The Business of Interpersonal Team Relationships
Take a moment to reflect on your career in nursing. Similar to many nurses, it is likely that you have had more than a single job over the course of your experience. It is also likely that each position had its own unique mix of struggles and gratification. In contemporary healthcare settings, care is provided to patients by interdisciplinary teams. Collaboration and communication are core factors of teamwork, influencing multiple outcomes beyond patient care, such as job satisfaction in healthcare professionals. Because of the critical need to assure safe and high-quality outcomes for patients, there is a great need to facilitate the development of highly functional teams in healthcare settings. The need for healthcare professionals to work together in effective teams was identified in 2004 by the Institute of Medicine, recommending that factors including trust and respectful communication among nurses would improve the quality of patient care.1 Poor coordination and communication have been linked to errors in patient care in previous research.2 Encouraging mutual respect and sharing in communication can translate to multiple improvements while preventing errors and can extend across healthcare settings. Effective team communication is especially important given the multiple levels of healthcare workers responsible for delivering patient care today. Team size, gender distribution, numbers of administrative staff on the team, and work history are factors that have been demonstrated to have an effect on how team members communicate and develop mutual trust and respect, allowing them to coordinate complex tasks for patients such as initiation of insulin therapy.