Clinical work requires working in teams in both the inpatient and outpatient departments. Working in teams also requires team thinking, which also requires good team leadership. This essays looks at various aspects of teamwork, comparing them to how my team of perioperative council works.
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Functioning of My Team
Some of the duties of the member of the unit-based perioperative council includes ensuring safety of the surgical patients, raising awareness of surgical patient safety, caring for the perioperative workplace environment and facilitating joint education opportunities for the team members. The main purpose of the team is to promote excellence in patient safety in the surgical and perioperative environment. The members of this team operate under a violence-free culture characterized by mutual respect, dignity and fairness among the individuals. The team believes that professional discipline is necessary in the team and that communication is necessary for the patient’s safety. The members of this council work as a team towards ensuring that all patients receive safest surgical care, which is provided by an integrated team of the dedicated professionals. Therefore, all the members dedicate their services towards this achievement.
Comparing my team with the Utilitarian-Cognitive Continuum, we are at the Cognitive Style Team, which is made out of strong collective thinkers, who focus on thinking and then doing. The team is made out of different professionals, who work as one team and with one goal.
In assessing my team based on the Team Inventory Thinking, the team has used various key strategies to achieve some of the mentioned issues. For example, sharing a common goal has enabled the team members to think about the big picture as well as the parts. It has also helped the team members to think about patterns and interrelationship of issues and parts of the problems.
The other strategy is effective communication, which has helped the team members to see situations form different perspectives and also ensure effective conflict management to promote thinking. Effective communication has also promoted dialogue instead of simple information sharing. The other strategy is knowing each other’s strengths and weaknesses. This enables the team members to be comfortable while sharing their thinking. It also enables easier socialization by the team members (Dichter, 2003).
Comparing my team with the Eight-Team Thinking Roles identified by Bensimone and Neuman, our team is an interdisciplinary one. It has some of the stated characters. For example, we have defined, who helps the team members to achieve the common goal in reality. Our task monitor ensures smooth team thinking and also facilitates to the collaboration in the team thinking. Our emotional monitor helps the team members based on their individual strengths and weaknesses in their thinking processes. The disparity monitor assesses the team outcomes taking note of the differences between the intended and the achieved outcomes. The synthesizer elicits thinking issues and helps the members focus on the solutions.
Differences and Similarities between Individual Thinking and Team Thinking
Team thinking differs from individual thinking in a team, there is a blend of ideas and this creates new ideas that an individual could not have considered independently. This is unlike in individual thinking, where one relies on his or her own ideas, therefore, no variety of ideas to choose from. This is important especially for clinicians, because they are sometimes faced with challenging situations that require consultation from the team members. Team thinking is also different from individual thinking in that team thinking may take a long time to reach the conclusion than in individual thinking. This is because in team thinking, all the team members must agree on a common solution.
The two are also similar in that there must be a common goal. In a clinical setting, the common goal is usually in improved patient care. Therefore, whether thinking in a group or as an individual, the ultimate solution should be the improved care for the patients. The other similarity between an individual and team thinking is that one has his or her own independent thinking. When faced with a situation, every individual must think of it independently before thinking of it in the team thinking (Castka et al., 2002).
Steps for Improving the Work of a Team
The first step in team leadership is to clarify the team’s mission. This involves communicating it to all the team members and ensuring that each member understands his or her role towards fulfilling the mission. For example, the mission of our team is to promote excellence in the patient’s safety in the surgical and perioperative environment. As a team leader I should therefore ensure that each member understands his/her required contribution towards attaining this safety.
The second step is to set the team goals and objectives. These are the objectives required to support the team’s mission. Some of our team goals and objectives are to improve the surgical patient’s safety, raise awareness on surgical patient safety and to facilitate education of the team members on surgical patient safety (Kalisch, 2005).
The third step is to create a plan on how to fulfill the team’s mission. This plan should indicate the duties and responsibilities of each team members and the strategy for fulfilling the mission. It should also have the team’s goal broken down into specific action steps indicating who is responsible at each step.
The final step is to conduct a progress review, where all team members come together to discuss the results and future plans. During these meetings, the team leader should make adjustments and updates where needed. The team members also discuss the challenges that may be arising and their solutions together. This step also involves a lot of reflective thinking (Bertero, 2010).
Teamwork is very important in nursing practice, since the process of dealing with the patients requires ideas from various professionals. It is therefore important to work in a team to offer quality care to the patients.
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