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Collaboration and Teamwork in Health Care

Collaboration and Teamwork in Health Care

The Concept of Collaboration in Health Care

It is not a hidden fact over the years, there has been a perception that the doctors exert their power over the nurses. However, sufficient progression in the idea of collaboration and teamwork has been achieved in the last two decades and our facility is an example of that success (Weller, Boyd, & Cumin, 2014). One of the barriers to successful partnerships in health care continuum is the lack of a unified definition of collaboration and teamwork. The nurses and physicians should be ready to acknowledge and adopt the concept that successful collaborations occur when the interdisciplinary group adopts an effective functioning policy with open communication, shared decision making and mutual respect among the partners. Indeed, these collaborations are vital to positive patient health outcomes (Hood, 2014).

Benefits of Effective Collaboration and Teamwork in Health Care

Collaboration has been known to create teamwork which is essential achieving success both for the patient and satisfaction in the case of the medical practitioners. Unlike in a patriarchal system where the doctors give orders to nurses without the nurses taking part in designing the plan of care for patients, collaborations ensure that the input of all members of a team is considered and taken into account (Weller et al., 2014).  This is critical as it ensures the members of the team bring forth diverse knowledge and expertise that when combined results in the desired health outcomes. It is undesirable that a team working towards a common goal adopts a hierarchical relationship as these create room for medical errors.

Effective collaboration is pegged on an open communication policy. It has already been established that 70% of medical errors are a result of poor communication among the health care providers (Fewster-Thuente, 2015). With a defined collaborative process, the instances where the nurses and physicians differ in perceptions of teamwork are greatly decreased and the professionals are able to identify with ease where gaps in the collaboration exist. Fewster-Thuente (2015) emphasizes that dealing with the gaps that exist in the nurse-physician partnerships has the capacity to improve the patient outcomes and increase the satisfaction to both the patient and the health care provider (Fewster-Thuente, 2015).

Characteristics and Concepts Required for Effective Interdisciplinary Collaboration

As we have already indicated, collaborations are fundamental as they support the successful operation of a health care institution in its effort to provide quality of care to the patients. A partnership must be able to define a collaborative tactic to its provision of health care. Members of a team should understand that they come from diverse training backgrounds. Nonetheless, they share the same objectives of patient care as well as performing the responsibilities for duties that complement each other on a continuous basis (Fewster-Thuente, 2015). The teams should clearly define the means of communication between themselves, the families and the patients to ensure that all needs of the patients are planned out and met. Besides, the collaborating teams should have clearly delegated roles where each job role is respected. Each and every team member should have specific duties and tasks which are then coordinated by use of effective communication (Weller et al., 2014).

Each member of a partnership should demonstrate and develop emotional maturity if they are to support the collaboration. Keeping the skill sets of the members’ current, and ensuring they are vigilant to identify the modern best practices and implement them in the partnership goes a long way in promoting the team. Given the different training, the members must learn to understand and appreciate the opinions and perspectives held by others. Otherwise, being inflexible to the cultural norms and the influence of educators will only help in tearing down the group basis (Fewster-Thuente, 2015).

Barriers to Effective Interdisciplinary Collaboration

In practice, conflicts among group members are bound to happen which derail the success of the partnerships. Lack of effective communication has been singled out as the one root cause of poor collaboration. Where the collaborative tactic has not been clearly defined, and mechanisms of conflict resolution not indicated, the team is likely to disintegrate. Holding rigid norms specific to a certain profession and a mentality of “this is how we have always done it,” will affect the group negatively (Fewster-Thuente, 2015). 

Evidence-based strategies to overcome barriers to effective interdisciplinary collaboration

While there may be challenges and barriers to effective collaborations, some strategies when used can help build the team and minimize possibilities of disintegrating the partnership. The first strategy is to have a clearly defined tactic on how to approach the collaboration. This tactic should consider the various opinions and perspectives as well as have a distinct conflict resolution mechanism. Enhancing open communication policy is fundamental in resolving the tensions and conflicts among the members of a group (Weller et al., 2014). Even within the effective communication, the members should be able to negotiate respectfully. One way that has proven efficient is the dropping of titles and use the assigned names to minimize the deleterious effects of unequal power and authority.


Teamwork and collaboration in Health Care has been known to create valuable coordination, which is essentially leading to quality care and success, both for the patient and satisfaction in the case of the medical practitioners. The practice has the capacity to improve the patient outcomes and increase the level of communication to both the patients and the health care providers. To eliminate barriers to effective interdisciplinary collaboration, team members should have specific duties and tasks which are then coordinated by use of effective communication

Collaboration and Teamwork in Health Care

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