Team Building in the Health Care

According to Paul Clark, in order to have healthy and safe teamwork the components of teamwork must be established first. These components include: shared goals, norms, roles, horizontal leadership, communication, and collocation (Clark 2009). To further implement team building it must be trained through specific programs additionally specific measures of teamwork need to be defined to determine the level of teamwork. Some team building programs include TeamSTEPPS (Team Strategies and Tools to Enhance Performance and Patient Safety), PAR (Participatory Action Reach), and simulation training. This article summarizes the importance of teamwork using defined concepts of teamwork and the implementation of team building programs. The results establish a safe and healthy work environment that increases patient safety and communication between all health care personnel.

One important concepts of teamwork includes goals. “Goals, are ends that (1) provide direction activities, (2) focus individuals with professional and personal talents on specific work, and (3) provide benchmarks helpful in measuring progress” (Clark 2009). The foundation of teamwork should be goal oriented or a main focus point in which all health care personnel are striving towards. It is obvious that without a shared goal teamwork cannot be obtained. Norms which, are unwritten rules on how a collective group should communicate and interact are also required to establish teamwork. Team norms must be practiced; it requires input of all team members on exceptions on team behavior, conflict resolution, and planning. (Clark 2009). Roles of team members must also be clearly outlined. When outlining roles it is important not to identify that one role is more important than another. Role blending fosters healthy teamwork this is defined as sharing or flexibility of roles. (Clark 2009). Practicing the blending of roles and outlining each role helps to build the foundations of teamwork.

Additionally using horizontal leadership versus hierarchical leadership fosters healthy and supportive teamwork. Horizontal leadership involves all team members to participate and collaborate on decisions. Horizontal leadership is also referred as a shared leadership. Although there is one leader all members can participate and share their knowledge, “The role of team leader does not place the leader in a position of power or dominance, there are no senior team members” (Clark 2009). Lastly the importance of collocation this is defined as networking and the pulling of resources. Collocation helps teamwork to thrive when all resources of every team member is combined and used to address a team issue (Clark 2009). These main concepts of team building provide a solid foundation and backbone to successfully build a team. Successful team building leads to healthier and safer work environments.

In order to have effectivly team building it must be practiced and trained. Programs such as PAR and TeamSTEPPS encourage a systematic and successful implantation of team building. TeamSTEPPS uses four teachable areas such as leadership, mutual support, situation monitoring, and communication. These teachable areas improve knowledge, skills, and attitude that are required for good teamwork (Clark 2009). Research has successfully identified that TeamSTEPPS improves teamwork by increasing effective communication and fosters less anger and more respect among staff (Clark 2009). Participatory action research is a collaborative group effort that all team members are included to identify an issue and work together to solve it. This program training implements mutual trust and empowerment to all health care staff.

Therefore it is important that in the health care setting the framework of teamwork should be established. Each concept: shared goals, norms, roles, horizontal leadership, communication, and collocation should be clearly defined so that all health care workers agree upon the same fundamentals of team work. Additionally the practice of a team-building program should be implemented and constantly practice among all health care personnel. This will help foster positive and healthy work environment. It is evident that practicing team building is required to maintain a successfully and functions work force it cannot be forced or automatically implemented. It takes time and effort from all health workers to successfully create a collaborative work force. As a health team member I want to start noticing these concepts in the work force. I would like to recognize which team building program has been implemented and see how well it truly works. I think that practicing team building is an on going process that continues to be implemented in today’s work force.

In conclusion establishing the main concepts of teamwork benefits the entire work force by building a solid foundation for all health team members to follow. Implementing a training program also initiates a collaborative team effort that forces the entire health care workers to pull from each other’s resources and successfully work as one untied team. Training programs also institutes practicing team building, which ultimately achieves a healthier and safe work environment. In today’s work force team efforts to practice team building is an on going process that continues to constantly be challenged and revised to improve health care environments.  

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