Promoting high-functioning care teams requires best practices like clear communication, conflict management (see our blog post “Communication In Teams—What Research Says About Improving It” for more on these) and a commitment on the part of institutions to support those practices with policy. There are also specific values the individuals who make up the teams should cultivate in their own minds, hearts and actions.
In a paper for the National Academy of Sciences titled “Core Principles & Values of Effective Team-Based Health Care,”1 Pamela Mitchell and her colleagues single out five critical values:
Honesty: It’s crucial for members of a care team to “put a high value on effective communication within the team, including transparency about aims, decisions, uncertainty, and mistakes.” Honesty promotes mutual trust and is equally important for fostering continual improvement in care.
Discipline: Even in situations where it is inconvenient or uncomfortable, care team members should maintain discipline—in carrying out their responsibilities, but also in “seeking out and sharing new information to improve individual and team functioning.” Discipline “allows teams to develop and stick to their standards and protocols even as they seek ways to improve.”
Creativity: Team members should have a desire to be enthusiastic about tackling new problems as they come up, and “see even errors and unanticipated bad outcomes as potential opportunities to learn and improve.”
Humility: Teams are composed of people with different forms of training, and no team member should believe the training he or she has received (MD, nursing or medical specialty, for example) is “uniformly superior to the training of others.” And while a hierarchical structure is characteristic of care teams, “a key value of working in a team is that fellow team members can rely on each other to help recognize and avert failures, regardless of where they are in the hierarchy.” Underlying the value of humility is recognizing every member is human and will
Curiosity: “Team members are dedicated to reflecting upon the lessons learned in the course of their daily activities and using those insights for continuous improvement of their own work and the functioning of the team.”
As Michelle O’Daniel and Alan H. Rosenstein, MD write in connection with communication within care teams, “effective clinical practice must not focus only on technological system issues, but also on the human factor.”2
And the human factor centers on positive values driving positive behavior, both clinical and interpersonal.
For more on fostering high-functioning care teams, see our article “How to Cultivate Healthy Care Teams and Eliminate Risk”.
Contact us for additional information about solutions like Physician Peer Coaching and well being resources to support your physicians and clinical teams—as well as your organization. You may also contact us by phone at 877.731.3949 to speak with an experienced representative about your organization’s unique needs.
Five Personal Values for Fostering Effective Care Teams
Sarah Prom, MA, LPC, ODCP
Sarah leads the Service Delivery Team for VITAL WorkLife and serves as a Senior Consultant and Practice Lead for our organizational clients. She has more than 15 years of counseling, coaching and mediation experience. Sarah has trained nationally and internationally and has expertise in the areas of team development and facilitation, workplace stress and conflict management, relational issues and emotional intelligence. Sarah received her Master of Arts in Counseling from the University of North Dakota, is a licensed Professional Counselor, a Certified Transformative Mediator, an Organization Development Certified Professional (ODCP) and serves on the leadership team at VITAL WorkLife.