Patient Engagement

Improving Patient Care by Creating a Collaborative Work Environment

Communication and collaboration are the foundations for a successful Emergency Department team. When commitment to providing the highest quality care serves as the bounding agent for medical teams we observe improved communication, patient engagement, and outcomes. All roles within the Emergency Department team are vital and must be recognized.

Physicians can lead the charge on initiatives to bring Emergency Department teams together. By celebrating individual roles, responsibilities, and strengths, Physicians can create much needed harmony, cohesion, and structure amongst their team.

In the first installment of our Emergency Medicine Institute podcasts, Dr. David Pierce reflects on his early experiences as an Emergency Department medical provider. Dr. David Pierce’s candor and humble revelations provide an insightful, compelling illustration of the challenges one faces when joining a divided medical team. Dr. David Pierce also reflects on steps to close the divide amongst his team. Below are three tips to creating a cohesive team disclosed during his interview.

  1. Respect and Listen

When a member of your medical team requires assistance, stop what you are doing and address them with helpful solutions. The fastest way to alienate yourself is to push people away. Remember all members of your team are vital and have a wealth of knowledge that can be useful and helpful to provide an alternative perspective. Put value in your team and let them know how important they are. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, to create collaborative work environment.

  1. “Managing Up”

Next time you are in the room with both a member of your medical team and a patient, talk your team member up. Tell the patient “You are in great hands”. This is a simple method that shows teamwork, trust, and cohesion. Your staff will feel acknowledged and your patient will feel more comfortable. Likewise, all members of the team should be supporting and promoting one another.

  1. Huddle

One of the most effective methods improve connections amongst your medical team is to implement a brief meeting on a regular basis, referred to by Dr. David Pierce as “huddles”. Take time to get together as a group to discuss cases, concerns, and to provide essential updates. Team meetings will help to create and maintain a collaborative work environment. This is also a great opportunity to acknowledge members of the staff that are doing well, which will help boost morale and strengthen the bond with your team. Remember the goal is to celebrate individual strengths of each member on your team, reinforcing everyone’s pivotal role in patient care.

Everyone in the Emergency Department is working towards the same goal. Creating a collaborative, cohesive team starts with defining and reinforcing each members’ contributions to the team and patient. There are different perspectives, insights, and levels of knowledge that come from the individuals on your team. Remove titles and ego from the equation to make the greater success of your group the priority. Support all the individual efforts that members of your team are putting forth to provide outstanding patient care.

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