Teamwork and Interprofessional Collaboration

The Importance of Interprofessional Education and Collaboration

The development, implementation, and collaboration of interprofessional education and collaboration in the nursing industry has become a significant endeavour. This is because the overall purpose of the project is to give nurses and health system consumers with higher-quality health outcomes. Rose (2011) defines interprofessional cooperation as the process by which nurses create and sustain effective working relationships both within themselves and with other professionals in the healthcare sector.

The Healthcare Industry and Collaborative Teams

The healthcare industry includes a variety of professionals such as nurses, doctors, specialists, patients/clients, and the community being served (Bender Connelly & Brown, 2013). It is in turn an essential undertaking for the collaboration between the different people/professionals be at its best for optimal health outcomes. Element of an effective interprofessional collaboration includes; shared decision making, partnership, trust and respect among others.

Characteristics of Successful Interprofessional Teams

Patient care and safety remains some of the primary focus for every successful healthcare system. Successful interprofessional teams possess different characteristics with reference to patient care and safety. One major characteristic is that, the team members are focused on providing care for a common group of patients. Members of a team also guided by the development of common goals for patients, hence working towards the goals. The team is also characterized by appropriate roles and functions, assigning among the members.

Benefits and Limitations of Interprofessional Collaboration

Interprofessional teams possess both benefits and limitations to the health care organizations as well as members of the team. In terms of benefits to the organization and health care system, the teams improve the organizations potentiality for efficient care delivery. It also helps in maximizing facilities and resources as well as minimizing expenses. Finally, it helps in decreasing the burden on acute care facilities (Tschannen & Kalisch, 2009). This is as a result of increased prevention as well as patient education. On the other hand, to the team members, it allows members to focus on their areas of expertise as well as providing an effective area for innovation. Allows members to learn new skills and approaches to the care (Bender et al, 2013). Finally, the interprofessional collaboration teams provide members with motivation in their work due to increased professional as well as clearer and consistent care goals. In the case of patients, interprofessional teams improve care to the patients due to an increase in coordination among the caregivers. It empowers patients as active players in the care process as well as being an efficient approach in terms of time management.

Limitations of Interprofessional Collaboration

Nevertheless, the interprofessional teams have limitations that affect the facility, members and the patient. To the members, the process is team formation is time consuming as it requires detailed organization for effective benefits achievement. In terms of the patients, the interprofessional teams it demands timely and effective communication channels to the patients, failure to which the teams may be ineffective (Miers & Pollard, 2009). Finally, for the organization, the establishment of the team requires investment in terms of human resource, facility resources and time. Any shortage in any of the mentioned factors, may lead to ineffective performance of the health care facility.

Challenges in Working in an Interprofessional Team

Working in an interprofessional team poses varying challenges for nurses in a healthcare setting. One major challenge is the aspect of split loyalties between one team and own discipline (Miers & Pollard, 2009). One may be torn between serving through team responsibilities and focusing on developing once career by achieving individual goals as a nurse. Class-based prejudice or even gender, race discrimination. If there exists favoritism in terms of establishing the team, it may be in turn be a barrier for effective performance within an interprofessional team. According to McDonald & McCallin (2010), other challenges include: reluctance to take suggestions from other members who belong to other professions, lack of trust among the members as well as presence of competition for superiority and persistent defensive attitude.

Strategies for Effective Interprofessional Collaboration

Different strategies can be deployed to bring people together with an intention of functioning collaboratively together as a team. One major strategy is through need to find a solution to a complex problem that requires more than one knowledge or skill. On the other hand, communication is a formation platform for collaborative teams (Doherty & Crowley, 2013). When team members can communicate on same or equal basis, and have a common agenda, then a collaborative can be established. Finally, objective driven strategy is whereby members come together, sacrifice their professional autonomy for a common goal, hence working together as a collaborative team.

Defining Success in Interprofessional Teams

Success in interprofessional teams is defined as the achievement of the common embellishment goal. Success is also regarded as when the member energies, skills, knowledge and abilities are harnessed for the overall good and excellence of the organization. On the other hand, a team’s success is not measured on an individual goal, but rather the realization of a common goal established during team formation (Petri, 2010). Nevertheless, the success definition can shift/change with change depending on the basis in which the team was formed. For example, if a collaborative team was established to alleviate congestion in the healthcare facility, their success will be evaluated on the ability to solve the patient congestion on the facility. However, if the team establishment manages to identify the cause of the problem, the success changes to identification of the barrier behind congestion problem.


In conclusion, interprofessional collaboration is when health care professionals from different professions work in unison to offer the best patient-centered care. Different factors have been associated with errors in healthcare systems. For the interprofessional collaborations among the professions to be successful, professionals ought to be aware of the contributions of each of the professionals in the field of healthcare. There also needs to be mutual respect among the professionals, and also focus on effective communications. Finally, nurses are important people when it comes to the success of any healthcare system, hence they should be at the frontline in adopting the effective interprofessional collaborative teams, learning and practice.


Bender, M., Connelly, C. D., & Brown, C. (2013). Interdisciplinary collaboration: The role of the clinical nurse leader. Journal of Nursing Management, 21(1), 165–174.

Miers, M., & Pollard, K. (2009). The role of nurses in interprofessional health and social care teams. Nursing Management, 15(9), 30–35.

Rose, L. (2011). Interprofessional collaboration in the ICU: How to define? Nursing in Critical Care, 16(1), 5–10.

Tschannen, D., & Kalisch, B. J. (2009). The impact of nurse/physician collaboration on patient length of stay. Journal of Nursing Management, 17(7), 796–803.

Petri, L. (2010). Concept analysis of interdisciplinary collaboration. Nursing Forum, 45(2), 73–82.

McDonald, C., & McCallin, A. (2010). Interprofessional collaboration in palliative nursing: What is the patient-family role? International Journal of Palliative Nursing, 16(6), 285–288.

Doherty, R. B., & Crowley, R. A. (2013). Principles supporting dynamic clinical care teams: An American College of Physicians position paper. Annals of Internal Medicine, 159(9), 620–627.

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