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Healthcare Environment: Challenges to Teamwork and Collaboration


Collaboration among staff members is one of the vital requirements for effective management of key tasks and responsibilities in the healthcare environment. Owing to the necessity to manage patients’ information continuously and share the relevant data with fellow healthcare staff members, one must ensure that none of the information pieces is lost or unmentioned; otherwise, risks to patient safety start to emerge (Rosen et al., 2018). Namely, the threat of a medical error or the failure to provide adequate and appropriate treatment to the target population becomes highly probable once patients’ data is mismanaged (Meisner et al., 2020). By promoting teamwork and interdisciplinary collaboration between healthcare staff members, one will minimize the extent of risk that patients face in the healthcare environment and allow the levels of safety to rise.

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Unfortunately, the promotion of teamwork and collaboration in the healthcare environment requires overcoming multiple challenges. Among the most common barriers o collaboration and teamwork in the healthcare context, one should mention the issue of information management and the development of the relevant skills first. Although electronic health records (EHR) have become nearly ubiquitous lately, some healthcare facilities still struggle to introduce a coherent EHR system, establish safety standards, and help staff members develop the needed skills (Bennardi et al., 2021). As a result, the process of data sharing is hampered substantially, which disrupts collaboration and teamwork among healthcare experts (Bennardi et al., 2021).

Another issue preventing healthcare practitioners and nursing experts from working as a team concerns workplace hierarchy and leadership. Due to the lack of clarity in the distribution of roles and responsibilities within a diverse team in a healthcare context, leadership issues and the failure to establish the principles of accountability and delegation of responsibilities may occur (Rosen et al., 2018). To address the specified concern, strategies aimed at fostering critical values such as commitment, integrity, and respect to patients, must be introduced.

QSEN Quality and Safety Competencies

In addressing the concerns outlined above, strategies for promoting a responsible attitude among staff members must be incorporated into the healthcare practice. Specifically, the QSEN competencies should be taken into consideration as important guidelines for safety management. Namely, the ability to recognize differences in the communication styles used by the participants remains one of the essential guidelines to be followed to ensure safety in the healthcare setting and promote improvement in service quality (Quality and Safety Education for Nurses Institute, 2021). A thorough understanding of differences between the existing communication styles will help healthcare practitioners and nurses collaborate in a multidisciplinary setting, as well as educate patients from a variety of sociocultural backgrounds, therefore, improving the efficacy of safety measures.

Another consideration offered by the QSEN deserving closer attention is the recommendation to locate and assess the barriers to successful teamwork and workplace collaboration. The emphasis on the systemic analysis I what makes the described guideline truly invaluable for healthcare experts (Quality and Safety Education for Nurses Institute, 2021). By viewing the healthcare setting as a system, one will be able to locate the barriers to successful communication and teamwork that would not have been registered before. For instance, changes within the organization’s use of IT and ICT resources.

Teamwork and Collaboration: Literature Review

The importance of teamwork and collaboration in healthcare has been emphasized multiple times in numerous studies. For example, Schot et al. (2020) explain that the use of collaboration leads to improvements in managing patients’ needs on an interdisciplinary level. As a result, the quality of care and efficacy of relevant services rises. Furthermore, Meisner et al. (2020) outline the role of collaboration in the clinical context. Furthermore, Rosen et al. (2018) prove that the focus on teamwork leads to noticeable improvements in the delivery of care and the management of patients’ needs. In turn, Dinh et al. (2020) delve into the intricacies of teamwork in the healthcare setting, emphasizing the role of mediators as the team leaders that guide the rest of the team and coordinate the interactions between the participants, removing the threat of conflicts and focusing on collaboration. However, Bennardi et al. (2021) warn that interdisciplinary collaboration and teamwork in the healthcare setting is fraught with multiple challenges and barriers, from hierarchy issues to resistance to change. Nevertheless, with a well-developed leadership approach, cooperation and teamwork can be promoted in the healthcare setting.


