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How to handle group work in your first year

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Group work can always feel a bit difficult and might be something you’d rather avoid, but it doesn’t have to be such hard work …

The nursing a midwifery code promotes collaboration and effective team working, in my experience this is achieved through good communication knowing roles and responsibilities within the team. We must treat others with respect, as well as treating each other fairly whilst respecting the contributions of others, Nursing Midwifery Code (2011).

Recognise people’s strengths as well as their weaknesses during the group work using them effectively

So when asked to do group work we must consider that this may not be with your usual group of friends, we as professionals must utilise this exercise and see this as a task to enhance our team working and communication skills. The work needs to be clearly defined so that we stay on task and not go off on a tangent, as this can lead to an unsuccessful presentation. In this case it may be useful to include the lecturer in the session to ensure the learning objective is being met. This will also clarify what is the main focus of the presentation and simplify any confusion if there is any.

I think it is important that everyone gets to have input

I think it is important that everyone gets to have input. Recognise people’s strengths as well as their weaknesses during the group work using them effectively. We as nurses need to use our observational skills, look at the body language of the group, and the dynamics. If you are the confident one include the student that isn’t saying anything. Respect what the other person is saying; if you disagree on a point of view be diplomatic. Always clarify what is being said, write it down and then collectively as a group decide what is relevant this way it is not left to one person to take the lead. After all we all have the same goal, producing a good piece of work!

I have had to take part in a number of group work sessions. These have been presentations and discussions. I have found it useful to get together, discuss the task and collectively agree on what you want to achieve so there is a clear idea of the work. I think it is important to share the work out fairly. This shows good time management, working together effectively to ensure we are not covering the same ground.

You may think this is obvious, but we as student nurses are from varied backgrounds, cultures lifestyles and ages. So opinions can vary greatly and approach can be different, due to our experiences. However all work should be valued and appreciated. Our lives differ so can effect scheduled meetings and maybe unrealistic for others due to their commitments. So I think it is important to decide from the start what will work for everyone so that no one feels they are disadvantaging the group in anyway. It is only fair to recognise this and give that opportunity to voice concerns so a solution can be offered between the group.

Once these ground rules and objectives have been agreed these should be met by the entire group to produce a good team working experience.

Nikki Pountrey is a student nurse.


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Readers' comments (1)

  • Team work is very beneficial, because every member of the team gets to share their own experience. Others in the team can also learn more ideas to upgrade own background knowledeg in respect to the given task in order to achieve a positive outcome.

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