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Team Coordination in Healthcare: Practicum Project

Introduction

The topic for my practicum project plan is “Incorporating effective team collaboration/coordination to improve patient safety.” I selected this topic because, throughout my practicum experience, I observed poor communication among interdisciplinary team members. Johnson, Quinlan, and Marsh (2018) say that poor communication in the healthcare setting may negatively affect patient safety standards. In addition, Armstrong (2019) argues that the lack of proper team coordination could significantly affect patient safety standards. Based on the importance of maintaining synergy among interdisciplinary teams through effective communication, the goal of my practicum project plan seeks to establish the link between the two aspects of care delivery.

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Goal Statement

The overarching goal of the practicum project plan is to improve team coordination as a prerequisite for enhancing patient safety standards.

Project Objectives

Three objectives will support the above-mentioned goal statement. They are listed below.

  1. To minimize inefficiencies in communication by 50% and improve synergy among interdisciplinary teams within the first three months of their formation.
  2. Identify three modes of communication that could improve interdisciplinary healthcare collaboration among interdisciplinary team members.
  3. Improve the effects of timely communication among interdisciplinary team members and increase their performance by 25% within their first three months of formation

The three objectives highlighted above are nestled in Bloom’s top four key cadres of formulating project objectives: application, analysis, evaluation, and creation (Armstrong, 2019). The structure of this paper will highlight five key areas of investigation: information relating to what other researchers have written about the role of effective team collaboration on patient safety, resources needed to undertake periodic assessments, modalities for conducting formative and summative evaluations, and project timelines. The section below is a justification of the proposed practicum project plan through a review of existing literature.

Evidence-Based Review of the Literature for Project Justification

Johnson et al. (2018) say that poor communication among healthcare teams could lead to adverse patient outcomes. Rittle (2015) adds that proper communication forms an essential part of patient care delivery. Researchers who have affirmed a correlation between positive health outcomes and good communication have established this link (Johnson et al., 2018). This relationship partly stems from the fact that nurses are often at the forefront of care delivery and responsible for sharing important data relating to their patients with other members of the healthcare team (Windover et al., 2014). However, the process is usually affected by unpredictable and often volatile relationships among members of the care team.

Vermeir et al. (2018) say that the complexity and unpredictability of most healthcare systems are largely responsible for poor communication among interdisciplinary team members. Several conditions could lead to this outcome, but a sudden rise in patients’ needs or unexpected changes in their conditions are common catalysts of poor communication (Windover et al., 2014). These conditions could create distractions among healthcare service providers or cause a breakdown in communication (Vermeir et al., 2018). For example, a nurse could provide a physician with too much information relating to a patient’s health, and the physician may dismiss it if it is not well structured, regardless of their usefulness to the provision of timely care. Such an outcome has a negative impact on patient safety standards and satisfaction levels because their interests are not prioritized during the transfer of health data (Windover et al., 2014). To avoid such outcomes, it is essential for health administrators to make sure effective interventions are in place. Gharaveis, Hamilton, and Pati (2018) say one of the ways to accomplish this objective is to make sure that health institutions have a patient-centered culture focused on safety. In addition, there is a need to embrace open communication among healthcare service providers and empower them with the right tools to communicate effectively.

Poor communication among interdisciplinary teams could also affect a nurse’s ability to meet professional standards of care. In other words, poor communication influences the benchmark for measuring performance (Finnell, Thomas, Nehring, McLoughlin, & Bickford, 2015). It is important to observe these standards because they help to inculcate a culture of safety in the healthcare environment. In addition, they could guide nurses on how to improve patient safety standards in their specific areas of operation (Windover et al., 2014).

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Overall, specialized professional-practice standards help nurses to improve safety in the healthcare environment (Finnell et al., 2015). Therefore, by embracing them, health professionals become accountable for their decisions and responsible for maintaining high levels of competence in their communication (Windover et al., 2014). The same standards are instrumental in providing effective communication because they encourage nurses to acquire knowledge through experience and continuous learning (Finnell et al., 2015).

Methodology

As highlighted in this paper, the three major objectives of this study are to solve inefficiencies in communication, describe its modalities, and appraise the importance of timely communication among interdisciplinary teams to improve patient safety standards. These three objectives will be achieved by reviewing existing literature concerning the research topic. However, the first objective that focuses on solving inefficiencies in communication will be contextualized in the institutional setting where I had my practicum experience. Therefore, linked solutions may relate exclusively to an institutional context. Relative to this assertion, I will undertake the goal review process within the time allocated to complete my study module. Furthermore, I may conduct the review by looking for relevant research materials from reputable health databases, including Sage Journals, PubMed, and BMC. Additional information is also available on credible websites. Possible keywords that may be useful in obtaining the right research materials will vary depending on the context of the research objective under investigation.

