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Team Work and Collaboration

Collaborating within a team is a core competency for nurses. A myriad of competencies suggested by various professional groups, including the Quality and Safety Education in Nursing (QSEN) project and the Interprofessional Educational Collaborative, emphasize the importance of working as a team. As important as it is for nurse educators to provide opportunities for students to learn team work, it is equally as important that these educators model this behavior by working in various teams as part of their faculty responsibilities.

Scenario:

The instructor sees that a majority of students assigned to a unit in Sherpath are not meeting the desired benchmark for success. The instructor adjusts the activities in class in order to reinforce this content. Additional opportunities for team work arising from this situation might include:

  • Discussion in team meetings about the instructor’s findings. The team must decide if the identified student weakness is a problem for other groups of students in the course and if so, what should be done to address the issue for this cohort.
  • The concern regarding this student weakness should be referred to:
    • The team who will be teaching the cohort in the next term, to allow them to follow up to see if the weaknesses have been eliminated.
    • The committee responsible for reviewing the results of standardized examinations to determine if the identified weaknesses are still evident in the curriculum.
  • If this trend continues over time, the concern might be referred to the curriculum committee to determine if there needs to be changes to the curriculum as a whole.

These opportunities for team work and collaboration are examples; there are many other ways in which team work can integrate the results of analytics from educational products to improve the curriculum. In order for this teamwork to be effective, the faculty must be willing to:

  • breakdown the silos among various faculty groups, so that open communication and dialogue are the expected norm,
  • Avoid blaming others (student or faculty) for weaknesses identified. Recognize problems as opportunities for collaboration and growth,
  • become comfortable having their work evaluated by their peers,
  • Think beyond the specific courses for which an individual is responsible, recognizing that the strengths and weaknesses in a particularly course will have an impact on the total curriculum.

References:

Interprofessional Education Collaborative Expert Panel. (2011). Core competencies for interprofessional collaborative practice: Report of an expert panel. Washington, D.C.: Interprofessional Education Collaborative. http://www.aacn.nche.edu/education-resources/ipecreport.pdf Last accessed March, 2016

Quality Safety in Education in Nursing (QSEN) http://qsen.org/ Last accessed March, 2016.


For more tips and resources from Dr. Susan Sportsman, click here.