restroom, let someone know. How many times have you wondered where someone was, or if someone was already assisting a patient? The less time we spend trying to figure out what is already going on, the more time we have to actually accomplish something. Also, if a study is added that doesn’t have the normal, required documentation (verbal order, standby, or work-in), it needs to be conveyed to other team members. And please, check in with another teammate before you leave for the day. A few minutes of your time could help them immensely.
By sharing the workload, individuals are less likely to feel animosity for baring the burden alone. Use your down-time wisely. You can cut gauze, check the next day’s patient schedule, or do other prep work. Make sure that not just rooms are set up for the next patient, but also the machines and boxes/sets. For example, if a STAT order were to come through, this kind of prep work could help you or a coworker immediately walk out the door with everything needed to perform the study. The easiest way to share in the work is to offer a helping hand, or just step in and help. Have an uncooperative patient? Stuck in an awkward position behind the head of the bed? How nice is it when someone pops their head in and saves you loads of time with just a minute of their help?
Yes, troubleshooting is a team effort. When a problem occurs, don’t ignore it and leave it for the next tech who comes along. Instead, try to fix the problem immediately. Let your teammates know what you did or didn’t do, whether verbally or in a log book. What did you try? Does the problem still need correcting? What steps would be best for the next time this problem occurs? Constantly complaining about something will never fix it. In fact, it is likely to decrease morale and increase stress within the team. Instead, just like before, look for ways to solve the problem.
Create a Hub
Every lab works a little differently. However, having a place for all information to flow through will help to keep everyone on the same page. Find what works best for your team. A dry-erase board comes in very handy for ever-changing lab needs. Try keeping log books, schedules, or clipboards with printed information (i.e., schedules or orders) in the same location. Anyone should be able to come to this hub and know what is going on at any moment in time. Do not use sticky notes unless absolutely necessary; these little guys have a tendency to fall off and get lost. Nobody wants patient information to be ‘floating’ around.
If we work together we can get through the day with less stress and more joy from doing what we love!