Health care teams are groups of highly skilled experts who may often form inexpert teams because of a lack of collective competence. Because teamwork and collaboration form the foundation of effective clinical practice, factors that promote collective competence demand exploration. The authors review team reflexivity (TR), a concept from the psychology and management literatures, and how it could contribute to the collective competence of health care teams. TR captures a team’s ability to reflect collectively on group objectives, strategies, goals, processes, and outcomes of past, current, and future performance to process key information and adapt accordingly. As an overarching process that promotes team functioning, TR builds shared mental models as well as triggering team adaptation and learning.
The authors present a conceptual framework for TR in health care, describing three phases in which TR may occur: pre-action TR (briefing before patient care), in-action TR (deliberations during active patient care), and post-action TR (debriefing after patient care). Depending on the phase, TR targets either goals, taskwork, teamwork, or resources and leads to different outcomes (e.g., optimal preparation, a shared mental model, adaptation, or learning). This novel conceptual framework incorporates various constructs related to reflection and unites them under the umbrella of TR. Viewing reflection through a team lens may guide future research about team functioning, optimize training efforts, and elucidate mechanisms for workplace learning, with better patient care as the ultimate goal.