In my pediatric clinical rotation, we at one point attended to a clinical case that demanded a multidisciplinary approach. This case involved an eight-year-old African American child who had been raped by her uncle. She had developed fractures and was severely injured. A multidisciplinary team was set up; involving a prosecutor, social worker, physician, mental health professionals, and forensic nurse and parole officers.
The mental health officer was involved in helping the child with post-traumatic stress disorder; the prosecutor took charge as the head of the multidisciplinary team since he was the last man to see the case through the justice system. A forensic nurse was to conduct forensic interviews and to give primary care needs to the child in collaboration with the physician. The parole officer was to help in conducting sensing reports to give recommendations on what should be done to the offender. The team organized itself and went through one-day training where they addressed the issues of protocol, duties, and mission.
In my pediatric clinical rotation, I encountered a clinical case of a Hispanic 13-year-old that had asthma. Her triggers included allergies, cold and exercise. The child had severe symptoms in school that sometimes affected her studies. Since the child spent most of her time in school and at home, the multidisciplinary team involved a dietitian, general practitioner, school nurse, and respiratory specialist. The family members were also actively involved in the management process. The parents of the 13-year-old were educated on how to spot the triggers, how to detect the asthma symptoms and the appropriate diet for the asthmatic child.
Through a series of follow-ups and medical appointments, it emerged that the collaboration between the multidisciplinary team and the family improved communication between these parties. Being involved in this process, the family argued that they gained adequate knowledge in participating in the active management of asthma at home. Also, the family members were comfortable with the medical decisions. On the other hand, the child felt comfortable and safe in the presence of the family members. In a nutshell, we can argue that this venture led to improved patient outcome, safety, and quality of treatment.
Communication is the centerpiece of collaboration in healthcare. Without proper communication among healthcare professionals, the level of interaction and consultations reduces. It is in the best interest of healthcare delivery and the patients that health care providers create an excellent platform for communication (Nowotny et al., 2016).
As a transformational leader and a technology enthusiast, I have encouraged my colleagues to join mobile team communication apps and other online platforms to improve communication among healthcare providers. Also, the aspects of culture play a role in communication. I would try to learn or understand a few cultural aspects of my colleagues to ensure that no offense is taken during communication. I have also encouraged my colleagues to be culturally competent to improve the ease of communication with people from diverse origins.
I have effectively used the application of evidence-based practice in encouraging communication between the healthcare provider and the patient. Evidence-based practice incorporates the clinical expertise of an individual with the best clinical evidence available and the patients’ values in clinical decision making. In this light, I have used this practice to engage the patients and make to understand that their engagement and participation in the clinical decision-making process is of great benefit. On the same note, I believe in and practice patient-centered approach that maintains the dignity of the patient.
I believe in treating the patient rather than the disease. In this way, I create a conducive atmosphere for communication with the patient. In return, the patients often disclose more and are even more comfortable with the healthcare decisions. I have also used follow up plans to improve communication with the patients. With regards to the family members, I have maintained contact during follow-ups to check on the progress of the patient. I value and respect the family members as the significant others of the patient.
A particular scenario where the collaboration among health care professionals and the family members affected patient satisfaction involved a 16-year-old, Hispanic male. The patient had type 1 diabetes. He had experienced a heart attack as a result of hardening of the blood vessels. He had registered good medication compliance. However, he was poor at keeping up with the diabetic recommended diet. His mother was worried about his latest conditions and thus contacted the healthcare facility for intervention. We were charged with the responsibility of finding the best solutions to improve the patient’s awareness of medication and the recommended diet.
To address this situation, the team pursued the option of using a change strategy to improve the patient’s adherence to the recommended diet. In this case, the team used the power-coercive strategy of change to address the situation. This strategy holds the opinion that change can be achieved by influencing a convert (someone significant to the patient) who in turn influence the target person to change.
In this scenario, the patient’s mother was a perfect influential person that would inspire change. We educated them on the dangers of non-adherence and how to manage the disease. The mother was made to understand that her actions and attitude will help a great deal in influencing her child to change for the better. When we followed up to check on the progress, the patient improved on his adherence to medication and diet. He argued that he felt comfortable with the process since his mother was involved. The patient loved his mother and is the last person he would disappoint.
Collaboration between health care providers involves individuals from different disciplines, specialties and sectors working together to achieve a common goal. These efforts include a broad spectrum of activities including face-to-face encounter and messages conveyed through electronic platforms. On practical levels, a collaboration between healthcare providers means the integration of the shared values, themes, decision-making process, and the specialized knowledge together to create an understanding. In my experience, I have noticed that lack of understanding or misunderstanding of the professional responsibilities, roles and identities acts as a barrier to the integration of the said aspects.
Working together also calls for adequate knowledge and recognition of one’s area of expertise and competence. This respect fosters the free and open exchange of information among the healthcare providers. In my experience, I have observed that the lack of recognition of individuals’ expertise is another barrier to collaboration. Also, some senior healthcare officers do not feel comfortable collaborating with the junior healthcare providers. They see the junior healthcare providers as less experience and thus not worth collaborating with. This aspect kills the relationship between the two said parties and leave very little room for future engagements.
Culture plays a vital role in shaping individuals’ behaviors, beliefs and to some extent character. Cultural incompetence among the healthcare providers is a barrier to collaboration among the healthcare themselves and between the healthcare providers and the patients and the families. Cultural incompetence gives the patients a notion that the health care providers do not appreciate them thus may fail to engage in effective communication.
Lack of training on interprofessional collaborations is another barrier limiting collaboration among healthcare providers. Healthcare providers should be trained on the benefits of interprofessional collaboration and how to achieve it. On the same note, multidisciplinary collaboration becomes difficult when the team is not composed of appropriate diversity (Bridges et al., 2011). Additionally, lack of commitment from the team members also limits collaboration among healthcare providers. Collaboration requires a commitment in the form of time and resources, Moreover; the individuals do not just participate for the sake of it but also play an active role in this process.
Therefore, without the commitment, collaboration becomes a liability. Level of trust in the collaboration process thrives in an atmosphere where the targeted individuals trust the collaborative process. That means the team of healthcare providers should be sensitized on each benefit of the collaborative process. Lastly, lack of or reluctance to accept the suggestions proposed by an individual’s members destroys the vigor in someone. This scenario is common among senior healthcare providers
- Bridges, D., Davidson, R. A., Soule Odegard, P., Maki, I. V., & Tomkowiak, J. (2011). Interprofessional collaboration: three best practice models of interprofessional education. Medical education online, 16(1), 6035.
- Nowotny, H., McBee, D., Leahey, E., Downey, G. J., Feinstein, N. W., Kleinman, D. L., … & Vardi, I. (2016). Investigating interdisciplinary Collaboration: Theory and practice across disciplines. Rutgers University Press.