Teamwork activities for nursing

nurse chris image by John Keith from

Team building is an important part of working as a nurse. Effective teamwork can increase patient outcomes and improve patient care. Communication, accepting responsibility and respect for fellow nurses are all important aspects of teamwork. For a more effective nursing staff, encourage nurses to focus on the needs of the team instead of personal needs. Improve the teamwork at your facility by having nurses perform teamwork activities.


Ask staff to list ways to improve health outcomes in patients. Write the list on a large chalk or dry-erase board so that everyone can see. Ask staff to list practices already in place that improve health outcomes. One staff member may shout out a practice that had been forgotten by another staff member. If staff forgets to list any key practices, add them to the board yourself. Ask the staff to brainstorm ways to improve how these practices are delivered. Nurses can provide personal experiences of how they have tweaked their nursing duties to better serve the patient.

Role Play

Ask nurses to pair up. Assign one nurse to play the patient and the other to play the patient's nurse. Provide each patient with a particular illness or condition and direct them to interact with the nurse. The patient can complain about aches, ask for medication, request to see the doctor, or perform other normal patient behaviours. Observe how the nurses react to the patients, and then switch roles. After role play is over, use what you have seen to discuss the most effective way to interact with a patient.

Create a Shape

This team-building exercise teaching nurses how to work together effectively. Have the team form a circle. Have each nurse put on a blindfold; place a rope at the centre of the circle. Request the team to create a square shape with the rope. No team member can let go of the rope at any time or lift their blindfold. When the team feels it has completed the task, they can remove their blindfolds to check their work. This activity could also be used as an icebreaker for new staff members.

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