Resources

The process of completing the project goals depends on the availability of essential resources. Time is one such resource because the plan is time-bound and will be affected by my academic and professional calendar. The observations I made during my practicum experiences will also be another resource for the practicum project plan. Electronic resources, such as the internet and the World Wide Web, will also be vital in completing the plan because some data will be sourced from secondary or published materials, which are commonly available online.

Formative Evaluation

According to Black (2010), formative evaluation often occurs when there is an internal assessment of project plans. The main goal of conducting this evaluation is to distinguish between relevant and irrelevant content to improve the overall effectiveness of the project implementation plan. Based on this understanding, the formative evaluation process for the proposed project will occur at any stage of its cycle (Duers & Brown, 2009). The main objective of doing so will be to identify deficiencies in the implementation of project plans before they affect their operational aspects. The data will also be useful in identifying whether the project is proceeding as planned, based on how well each objective complements another. The goal will be to realize synchrony in the accomplishment of project goals and to provide the overriding support needed to meet its overall aim.

Summative Evaluation

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2019), a summative evaluation occurs at the end of a project. I will conduct it by surveying and interviewing nurses to find out the usefulness of the project objectives in improving interdisciplinary communication in the healthcare setting. The respondents will be professionals because they are the main players in interdisciplinary communication and may offer reliable feedback on the effects of the changes on their performance. Questionnaires will be used as the main data collection technique for the summative evaluation because they are reliable instruments for collecting large volumes of data from many people. The evaluation results will provide an opportunity to make fundamental changes regarding how interdisciplinary teams within the health sector will collaborate with one another. In addition, they will highlight key areas where interdisciplinary communication can be improved for purposes of boosting patient safety standards.

Timeline

The project timeline in the appendix section shows that the proposed plan should take two months to complete. The exercise will involve four key stages, which include the formulation of project goals, reviewing existing literature on the research topic, conducting a formative evaluation, undertaking a summative assessment, and preparing the final report. The longest stage of the project implementation plan is the formative evaluation because it involves lengthy processes of data collection and analysis, while the shortest phase is writing up the final report (see the appendix section below).

Appendix

Project Timeline (Source: Developed by author).

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Activity 1stWeek 2nd
Week
3rdWeek 4thWeek 5thWeek 6thWeek 7thWeek 8thWeek
Formulation of project goals and objectives X X
Reviewing existing literature X X X X
Undertaking a summative assessment X
Preparing the final report X

References

Armstrong, P. (2019). Bloom’s taxonomy. Web.

Black, P. (2010). Formative assessment. In P. Peterson, E. Baker & B. McGaw (Eds.), International encyclopedia of education (3rd ed., pp. 359-364). St. Louis, MO: Elsevier.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019). Key concepts of evaluation. Web.

Duers, L. E., & Brown, N. (2009). An exploration of student nurses’ experiences of formative assessment. Nurse Education Today, 29(6), 654-659.

Finnell, D., Thomas, E., Nehring, W., McLoughlin, K., & Bickford, C. (2015). Best practices for developing specialty nursing scope and standards of practice. Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 20(2), 1-10.

Gharaveis, A., Hamilton, D. K., & Pati, D. (2018). The impact of environmental design on teamwork and communication in healthcare facilities: A systematic literature review. Health Environments Research & Design Journal, 11(1), 119-137.

Johnson, B., Quinlan, M. M., & Marsh, J. S. (2018). Telenursing and nurse-patient communication within fertility, Inc. Journal of Holistic Nursing, 36(1), 38-53.

Rittle, C. (2015). Multicultural nursing: Providing better employee care. Workplace Health & Safety, 63(12), 532-538.

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Vermeir, P., Downs, C., Degroote, S., Vandijck, D., Tobback, E., Delesie, L., Vogelaers, D. (2018). Intraorganizational communication and job satisfaction among Flemish hospital nurses: An exploratory multicenter study. Workplace Health & Safety, 66(1), 16-23.

Windover, A. K., Boissy, A., Rice, T. W., Gilligan, T., Velez, V. J., & Merlino, J. (2014).

The REDE model of healthcare communication: Optimizing relationship as a therapeutic agent. Journal of Patient Experience, 1(1), 8-13.

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