Concord Hospital is a non-profit community hospital located in Concord, New Hampshire. This hospital has 295 beds and handles and treats approximately 250 patients annually in its cardiac surgery program. Despite the success that the facility has been enjoying, its main challenge has been issues related to medication safety. Around 75% of these patients come from the state of New Hampshire, while 25% come from other countries and, in some rare cases, South America, Europe, and Asia. Based on past statistics, instances of errors with regards to the prescription of improper drugs have been reported on approximately 7% of the patients. This has dramatically affected the recovery rates of the patients as well as their outcomes.
The report by the management team to Err is to Human proposed that pharmacists should always accompany physicians during patient rounds as a means of enhancing medication safety. From a critical point of view, it is evident that the main managerial problem that the facility was facing was effective coordination and communication within its cardiac care team to eliminate errors and ensure patient safety. In response to this, the cardiac care team developed a new program that aimed at enhancing collaborative performance among various practitioners in the caregiving department as a means of improving performance and patient outcomes within the facility. In this respect, the multidisciplinary collaborative team should comprise of all members from the various departments within the facility, including:
- Bedside nurse
- Nurse practitioner
- Rehabilitation specialist.
- The patient
- A member of the patient’s family or a friend.
The main aim of this approach was to ensure that an informed care-team is developed to ensure that patients receive effective and efficient care. Additionally, this approach also aimed at minimizing the rate of error occurrences during the treatment process and also to act as a platform of mitigating and rapidly responding to any outcomes that might have resulted due to unforeseen errors during the treatment process.
Many theories have been advanced by scholars to expound on the concept of teamwork within the workplace (Bellomo 2003). The Tuckman theory, on the one hand, focuses on the stages of group development. Under this approach, team members do not clearly understand their roles and the objectives that are to be achieved by the team during the early stages of group development (Northouse 2015). This makes this theory to be ineffective in the Concord Hospital scenario since it is imminent for team members to understand their roles as well as the goals and objectives to be achieved.
Given the current case scenario, the Belbin theory can be effectively applied to expound on and support the application of teamwork within the cardiac surgery care team. Advanced by Meredith Belbin, a British researcher, and management theorist, the Belbin team roles theory is applied in a given work setting to bring out the strengths and weaknesses of team members. It is from this description that Belbin described a team not as a group of individuals who possess different titles and expertise but as a group of individuals whose roles and responsibilities are understood by other members within the group (Northouse 2015).
As such, individuals within a team seek the assistance of other members in roles that they are not competent in and perform with efficiency and excellence the roles that they are skilled in. Therefore, building a team under this approach results in the development of productive work relationships, selection and building of productive teams at the workplace, development of self-awareness and effectiveness among team members, and, most importantly, the structure of mutual trust and understanding among team members. All these factors are critical in enhancing effectiveness and efficiency, especially in the process of service delivery within a healthcare facility such as Concord Hospital.
By this theory, it is critical to put up a team to achieve a specific cause or purpose. As such, the team leader should carefully select team members to ensure that the desired balance of behavior and skills is realized. This balance is highly dependent on the roles that are to be conducted to ensure that the overall team objective is achieved. However, it is critical to note that it is not necessary to select a different individual to perform a specific role since one individual can play two or three roles to realize desired outcomes (Barker 2002). Within a team, the functions assigned to a particular team member are used to define his personality and not behavior. In this respect, team members should use the tasks assigned to them to enhance their strengths and build on their weaknesses to not only ensure that the desired results are achieved but also to build and develop their careers (Cloffi 2000).
Application of the Belbin Theory in the Case Scenario
As mentioned earlier, the use of the Belbin theory will enhance the overall quality of patient care at Concord Hospital. By the Belbin theory, the first step should involve the selection of specific team members to form the multidisciplinary collaborative team. Since the operation of this team follows a collaborative approach, a patient briefing should always be conducted every day by the bedside of the patient. This briefing should follow a structured communication protocol led by the leading nurse practitioner. This briefing will aim to develop and reflect on the patient’s care plan, monitoring his/her progress and addressing any needs that might be present, and most importantly, to clearly outline the roles and responsibilities of each team member based on the overall status of the patient.
To enhance emotional support, the patient, his/her family, and friends should also be encouraged to participate in the program to ensure that any concerns from their end are brought forward and addressed actively. Specifically, the aim of this program is to enhance the patient’s medication safety. As such, the pharmacist is expected to go through the scheduled medication of the patient daily and address any concerns that might have been brought about by the care team, the patient, or family and friends. Additionally, the pharmacist should also maintain a monitoring sheet in which he/she records the recommendations and progress made every day by the patient. All these considerations will be critical in eliminating any medical and care errors that might arise hence enhancing the overall responsibility of the patient, which is critical in the recovering and healing process.
Given the need for Concord Hospital to enhance its multidisciplinary collaborative care approach, the use of Belbin team roles theory will play a significant role in ensuring that the overall goals and objectives of the program are achieved. The application of this theory will ensure that qualified personnel is selected, specific functions developed and executed in a balanced manner. This is critical in enhancing the overall effectiveness and efficiency of the caregiving program hence eliminating errors and increasing the chances or recovery.
Barker, K 2002, ‘Medication errors observed in 36 healthcare facilities’, Archives of Internal Medicine’, vol. 162, no. 1, pp. 1897-1903.
Bellomo, R 2003, ‘A prospective before-and-after trial of a medical emergency team’, Medical Journal of Australia, vol. 179, no. 1, pp. 283-7.
Cloffi, J 2000, ‘Nurses’ experiences of making decisions to call emergency assistance to their patients’, Journal of Advanced Nursing, vol. 32, no. 1, pp. 108-14.
Northouse, G 2015, Introduction to Leadership: Concept and Practices, Sage, New York.