Healthcare teams need to be prepared for everything, including unconventional work environments brought on by a global pandemic and social unrest.
Open communication and trust are essential for successful teamwork in challenging healthcare situations, as discussed in “Creating Effective Healthcare Team Development Interventions in Times of Uncertainty: Tips for Success” . The article was written by researchers at Rice University, the MD Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas, and the Group for Organizational Effectiveness.
The study describes a new model, developed at MD Anderson under the direction of the researchers, with recommendations for the effectiveness of the healthcare team. It can be implemented in different settings to improve communication, coordination and attitudes of a team towards each other, thereby improving clinical care and patient outcomes.
Team effectiveness is based on an organization’s culture, leadership support and a trained and skilled workforce, the researchers write. In addition, all team members should have clearly defined roles and goals, with clear team leadership. But leaders also need to consider how a team feels, how it functions in the workplace, and how its members think. This is known in team science as the ABCs: Attitudes, Behaviors, and Cognitions.
Taking all of these factors into account, the researchers suggest that teams can achieve what they call “ideal team states,” which include psychological safety (the freedom to speak openly without fear of negative consequences at work), confidence, adaptability and resilience.
It is only after adopting these states that teams can reach their highest potential. “
Stephanie Zajac, Leadership Practitioner at MD Anderson and Lead Study Author
The researchers also offer tips for successfully implementing team development interventions (TDI), exercises used to improve team effectiveness. They recommend that team leaders actively engage and invest time in TDIs, and that the exercises be integrated with existing organizational efforts to support teams, such as individual leader and team coaching. Team leaders should also exercise care and concern for team members when navigating these exercises together.
Finally, leaders are encouraged to communicate regularly with their employees, to reflect and celebrate the progress they are making.
As teams diversify and face unexpected circumstances, including the health and social justice hurdles of the past year, these tips can make all the difference when running successful healthcare facilities. , innovative research and providing high-quality, safe patient care the researchers wrote.
Zajac, S., et al. (2021) Building effective healthcare team development interventions in uncertain times: tips for success. Organizational dynamics. doi.org/10.1016/j.orgdyn.2020.100824.