Teams in the healthcare setting are the foundations of an efficient delivery healthcare system. They are the building blocks of every success story of patient outcomes. Without teamwork, there would be no collective accomplishment in healthcare.
Teams consist of professionals, practitioners or workers from different disciplines working toward a common goal. They may be a group of doctors, nurses and therapists managing client care, or maybe a group of researchers who are tasked to find out about the high incidence of a resistant microorganism present in a unit, or just the members of the maintenance team making sure that all pieces of equipment are up and running. Horizontally, or vertically in the hierarchy, teamwork is essential to produce results that will meet standards and keep up with the demands of clients and accreditation bodies.
Teamwork cannot be downplayed in all the processes needed to run an institution. Being multi-faceted and broadly defined, it is difficult to achieve because of differences in individual skills, and work ethics, as well as the diversity of care settings, communication patterns, information dissemination and management and organizational structures. In fact, the only reliable and tangible evidence that indeed teamwork has been correctly demonstrated is the collective sense of achievement of team members when goals are reached.
A checklist to see if indeed your team is working as a team
That being said, while working with a group of people, here are some points that indicate that your every member is on the right track of achieving a common good.
1. The team has a leader who is a champion of change management.
A leader who levels the hierarchy but still has an exemplary ability to direct, supervise and provide support to members will come out victorious. The good side of this is that all will members feel equally successful because this leader recognizes effort accordingly.
2. When discussions take place, no one monopolizes the conversation.
Team members freely speak their minds with respect, and the others listen and analyze if suggestions are feasible. Suggestions are declined only after the ideas has been given due consideration and not because they go against the leader’s own.
3. Trust and respect rule all processes.
Members trust that the directions given by the leader is not self-glorifying but indeed intended to provide a pathway for combined achievements. Leaders, on the other hand, believe that given the free will to manage their own tasks, members will do their part and perform their best. Respect goes beyond rank. Members do not count the ways they need to adjust to accommodate change, but they count the ways their ideas work.
4. The entire team easily responds and adapts to change.
Accommodating a new team member does not mean looking into resumes and certifications before the person can be heard. New protocols lead to adjustments and readjustments without shaking the integrity of the team’s collaboration and structure.
5. There are closed-loop communication and a platform for feedback.
Teamwork will fail without proper communication. Feedback is important because it is a channel where deficiencies, improvements, and adjustments can be properly communicated. Information running down the hierarchy without feedback is just like an idea being flushed down the drain without anyone knowing where the water went.
6. Members can identify areas for improvement and they know how to allocate resources to make adjustments for such.
Everyone including the leader is in the know-how of where to look for answers and they do so without straining the budget.
7. A team working on a long-term goal has room for training, recognition, and for personal and career development.
Members support others in the process of certification. They nominate those who work hardest for recognition. They feel happy for the success of their teammates.
8. While working with the team, members know how to go about their tasks independently and still enjoy and feel confident of their autonomy.
Teamwork that truly works does not make any member too dependent on the team, especially on sound decision-making. A member should still be able to retain clinical judgment even when functioning alone.
9. With any effort to solve a problem, the team ends up in a consensus.
This, however, does not mean no one is disagreeing. In any case wherein a difference in opinion ensues, the majority wins, and the minority agrees to support what has been agreed upon.
10. During the process of achieving positive patient outcomes, ultimately, the most tangible of all signs is that the team produces multiple small successes.
Teamwork may be evident not only after clients become disease-free in an acute care setting. It can manifest in incremental progress as early as in the diagnosis phase, for example.
Are you a leader who hopes to achieve everything in this checklist? ManageUp's platform is committed to fostering teamwork, collaboration, and closed-loop communication. Contact us to know how you can pave the way towards being a high-reliability organization through our solutions.
Quality in Health Care 2001;10:65–69