Clinical interdisciplinary health team care: an educational experiment

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Abstract

With increasing concern for teamwork in clinical practice in health care settings, the need to identify the concepts, methods, and learning processes for improving interdisciplinary team skills is apparent. This paper describes patient-centered, clinical-research-demonstration programs for teams of students, preceptors, and faculty members from six disciplines who provided patient care in a long-term rehabilitation setting. The teams were involved in the theory and practice of team-building, including weekly sessions on leadership styles, communication, group decision-making, and team effectiveness assessment. Objective and subjective measurements were administered throughout the program. The results indicate that task-oriented patient care favors the learning of team skills, especially when all levels of administration support and participate in the processes. Question are raised concerning the effect of clinical teams on the quality of patient care, their cost-effectiveness, and the low priority given to teaching interdisciplinary team skills in professional education.

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