Effective Teamwork

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Effective Teamwork


As nurses we are called upon daily to work as members of a team. At the least we need to be able to work with our patients as a team ensure the best outcomes. It is when I care for oncology patients that I work with the largest and most diverse team. There is a meeting with the nurses caring for the patients, the physician, case management, social work, and pharmacists.

Since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act there has been more dialogue about cost, quality and the value of healthcare (Fulmer, 2016). There has been a call from Medicare, the Joint Commission, and American Geriatrics Society, to name a few, that mandate interdisciplinary teams to improve quality of care (Fulmer, 2016). Collaboration is defined by Kohn and O’Connell (2007) as “a small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, performance goals, and approach for which they hold themselves mutually responsible” (p. 43). For collaboration to be effective there must be respect, trust, and value of each other’s skills and knowledge (Hamric, Hanson, Tracy, & O’Grady, 2014).

For nurse satisfaction and retention, it has been shown collaboration is important, however not as much so for physicians (Fulmer, 2016).  In Fulmer’s (2016) research she found it not surprising that physicians were reluctant for this collaboration since they were traditionally educated to be “captain of the ship”. Other barriers to effective collaboration is differing agendas, varying philosophies, and long-held beliefs on how things should be done (Hamric et al., 2014). According to Hamric et al. (2014), “Despite these exiting challenges to collaboration, there is evidence of progress” (p. 315).


Fulmer, T. (2016). Effective Interdisciplinary Teams: Do We Really Know How to Build

Them?. Generations40(1), 64-70.

Hamric, A.B., Hanson, C.M., Tracy, M.F., O’Grady, E.T. (2014). Advance practice nursing an

integrative approach (5th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Elsevier.

Kohn, S. E., & O’Connell, V. D. (2007). 6 Habits of Highly Effective Teams. Franklin Lakes, NJ:

Career Press.

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