Nurses occupy a central position in today's increasingly collaborative health care teams that place a premium on quality patient care. In this study we examined critical team processes and identified specific nurse-team communication practices that were perceived by team members to enhance patient outcomes. Fifty patient-care team members were interviewed to uncover forms of nurse communication perceived to improve team performance. Using a grounded theory approach and constant comparative analysis, study findings reveal two critical processes nurses contribute to as the most central and consistent members of the health care team: ensuring quality decisions and promoting a synergistic team. Moreover, the findings reveal 15 specific nurse-team communication practices that comprise these processes, and thereby are theorized to improve patient outcomes.