Healthcare collaboration, among professionals, has been a source of important communication in obtaining optimal treatment for patients. By promoting active participation amongst various caregivers, involved in a patient’s care, this helps to enhance desired goals, while promoting continuous communication among caregivers. Determining which type of collaboration to evoke in patient care can be difficult. There are two main types of collaboration in the aspect of patient care. The first involves communication with one specific type of healthcare providers this is known as intradisciplinary. These teams would include nurse-to-nurse communication or primary care-to-primary care collaboration. Second would be interdisciplinary involving multi-specialty collaboration and consideration, working together toward patient goals. Although intradisciplinary teams may only be a provider of one specific occupation, each member will have different levels of expertise. The expertise provided by the members allow for confidence by the patient in the care received. It is a way for less experienced professionals to communicate a lack of understanding or uncertainty in certain tasks to proficient staff.
This would ensure a reduction in errors in patient care. Communication and collaboration within these teams is limited by their scope of practice. Interdisciplinary cooperation involves the solving of a common set of problems where “each member’s assessment must take into account the other’s contributions to allow for holistic management” (Hall & Weaver, 2001). Each skill contributed by this team member would complement another’s while assessing, planning and evaluating patient care, (Xryrichis & Ream, 2008). Interdisciplinary teams would involve multiple disciplines such as social workers, dieticians, nutritionists, specialists, internists, and many other types. Every collaborating member with their own set of skills unique to the patient’s needs. Even with two main types of collaboration involving patient care, there is one central idea of both, the patient. The patient is the ultimate goal in both teams. Ensuring patient safety, enabling the patient to reach desired goals, and providing quality care is the main priority, regardless of the area in which a professional is working. The patient has the choice to help choose which physician should be collaborated with, the right to request a consultation, request different staffing, or refuse to see a professional.
Helping to ensure that the teams meet patient satisfaction expectations and goals, several communication skills are needed to be successful. Insisting professionals of different backgrounds to understand the role of another, is one skill. Next, members need to allow open communication within meetings or during conferencing of patients’ needs and be respectful of other’s opinions. Another important communication skill is creating a standard workflow for communication and information sharing among team members. This will help to reduce any miscommunication errors and improve patient safety. Correct and accurate documentation is critical in reporting information to another team member. There should be equality amongst all members involved within the continuum of care. Team members must remember while maintaining successful communication, the main goal is the patient. By empowering nurses to have an active and outspoken role in the decision-making process, helps promote practice partnerships with interdisciplinary and intradisciplinary team members.
Empowered nurses involve patient and families into daily activities as well. Family support and involvement would be considered interdisciplinary. Patient empowerment encourages the patients’ self-awareness as they become more involved in their own care. According to Burkhardt & Nathaniel (2008): Nurses must approach patients as equal partners. Skillful collaboration and negotiation, which incorporate power sharing and mutually beneficial interactions, enable empowerment. Relinquishing professional power returns power to the patient. (p. 487) In most instances of hospitalization, patients feel a loss of control. This change diminishes those feelings. Patient involvement in their care expands the interdisciplinary team farther.
Interdisciplinary and intradisciplinary teams can help to develop the nurse professionally. While being part of these teams, nurses will be required to do thinking that is more critical. They will learn and grown as nurses from the knowledge and experiences from other individuals on the team. Professional development includes the nurse to growing professionally and maintaining competency. By collaborating with other disciplines, nurses are able to expand their horizons, ask questions, seek additional help, and remain current on treatment options.
Most organizations and healthcare facilities are creating standards for interdisciplinary and intradisciplinary teams. Mutual collaboration, with other disciplines or the same discipline, is crucial for effective and safe patient care. Patient and family involvement help to foster their need for control and input into their situation. While speaking to other members of the team, effective communication is needed to protect the patient from miscommunication errors or injury as a result. This should be the main concern when creating models for inter/intra-disciplinary care.
Burkhardt, M. A., & Nathaniel, A. K. (2008). Ethics & Issues in Contemporary Nursing (3rd ed.). Clifton Park, NY: Delmar Cengage Learning. Hall, P. & Weaver, L. (2001). Interdisciplinary education and teamwork: a long and winding road. Medical Education, 35(9), 867-875 Xyrichis, A. & Ream, E. (2008). Teamwork: a concept analysis. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 61, 232-241