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Cross-Functional Teams and Critical analysis of Nursing Experience
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Cross-Functional Teams and Critical analysis of Nursing Experience
Cross-functional teams are necessary to achieve a common goal as team collaboration enables individuals to work effectively and productively. The cross-functional collaboration is a great team-building tool, and it also contributes to a healthy working environment (Tang, Mu, Thomas, 2015). There are some practical approaches that need to be adopted to derive maximum benefit out of the cross-functional teams.
Integrate the Right Team
A particular set of skills are required for a useful cross-functional team. In this regard, the overall work requires expertise from the team. Therefore, it is imperative that the individuals are equipped with various skills to accomplish the task. However, shared skill is an element which is often not considered while developing the team. A specific type of people is needed to work in these settings. These individuals are the self-starters who have decision-making authority. Also, they should be experienced to deal with different types of situations. The team members in the cross-functional team need to dynamic in a sense that they should be ready to take on task after task. Furthermore, the collaborative members should be able to work within less-defined space.
The concept of a Leader in Cross-Functional team
It is not essential for cross-functional teams to have one leader rather every individual in the team must take responsibility. According to the spirit of the cross-functional team, every member is aware of their role. However, the team members may find a leader who can hold the team accountable and develop self-leaders in every team members. Moreover, a team leader needs to educate, develop self-confidence in team members, give them autonomy, and keep a tack of their overall progress. In addition, a leader gets input from all the team members in the planning process because every single individual in the team is an integral part of the group. Whenever team members need any help, a leader should come forward to guide them. A team is also held accountable for the overall success of the project. Although having a team leader in cross-functional teams is not essential, its better to have someone who can guide the members and steady the ship.
Clearly Defined Objectives
Every individual of the cross-functional team should be aware of the team goals. In this respect, regular meetings should be held with all the team members so that they can align themselves with objectives (Strese et al., 2016).
All the members in cross-functional teams have different expertise and experiences, but they need to share their knowledge and get along with each other as its all about collaboration and teamwork. If a team manages to achieve its goal, it will be a success for everyone.
Good communication is one of the essentials of cross-functional teams. Also, all of the members should be adaptable to change. The group members need to discuss different aspects of all the project with each other so that there is no ambiguity left regarding any element of the project. Communication should take place among team members using all the modes such as Skype, email, and verbal interaction. Effective communication is the key to success for cross-functional teams.
The cross-functional teams are ideal when they constantly evaluate their performances according to the set standards. For this purpose, meetings must be conducted on a regular basis to discuss the overall progress of every individual in the team. In case, any member is not performing well then other team members should support them and investigate the problems so that everyone is on the same page as far as the accomplishment of the goal is concerned.
Ways to Support Cross-functional Team Collaboration
Communication is the main tool for success in cross-functional teams. Team members may be working at different locations to achieve the same goal. Often, a great deal of coordination is required to carry out a particular task. Therefore, teams should be using the right platform that could facilitate collaboration and communication among all the members of the team. Advanced and updated software must be installed at the locations where members are based. Every individual must be well informed with the overall progress of the project (Tang, Mu, Thomas, 2015). A real-time data can be obtained through Projectmanager.com. It also ensures that at every location, team members are receiving an accurate picture of the projects progress.
Analysis of Healthcare Team
I have been the part of a radiology team which comprised a number of interdisciplinary professionals with the likes of doctors, nurses, radiologists in the radiology department. Also, a few individuals were in the team whose duty was to interact within a complimentary department. For instance, a patient is referred to radiology department from gyne ward then those individuals would collect all the relevant information of the said patient, and will pass that on to concerned professionals. Therefore, in order to carry out the smooth operation, the interaction was a vital element for the whole team, the doctors, nurses, and radiologists shared all the necessary information with each other. The team was headed by the senior doctors, and it was the team of five members including the front desk officer whose responsibility was to gather all the relevant information from patients. Our team leader always conveyed the significance of effective communication in healthcare settings. The whole team believed in providing patients with quality of care, and for that, all agreed that every single element should be considered. The team conducted a meeting by the end of every week to discuss the overall progress of department during the week, and individual performances also came under discussion in the meetings. Our team leader always advised us that lack of communication in our profession would affect the quality of care, and eventually, the patient will suffer.
