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Case Study: Team and Team Processes

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Case Study: Team and Team Processes

The team process in a health care organization is quite similar to the team process in other organizations. Teams are made up of individuals who are working towards a common goal. Even though the individuals who make up a team may have different roles within the team, the expected outcome or goal remains the same. As an example, in a hospital, doctors and nurses work together to achieve one main goal even though their roles or titles are different. With this concept in mind, one can safely assume that doctors and nurses make up what is considered a team of health care professionals.

This paper will provide a brief description of how healthcare professionals in a hospital setting work together as a team, and will provide some information on the team process. The paper will also provide information on a case study presented in the text book, Health Organizations: Theory, Behavior, & Development. From the case study this paper will identify the concerns of a surgical nurse who appears to be a bit apprehensive when it comes to expressing him or herself while assisting a surgeon and a physician's assistant during patient surgery. A few suggested interventions will be given that might help a surgical nurse address her identified concerns.

Effective Teams and Team Process

As previously stated, in order for a group of individuals who work together to be effective and successful when performing their job duties, it is important that these persons all work towards one common goal. To do so, everyone will need to clearly understand what is expected of himself or herself as a member of a team. One of the ways to understand the team process is to know how teams are defined. Teams have been defined by J. R. Hackman (1987) as work groups that exist within the context of a larger organization and share responsibility for a team product or service and are a design choice for accomplishing work. Working as a member of a surgical team requires discipline and cohesiveness among and between everyone.

Surgical teams are usually made up of the surgeon who is the leader of the surgical team and has the ultimate responsibility for performing the surgery in an effective and safe manner. The anesthesiologist/anesthetist must be constantly aware of the surgeon's actions, he or she must do everything possible to ensure the safety of the patient and reduce the stress of the operation. There is also the scrub nurse or scrub assistant that prepares the setup and assists the surgeon by passing surgical instruments, sutures.

Finally, there is the circulating nurse who is there to obtain supplies, answer the anesthesiologist/anesthetist requests, deliver supplies to the sterile field, and carry out the nursing care plan. Each member of the surgical team has a defined task that must be carried out properly and effectively so that every patient is given the best possible care.

A Case Study

Following is a description of a case study which has been presented to a class of students who are studying for their degree in healthcare administration. These are the details of the case study.

Two surgical teams from different hospitals have a similar composition, nurses, perfusionists, an anesthesiologist, and a surgeon (team leader). Two nurses who are members of different teams provided the following accounts of their teamwork:

Nurse B: "There is a painful process of finding out what didn't work and saying 'We won't do that again.' We are reactive. The nurses have to run for stuff unexpectedly. If you observe something that might be a problem you are obligated to speak up, but you choose your time. I will work around [the surgeon]. I will go to his PA [physician's assistant] if there is a problem.... If I see a [surgical] case on the list [for tomorrow] I think, 'Oh! Do we really have to do it! Just get me a fresh blade so I can slash my wrists right now" (Johnson, pg. 131).

From the details of the case study, students are asked to provide recommendations that might address the concerns expressed by Nurse B above. After reading the case study one may conclude that Nurse B seems to be a little hesitant



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