Let’s face it, healthcare is siloed enough without nurses running around with an “I’ll do it all on my own” attitude. Pride is a toxic condition no nurse can afford to suffer from.

In asking nurses around the country why they don’t ask for help, I often get the same answer: “Asking for help makes me seem weak.”

Now, maybe this has to do with other nurses’ attitudes. (Yup, again I go there — nurses eating their young.) But I have personally seen it too many times. Especially when a new nurse asks for help and the seasoned nurse (yikes, even supervisors!) make the new nurse feel stupid of incompetent for asking for assistance.

So that might be one reason for the silos. Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe once wrote, “Correction does much, but encouragement does more.” (I’m speaking to you, supervisors and mentors!)

Teamwork is essential to accomplish greatness. I’m currently reviewing applications for facilities going for Silver Quality Awards, and in every case where there is a great application, integration (teamwork) is evident.

Asking for help means you are indeed wise. We need each other. No one makes it on his or her own.

I think one of the silliest statements I ever hear is, “I am a self-made man”. Really? Umm, did you forget about your mom and dad, ’cause it’s doubtful your conception was immaculate!

Aristotle said, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” Let’s face it, he was a pretty smart guy! I think he might have been saying that mentoring grows partners. You know, two people alone in the wilderness will freeze to death, but if they just share body heat, they will survive.

My point: We survive this difficult job when we team up.

Partnering makes you part of something great. During a visit to the NASA space center in 1962, then President John F. Kennedy noticed a man carrying a broom. He interrupted his tour, walked over to the man and said, “Hi, I’m Jack Kennedy. What are you doing?”

“Well, Mr. President,” the man said, “I’m helping put a man on the moon.”

On July 20, 1969, that did indeed happen. I bet that janitor knew he had been part of something great.

Wouldn’t it be awesome if we all recognized what an amazing difference we are making in people’s lives by being part of this great thing we call healthcare?

In 1957, Martin Luther King Jr. proposed that, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”

A single strand of thread is easily broken, but wrap three or four strands together and it is very difficult to break.

So, I ask: Will you lead the way, share your vulnerabilities and strengths with others to create an unbreakable team and leave your thumbprint in this world of healthcare, knowing you are doing something great for others?

Or will you stand alone on your island?

Just keeping it real,

Nurse Jackie

The Real Nurse Jackie is written by Jacqueline Vance, RNC, CDONA/LTC, an APEX Award of Excellence winner for Blog Writing. Vance is a real life long-term care nurse. A nationally respected nurse educator and past national LTC Nurse Administrator of the Year, she also is an accomplished stand-up comedienne. She has not starred in her own national television series — yet. The opinions supplied here are her own and do not necessarily reflect those of her employer or her professional affiliates.