By Mary Koloroutis, MS, RN, Consultant at Creative Health Care Management
Effective teamwork is more than just a “nice to have.” It is essential for safety, retention, continuity of care, positive patient/family experiences, and overall effectiveness. The Institute of Safe Medical Practices (ISMP) recently published new findings in a study called “Unresolved Disrespectful Behavior in Healthcare.” The ISMP expected to see improvements since its last survey, 10 years prior, but the results show that disrespectful behavior continues to undermine healthcare teams.
“The results of our 2003 and 2013 surveys expose healthcare’s continued tolerance and indifference to disrespectful behavior. These behaviors are clearly learned, tolerated, and reinforced in the healthcare culture, and little improvement has been made during the last decade.” (ISMP, 2013)
Do you suppose that people who are behaving disrespectfully in teams are in touch with the meaning and purpose of their work? Do you suppose they are fully engaged?
It's Very Important For Teams to Work Successfully Together
Health care professionals are consistent in their thoughts about working as part of a team. Here is what they tell us:
“I would rather work short-staffed with a team of people who are all on board than to work with a full staff of people who aren’t in synch with the reason we’re here.” (Koloroutis & Trout, 2012)
We have found that when people hear that they will be working with those whom they consider members of their “A” team they feel energized enough to take on more, knowing that the time and workload will flow smoothly.
Some Team Members are Energizing
Here are the characteristics of the team members who energize their peers:
If people hear that they’re going to have to work with team members who demonstrate lack of responsibility and a victim mentality, they are suddenly “too tired” to take on more or become hyper-responsible trying to compensate for the lack of teamwork; either way the workload will be heavy and the time will be difficult to manage.
Some Team Members are Energy Drainers
Here are the characteristics of the team members who drain the energy out of their peers:
Self-Assessment: Am I Part of the “A” Team?
Now let’s look at what sort of team member you are in a little more nuanced way. I invite you to reflect on your answers to the assessment below and then ask yourself this question: Would I be considered a member of the “A” team?
Note the pattern of your responses to the self-assessment and reflect on the following questions. You may also wish to use these questions in a team huddle or reflection session.
The stakes are high. People’s lives are in our hands. Because our work is about people’s lives, we don’t have the option of not working well as fully participating and highly engaged members of health care teams. Your commitment to being positive, helpful, self-motivated, proactive, and fully engaged is a commitment to the very best patient care possible. And that is a noble commitment.
As a co-creator, author, and editor of the Relationship-Based Care series of books and seminars, Mary helps health care organizations create a framework for delivering world-class care with strong underlying values and principles, and then works with them to implement that framework. Her most recent book, See Me as a Person: Creating Therapeutic Relationships with Patients and their Families, co-authored with Michael Trout, helps clinicians in all disciplines to connect authentically with the patients and families in their care no matter how chaotic their care environments may be. Contact Mary firstname.lastname@example.org
Institute for Safe Medical Practices, (October 3, 2013). Unresolved disrespectful behavior in healthcare. Medication SafetyAlert! 18 (20) 1-4.
Koloroutis, M., & Trout, M. (2012). See me as a person: Creating therapeutic relationships with patients and their families.Minneapolis, MN: Creative Health Care Management.
HealthStream’s learning management system and comprehensive suite of competency management tools empower your healthcare workforce to deliver the best patient care.View All Learning & Performance
When you enact HealthStream's quality compliance solutions, you can do so with the confidence your healthcare organization will meet all standards of care.View All Quality & Compliance
Fulfill compliance requirements with a variety of programs and courseware designed to address critical regulatory requirements as well as educate staff to recognize and mitigate risks.View All Products
HealthStream offers professional training and education on how to best optimize your reimbursement process within your healthcare organization.View All Reimbursement
Learn about our advanced resuscitation training solutions. Our solutions are designed to help improve patient outcomes.View All Resuscitation
Expand the decision-making skills and effectiveness of your healthcare workforce with HealthStream's clinical development programs and services.View All Clinical Development
HealthStream’s learning management system and comprehensive suite of competency management tools empower your healthcare workforce to deliver the best patient care.View All Products
Learn more about HealthStream's Provider Credentialing, privileging, & enrollment solutions.View All Credentialing
Make sure your healthcare staff can schedule out appointments and work schedules with ease using HealthStream's line of software solutions.View All Scheduling