Working in silos‘ is a phrase often used in the healthcare industry. The Silo Mentality refers to the mindset that leads certain departments to withhold information from others involved in the care of a patient or medical study.

This leads to a reduction in efficiency and morale, which contributes to a demise in the clinical structure and culture as a whole. As a medical student, you need to understand the value of working in sync with others around you, including nurses.

Working in Silos: 5 Lessons Nurses Can Teach Med School Students

Working in Silos: 5 Lessons Nurses Can Teach Med School Students. Image by David Mark from Pixabay

Doctors & Nurses: Working in Sync for Quality Patient Care

How did this practice become so popular among the many doctors who refuse to share information with nurses?

Well, in the past, medical students were taught to work and think separately. They were almost set up to compete against each other, rather than work together for the good of the hospital, study or patient.

So, it’s no wonder they quickly separated themselves from the nurses around them in the same fashion. This practice continued on throughout medical school, clinical rotations, internships and residencies. By then, the habit was simply too hard to break for most.

However, studies show that when nurses and doctors work in sync, there’s a higher chance of patient success. This means healthcare professionals working within the same environment should focus on collaborating as a team more, instead of working in silos.

Avoid Working in Silos: Learn from Nurses While in Medical School

Future doctors of today are privileged to work with highly qualified nurses. Many of them continuously work hard to further their nursing careers and education. Some have gone so far as to earn PhDs in nursing.

Practicing nurses are trained to communicate with patients at a personal level in caregiving settings. These are useful skills any doctor could use to improve bedside manner. Why not learn these skills from the nurses around you now, while you’re still in medical school?

When doctors and nurses work together, they share different skills and mindsets. Combining these tools allows these medical professionals to create networks better equipped to provide quality patient care.

As a med student, watch and learn from the nurses you encounter each day during your clinical rotations, internships and residencies. You’d be surprised what these savvy healthcare professionals can teach you. Avoid falling prey to the Silo Mentality early on in your medical career.

Avoid Working in Silos: 5 Things Med Students Can Learn from Nurses

If you look around just about any clinical environment, you’ll find that nurses are generally more involved in actual patient care the practicing doctors. Attendees, residents and interns turn to these knowledgeable experts for assistance on so many levels.

Here are some five things you can learn from nurses as a med school student, as long as you avoid working in silos:

1. How to Tell What a Patient Needs or Feels

Generally, nurses spend more time with patients than doctors. They are familiar with reading pain levels based on facial expressions. The progress of patients from admission to discharge is tracked by these gatekeepers.

As a future doctor, if you want to know exactly how a patient is doing, you should ask that patient’s nurses.

2. How to Earn a Patient’s Trust

Nurses play the patient’s advocate. They tend to feel more comfortable around their nurse than other healthcare workers. Some will open up to them about anything. They are like the “good cops,” whereas the physicians are like the “bad cops.”

Without this type of relationship, it’s almost impossible to get the truth out of a patient.

You can wait until you’re practicing medicine and turn to the nurses around you for assistance. Or, you can watch the way they interact with patients and learn how to incorporate those skills into your future medical career now.

Your future patients will feel more comfortable sharing with you. And they’ll be more likely to accept the healthcare plans you suggest.

3. What the Patient’s Family Life is Like

Patient care is not just centered around the patient alone. It extends to their family members and the other people in their lives. Because nurses spend more time with patients, they are more likely to interact with their loved ones.

These interactions help nurses get to know more about the people they care for professionally. They learn information about the patients’ support systems. This helps them understand the type of physical and emotional care patients will receive once discharged from the hospital or a procedure is complete.

There’s no shame in getting perspective from a firsthand source. Never feel bad when it comes to asking about such important details from nurses.

Most good nurses are against working in silos. So, they’ll gladly share information with other healthcare professionals for the good of their patients.

4. How to Deal with Sensitive Matters

Because nurses gain patients’ trust easily, it’s very likely they’ll have conversations with them about sensitive matters. Doctors are rarely present for such conversations. So, they rely on nurses to provide them with sensitive information patients simply don’t share with them.

When doctors and nurses work together on these matters, it helps them tailor treatment programs that everyone involved can participate in to provide quality care to a patient.

Learn how to work with the nurses around you now. That way, you already understand their value by the time you become a practicing physician.

5. What it Means to Put a Patient First

As a med school student, you quickly realize how busy doctors can get during the course of a workday. When they’re not dealing with patients directly, they’re caught up doing research or paperwork and other administrative tasks.

Oftentimes, this leads them to stop putting patients first. Nurses are always around patients. They have a knack for putting them first by simply listening to them and showing them compassion.

Pay attention to how nurses interact with patients. As a med student, learn now how to use those same skills to strengthen bonds with patients you care for in the future.

These are skills you can’t learn in med school or from most physicians around you.

Nurses & Med School Students: A Dream Team

When working in sync, nurses learn from patients and doctors, while doctors learn from patients through nurses. But with a little work now, you can take this a step further and learn how to communicate with patients better, simply by watching the nurses you work with in the future.

Working in silos will get you nowhere. Instead, strive to strengthen your relationships with the nurses you encounter from now on. Not only will this help you improve the way you provide patient care later down the line, but you’ll create some amazing bonds.

You never know who you’ll work for and with later in your career. Building lifelong bonds with these awesome healthcare professionals means creating a network filled with compassionate, dedicated, like-minded people, willing to share knowledge with you.

Working in Sync to Provide US Medical Exam Test Prep Services

Are you a pre-med or med student studying to become a doctor in the US? As you know, there is a list of US medical exams you’ll have to pass to fulfill your dreams of practicing medicine. Here are just a few:

  • MCAT – Pre-requisite for getting into medical school
  • USMLE Step 1 – Comprehension and application skills of Basic Sciences
  • USMLE Step 2 CK – Patient-focused scenarios related to Clinical Sciences
  • USMLE Step 2 CS – Physician-patient communication, notes and documenting history
  • BLS/ACLS – Recognize various types of life-threatening emergencies

Here in Atlanta, Georgia, the MedSmarter team works in sync to provide students with US medical exam test prep services. Take in-person, live courses in small size classes. Or get one-on-one USMLE tutoring in Suwanee, GA or via video conferencing.

Ready to work with us to help you pass your US medical exam?

Click the link below to find out more about the test prep and tutoring services we offer.

Learn About US Medical Exam Prep Atlanta