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Open minds open pathways to teamwork

If things aren’t working, you need to Evolve.

That’s the idea behind a program of that name launched in the post-anesthesia care unit at the Johns Hopkins Hospital to improve teamwork among nurses, clinical technicians, and other support staff. Evolve builds teams to pursue common goals—both during and outside of working hours. Through success come teamwork, community good, and, according to “clin tech” Angela Hamm, “more smiles.”

Nurse educator Margo Preston-Scott, MSN, RN, credits Hamm’s insight as well as the open-mindedness of unit nurses in embracing an idea from what has become a less and less uncommon place.

Preston-Scott spearheaded a program called SOARING in 2012. It pairs clin techs with nurse champions who help build their confidence and abilities and prepare them for life on a hospital unit, where their value can sometimes be overlooked. “They might not have training on how to work as a team or how to handle communication with someone who has offended you. No one teaches that,” explains Preston-Scott of SOARING, which stands for Success, Ownership, Accountability, Respect/Responsibility, Independence, iNtegration, and Growth. Part of that growth includes creating posters that spell out suggested initiatives for their units.

This is where Hamm, one of the first clin techs to go through the internship, introduced Evolve. She figured that simple team building could improve job satisfaction for all and improve the unit’s performance.

Rebecca Griffiths, RN, a charge nurse, is a co-captain of an Evolve team that has worked with the homeless, for instance, and collected Beanie Babies for a local children’s center.

Another team arranged an internal group wellness day with massage, reflexology, and yoga.

Griffiths says the experience has built unity, simplifying the sharing of new protocols and policies, helping everyone get on the same page faster. “It doesn’t matter what the job title is, whether it’s nurses or support staff like clin techs,” she says. “We’re all working on one project together.”

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