The Importance of Working Together in Healthcare Argumentative Essay

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Collaboration and Teamwork in Healthcare

Collaboration and teamwork are key factors to the success of any business or workplace, from grocery stores to hospitals. In healthcare when individuals from all different disciplines work in collaboration as a team, positive patient outcomes and high quality care is the product.

Collaborative efforts and teamwork improve communication efforts and coordination between all healthcare professionals involved in the care of patients, as well as with the patients themselves.

In order for collaboration and teamwork to be successful among all healthcare professionals from different disciplines, the concept must be understood by all individuals, barriers to successful implementation must be identified and defined, and evidence-based strategies will need to be developed and implemented.

Unique Aspects of Collaboration and Teamwork in the Healthcare Setting

Most healthcare professionals have very likely been part of a team that has to collaborate to create a positive outcome with regard to the task assigned to the team. Despite having a team composed of multi-talented members, if the team is unable to collaborate and become cohesive, it doesn’t function effectively.

Teams can achieve success when each team member is able to execute their unique role effectively in collaboration with other team members. In today’s world of healthcare, many patients have very complex health histories which require that multiple team members work cohesively to help them achieve optimal health outcomes.

Patient complexity is increasing with the volume of the aging population who are afflicted with multiple health issues. A single, complex patient’s healthcare needs may require an equally complex health care team.

Team members often include a patient’s PCP (primary care physician), nurses, surgeons, specialists (e.g. endocrinology, urology, cardiology, pulmonology, etc.), pharmacists, social workers, care coordinators, etc. “Collaboration in health care has been shown to improve patient outcomes such as reducing preventable adverse drug reactions, decreasing morbidity and mortality rates and optimizing medication dosages.” (Bosch, B., and Mansell, H., 2015)

By combining the knowledge of a multi-disciplinary team and applying it to patient needs, the team can solve issues, generate effective care planning, and perform tasks more effectively.

Benefit vs. Consequence

Team work and collaboration generate an environment where team members are encouraged and inspired to share their collective knowledge, skill sets, and resources. When open communication and sharing occur, each team member can reflect on their own way of thinking and the way they approach a situation/issue.

Self-reflection can inspire self-improvement, create expansion of knowledge, and improve the use of each individual’s natural capabilities. By looking within and making self-improvement, role performance within a team is improved, thereby improving the productivity and efficiency of the team.

When teams function cohesively, the results are; improved quality of patient care, increased patient safety, reduction of personal and team stress, increased job satisfaction, increased effectiveness of time management skills, and improvement of skill sets/learning new skills.

Formation of teams, and cohesive teamwork, are not always successful. Teams can also be dysfunctional. Factors that may cause dysfunctional teamwork include, but are not limited to; putting one’s individual needs first/lack of commitment to the team, distrust in other team members, avoidance of personal and team accountability, fearful of conflict, and inattention to detail and results.

An article written by Mark Kent (2009) states that; “According to Harvard Business School researchers, the average team achieves only 63% of their strategic plans.” Patients are the ones who are most affected by the dysfunction of a healthcare team. Their safety and the quality of care they receive are jeopardized.

If members of a patient’s team are not communicating and working together, mistakes can be made, such as medication errors or misdiagnoses. Errors can cause harm to the patient, and in some cases, exacerbate existing health issues.

When errors are made the patient isn’t the only one who is affected. Errors increase the cost of healthcare delivery for healthcare facilities, insurance costs, and in some cases, employee/personal wages. Continuous or multiple errors that occur within a single facility or healthcare company can also effect the facility’s reputation, causing patients to seek care elsewhere. Teamwork and collaboration isn’t easy and relies on the implementation of, and abiding by, certain characteristics.

