Apr 16, 2012

Team spirit in health care

Robust interprofessional collaboration results in higher quality and safer care for our patients and improves health outcomes.

National organizations have recently focused on the imperative for interprofessional collaboration. In 2010, the Institute of Medicine report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, offered recommendations that focused on improving health care through contributions from nurses. A key recommendation calls for nurses, physicians and other healthcare professionals to partner with each other in redesigning our health care system.

Developed by the Department of Defense and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the evidence-based program, TeamSTEPPS, helps optimize patient care by improving communication among healthcare professionals.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has a strong focus on engaging interprofessional teams to improve the quality, safety, and efficiency of health care.

There are multiple challenges to interprofessional collaborations, such as culture, job experience, and unclear roles and responsibilities. These challenges may create frustration among team members. Poor understanding of roles and responsibilities may potentially undermine respect for the unique contributions of our colleagues. Health care professionals need to practice patience and humility and remind each other that we are playing on the same team.

Our common goal is to deliver the best care possible to our patients. This is not an easy job. So, at the end of the day, as we work together and support each other, we can collectively overcome challenges associated with our health care system.

Also, don’t forget to celebrate success and express appreciation whenever possible.  It can make a world of difference for our patients and their families!

See an introductory video about the TeamSTEPPS program below:

- Ren Bee, with Ulfat Shaikh
(Ren has been a nurse for the past 11 years and just received a master's degree in nursing from UC Davis)

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