Each summer I spend about 2 weeks working as a nurse at Camp Ramah New England, an overnight summer camp. I was inspired to write about collaboration earlier this month and continue with this theme as the result of that experience. There are just under 600 campers and with all the staff and their families about 900 people in the camp. There are 5 nurses who live at the camp at any given time. Our days are long and we all have to pitch in. By working as a team, we are able to overcome some of the risk factors for burnout.
When my kids were young, I used to sing this phrase to them, “Communication, Co-operation, these are the keys to Shalom Bayit” peace at home. This desire for peace at our summer home is central to the health center’s culture. The head nurse is especially dedicated and sets the tone for all of us. There are times when we are extremely busy and all hands on deck are needed; we can forget about eating breakfast 2 hours into the shift when there are a group of campers who need medications, or the waiting area is full with admittedly not life-threatening complaints and an extra person is needed to help the campers and staff.
What makes this work?
- Communication – We know we are all there to maintain the health of the community. Without words, dedication and pitching in is clearly valued. Brief change of shift reports with a focus. We acknowledge one another and ask for help when needed as well as offer help to each other.
- Empathy – We have an awareness of the expectations of each of us. There is a willingness to ask “what can I do that will be helpful for you?” We can anticipate when our help will be most beneficial and then try to show up for that time, or prepare for it. Each of us has support, is not isolated and there is less emotional exhaustion.
- Co-operation – a willingness on the part of each us to work together to ensure the health, safety and smooth running of the health center. By working together we see the impact we have on each other, and that our teamwork increases what we are able to accomplish.
For ways to enhance teamwork and prevent burnout, contact me. I’m available for presentations on relating positively, as well as for coaching you or your team.
Revitalize Your Life,
Dina, Well-Being Coach
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