Thursday, February 26, 2009

Collaboration and Relationships

In my current position as a Public Health Nurse, I am seeing so clearly how the building of collaborative relationships is the key to success. Whether I am creating wellness programs for municipal employees, writing town-sponsored blogs, developing emergency preparedness protocols, fostering communication with other town health departments, or working with the local university and colleges, my work revolves around positive relationships and a collaborative spirit of cooperation and mutual benefit.

As I delve deeper into the areas for which I am responsible, there is precious little that I can satisfactorily accomplish without some form of collaboration. If I want employees of the town to exercise, then I have to develop positive relationships in order to motivate employees to take part in my programs. If I want to move forward with our emergency preparedness plans, then I have to work closely with town officials and school department personnel in order to conduct surveys of potential emergency shelter sites and Emergency Dispensing Sites. When there's a case of tuberculosis or salmonella in town, I have to use my contacts at the state Department of Public Health to fully undertake my investigation.

Every step I take here in my work is collaborative on some level. Every initiative I undertake suggests a way in which I might get the "buy in" of a key individual or group of individuals. With each idea I have or new program I wish to launch, some connections must be made, relationships must be fostered, and alliances forged.

This position of mine is not one in which I can thrive as a lone agent. Sure, I could act on my own, burning bridges as I run rough-shod over my colleagues and other innocent bystanders. But in order to truly create public health programs and initiatives of any intrinsic and lasting value, collaboration and relationship building is key.

I am building such alliances every day, feeding relationships, fostering connection, finding common ground, and building confidence within and without. I am gathering my forces and lining up my allies. And with these elements in place, success is assured.
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