Structural empowerment is a term that refers factors in the environment that promote your ability to be effective: Opportunity, information, resources and support. Knowing how challenging it can be to keep up with the demands of your role, find ways to identify each of these factors while at work.
Let’s start with support. At the beginning of each shift, grab yourself a partner – another nurse that can partner with you throughout your shift when you both need extra help. You can cover each other for breaks and lunch, help each other out when your assignment gets crazy, and tap into each others strengths. For example, when I worked on a cardiac step-down unit, we drew our own blood gases and inserted IVs. I was really, really good at both. However, I always (and still do) struggled with chest tubes. So, anytime a patient would need an IV or blood gases drawn, I would do them (helped my colleagues and it was better – more effecient for the patients). And if I had a patient with a chest tube, one of the other nurses (it was her strength) would come in with me and do my assessment with me. Win-win.
How can you start to incorporate this type of partnerships with the nurses on your unit? What can you differently that will move you towards structural empowerment?