Characteristics of a Successful Team

Teams/team members must possess certain characteristics to achieve success for the team and for the patient. These characteristics should be taken into account when forming a team. Characteristics of a successful team include, but are not limited to:

  1. role clarity,
  2. team and personal trust and confidence,
  3. overcoming adversity,
  4. overcoming personal/team differences, and
  5. collective leadership.
  • Role clarity – Each member of the team relied upon, and expected to, perform their unique role(s) within the team effectively. Each member’s contributions to the team should be valued while still keeping the focus on the success of the team as a whole. “Examples include diagnosticians, prescribers, medication experts and members who tend to the patient’s daily needs.” (Bosch and Mansell, 2015)
  • Trust and confidence – team member s must have confidence in themselves and their own skill sets as well as those of the members of the team they are working with. Trust helps team members achieve a sense of confidence in one another and the services/care they are providing for patients and their families.
  • Overcoming adversity – this characteristic requires all team members to collectively remain focused on the goal and the expected outcome(s) despite any set-backs that may present themselves. For example, in an in-patient setting, a patient’s healthcare team must remain focused on the tasks at hand despite shortage of staff. Putting yourself in the shoes of the patient and making their needs the goal can help keep the team focused.
  • Overcoming personal/team differences – teams are not always perfect and at times, team members may not get along. However, whether or not they get along, they must respect what each team member brings to the team. Team members must overcome their differences and focus on the patient and/or goal.
    • Collective leadership – instead of having a team lead, collective leadership can be implemented. This can help relieve stress within the team and make all team members feel equally important. In turn, this can reduce conflict and help form a more cohesive team. Cohesive teams produce high quality outcomes. When issues and/or barriers that arise within the team can lead to compromise of team function and patient safety outcomes.

Barriers to Teamwork and Collaboration

Team work and collaboration aren’t always easy or successful. Teams may face challenges that they will have to work on overcoming to provide high quality, efficient patient care outcomes and to reach anticipated goals. Common barriers that a team may face include;

  1. a vision that is not aligned with the available resources,
  2. concerns related to each individuals scope of practice,
  3. differences in culture,
  4. insufficient team structure, and
  5. lack of needed feedback related to team function and team goals.

In order to overcome these barriers, strategies must be devised and implemented.

The vision of the team may need to be adjusted to reflect the resources the team has available to it. This may include identification of referral resources and consideration of staffing and system requirements. Each individual team member must feel confident in their anticipated role.

This can be accomplished by clearly defining the scope of practice, acknowledging the strengths and areas for improvement, and understanding the concerns of all team members, including cultural differences.

Cultural differences can be overcome by taking the time to listen to what each team member’s beliefs are come to a common understanding of how to best use the differences to the advantage of the team, and ultimately, the plan of care for the patient. “Focusing on patient goals and linking these to medical and behavioral targets can bridge this culture gap.” (Safety Net Medical Home Initiative, n.d.)

Closing the culture gap can help give better structure to the team. Developing a workflow that includes specific methods and timing of team member communication is also helpful in developing stronger team structure.

Communication and discussing challenging patient issues as a collective group can result in positive, successful care planning and goal achievement. “Consider sharing data regularly at provider meetings and engage your whole organization in quality improvement activities to foster your high-functioning team.” (Safety Net Medical Home Initiative, n.d.) Prior to team meetings, leadership can ask for meeting agenda items of concern to team members.


Teamwork and collaboration are a necessity to successful patient outcomes. In order to achieve team success and high quality patient outcomes, team members must respect the value of what each person adds to the team and be available and open to communicating what is working and what needs to be improved.

Communication and strong leadership can knock down any barriers a team may experience. Putting patients at the center of the team can help all team members involved focus on activating their role and skill sets to the optimal level. When optimal team functioning occurs, high quality patient outcomes and achievement of goals are the outcome.


Cite this paper

The Importance of Working Together in Healthcare Argumentative Essay. (2020, Sep 23). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/the-importance-of-working-together-in-healthcare/



What is the importance of teamwork or collaboration in patient care?
Teamwork and collaboration are crucial in patient care as they ensure that all healthcare professionals work together to provide the best possible care for the patient. This leads to improved patient outcomes, increased efficiency, and a better overall healthcare experience for the patient.
Why is it important to work together in healthcare?
It is important to work together in healthcare in order to provide the best possible care for patients. When healthcare professionals work together as a team, they are able to share knowledge and skills, and make sure that patients receive the best possible treatment.
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