Despite the challenges that the promotion of patient safety in the nursing setting entails, it is actively supported by a range of organizations and encouraged as a vital aspect of providing proper healthcare services. For instance, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement suggests 17 recommendations for enforcing patient safety. Out of these 17 strategies., two deserve specific attention. Namely, the sixth piece of advice suggests that healthcare experts should “engage patients, families, and care partners in the co-production of care” (Institute for Healthcare Improvement, n.d.). The specified recommendation is critical for promoting collaboration and teamwork since it focuses on reducing the range of extraneous risk factors to which a patient is exposed outside of the hospital environment (Dinh et al., 2020). Indeed, with the support of family members, a patient will be able to follow the prescribed treatment strategies and risk avoidance approaches that will reduce the threat to his or her health to a noticeable extent (Dinh et al., 2020). Additionally, collaboration with family members will allow learning more about the patient’s background and receiving more objective data about the patient’s health status. Thus, the quality of information regarding the patient’s past medical history and the key adverse factors shaping the patient’s health status will improve.

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Another vital recommendation worth noting is the use of the system approach when addressing workplace safety issues. The importance of the specified piece of advice might not seem evident at first, yet the further exploration of the safety issues in the healthcare setting will prove its significance. Namely, the healthcare environment is typically seen as a whole rather than a combination of fragmented processes (Bennardi et al., 2021). Therefore, to ensure consistent information flow and uninterrupted management of key tasks, including addressing patients’ needs and managing administrative issues, consistency becomes essential. In turn, the system approach helps to represent the healthcare setting as a single entity, therefore, allowing healthcare experts to keep track of every change occurring in the target environment (Meisner et al., 2020). As a result, issues such as delays in delivering healthcare services, as well as emergence of medical errors, can be safely avoided (Schot et al., 2020). For this reason, the system approach should be established as an essential part of maintaining safety in the healthcare environment.

Teamwork and Collaboration: Costs

However, unfortunately, the enhancement of teamwork and collaboration in the nursing setting requires substantial investments. Specifically, the introduction of technological innovations, namely, IT and ICT tools, into the organizational setting is likely to require substantial spending (Schot et al., 2020). The specified expenses can be afforded by changing the current allocation of resources and cutting costs for several issues of lesser importance.

With the introduction of collaboration and teamwork in the healthcare environment, one will cause an increase in the levels of patient safety since the specified change will entail better management of patients’ data. Thus, strategies for promoting collaboration in the clinical environment must be established and reinforced as obligatory elements of the healthcare practice. Specifically, the use of sustainment strategies supported by an effective leadership approach, specifically, Situational and transformational Leadership styles, can be recommended as the methods of promoting collaboration and teamwork in the healthcare environment. As a result, the needs of patients will be met accordingly, and patient data will be managed effectively.


Bennardi, M., Diviani, N., Stüssi, G., Saletti, P., Gamondi, C., Cinesi, I., & Rubinelli, S. (2021). A qualitative exploration of interactional and organizational determinants of collaboration in cancer palliative care settings: Family members’, health care professionals’ and key informants’ perspectives. PloS One, 16(10), 1-18.

Dinh, J. V., Traylor, A. M., Kilcullen, M. P., Perez, J. A., Schweissing, E. J., Venkatesh, A., & Salas, E. (2020). Cross-disciplinary care: A systematic review on teamwork processes in health care. Small Group Research, 51(1), 125-166.

Institute for Healthcare Improvement. (n.d.). National action plan to advance patient safety.

Meisner, B. A., Boscart, V., Gaudreau, P., Stolee, P., Ebert, P., Heyer, M.,… Wilson, K. (2020). Interdisciplinary and collaborative approaches needed to determine impact of COVID-19 on older adults and aging: CAG/ACG and CJA/RCV joint statement. Canadian Journal on Aging/La Revue Canadienne du Vieillissement, 39(3), 333-343.

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Quality and Safety Education for Nurses Institute. (2021). QSEN competencies.

Rosen, M. A., DiazGranados, D., Dietz, A. S., Benishek, L. E., Thompson, D., Pronovost, P. J., & Weaver, S. J. (2018). Teamwork in healthcare: Key discoveries enabling safer, high-quality care. American Psychologist, 73(4), 433-450.

Schot, E., Tummers, L., & Noordegraaf, M. (2020). Working on working together. A systematic review on how healthcare professionals contribute to interprofessional collaboration. Journal of Interprofessional Care, 34(3), 332-342.

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