Teamwork in Health Care

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The Importance of Teamwork in Health Care

The Importance of Teamwork in Health Care

From an early age we are instilled the importance of teamwork. The lessons may come from a soccer field, a classroom group project, or even a song on Sesame Street. Regardless of our future careers, we are all likely to experience some sort of teamwork requirement, even if it is as simple as getting along with your co-workers.
Teams working in a hospital or other healthcare setting may consist of several physicians, nurses, medical assistants, referral coordinators, pharmacists, therapists, and students among others. Such large teams can provide comprehensive care for complex and chronic illnesses, but when they fail to work well together, they
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Competencies for effective teamwork are perceived to be different for management and clinical teams, and there are differences in perceptions of teamwork between male and female health care managers (Leggat, 2007). Teamwork can also be disrupted by different styles of management, status differences, poor communication, and competitive demands on different departments.
During my own personal experience in nursing, I have had the opportunity to witness teamwork at its best, and shamefully, teamwork at its worst. During a shift on a neuro critical care floor, I was assisting a nurse turn and change a patient. Nearly every time we shifted the patient, an alarm would sound. Within moments there was a voice on the other side of the curtain asking if help was needed. Next time the alarm sounded; there was the helpful voice again. It never failed. How comforting for the nurse this must feel, and ultimately, better outcomes, as well as safety for the patient. At the other end of the spectrum, I have watched as a nurse asks for help, and is turned down multiple times. I have heard the awful phrase, “that’s not my job.” I have seen patients code, and the nurse spends the next hour caring for that patient including resuscitation, and transferring to an intensive care unit. No one takes the initiative to check on the nurses patients while she is gone, not even the charge nurse. Clearly this is not a positive or safe work environment for anyone. Teamwork
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