All the team members were trained, and they were following SOPs. However, one of my colleagues and I were the junior members of the team therefore, we needed a bit more training in order to become well versed in all the tasks that we were required to carry out. In this respect, we were placed in Collaboration for Professional Practice (CIPP) module, the primary purpose of the training was to attend a ward session with the doctor. Both of us knew the history of the patients in the ward and were instructed to listen to the conversation of the doctor with patient carefully as it would improve our overall learning and skills. There are a few patients in the ward, who were not very good at speaking English as it was not their first language, and to communicate with the doctor, they were relying on us. My colleague nurse had newly joined the hospital, so she was a bit hesitant in asking questions.
A doctor visited patient with my colleague and discussed with patients about his health condition. My colleague was having this experience for the first time, and she was also interpreting the patients words. The patient had suffered heart attacks, so, the doctor was discussing with him all the necessary details. Meanwhile, my colleague somehow skipped one question that the patient wanted to ask the doctor. As a result, the patients query remained unanswered. Once the session was over, I discussed with my colleague if she has communicated everything to the doctor on patients behalf, she replied I might have missed a couple of points, but overall I have interpreted all the things. Upon hearing this, I conveyed that the patient had a heart problem, so, it was important for you not to miss even a single point. She replied, maybe next time, I will come up with perfection. Later, we came to know that the patient was discharged from the hospital as he was feeling well.
Moreover, we got engaged in our daily tasks. After a couple of weeks, we got to know that the same patient got admitted into the hospital again as he started having heart problem again. The doctor who also was our team leader and visited the patient with my colleague went to examine the patient and asked him as to what caused the problem. The patient replied that he took all the medicines on time, and adopted other precautionary measures as well, so, he was unable to make out as to what caused the problem again. During the conversation (an interpreter was there as the patient was from the non-English background), the doctor asked him that what has been his diet since his discharge from the hospital, he replied that he ate white rice alongside other dishes as it was one of his favourite dishes. Having heard this, the doctor got surprised, and asked him do you know that white rice is harmful to your health as it increases the risk of heart attacks. He replied when you visited me last time when I was admitted to the hospital, I asked the nurse about this thing, but when I did not get any reply, I assumed it would be okay. This was the point when the doctor realised the primary cause of the problem, and it was lack of communication. Had our colleague heard patients conversation carefully and communicated that to the doctor, he would not have had the problem again.
Therefore, the doctor strictly advised the patient not to have white rice again as it is not suitable for the patients suffering from heart diseases. Subsequently, a meeting was called by the doctor which was attended by all the team members including my colleague who missed that crucial point about the diet, and that caused a problem. The agenda of the meeting was the patients issue that occurred due to the negligence of my colleague. During the meeting, she admitted her mistake by saying that she should have been more vigilant while translating patients concerns to the doctor. Once again in the meeting, emphasis was laid on effective communication. Our team leader communicated to the whole team that a little bit negligence and lack of communication caused a major issue for the patient.
Furthermore, it was stressed that all the team members should feel free to ask any questions in case they are feeling any problem about any single aspect because we are dealing with the health of patients. Thus, teamwork in healthcare profession is more significant than any other field. A couple of more sessions were held with my colleague who committed the act of negligence. In order to further train her, she was recommended for special training program. The training for the period of one month was provided to our colleague, and when she joined our team again, we all could see the change in herself, she seemed more confident. She resumed her services, and actively participated in meetings, and asked her concerns. She developed good interaction with patients to make them feel comfortable and obtain all the necessary information from them. She maintained positive and professional relationship with all the other team members. While taking details of patients, she double checked all the information, and she would ask patients the question in case of any ambiguity. She ensured that all the information is recorded correctly.
The communication is the fundamental part of teamwork and the healthcare profession. In hospitals, patients from different background come for treatment, which is why it is imperative for healthcare providers to fully understand their problem by listening to them (Souza et al., 2016) carefully so that each and every single aspect is analysed. Sometimes problems arise for nurses and doctors while dealing with non-English and older patients as many of them struggle to communicate their concerns. In order to address this issue, hospitals should provide nurses with special trainings, and the services of interpreter may be hired depending upon the geographical location of the hospital, and carefully analysing the demographics of the particular area. Also, interdepartmental interaction is very necessary in the teamwork. During my experience in healthcare settings, I learned that all the departments are related to one another in hospitals that is why professional nurses and doctors should share all the relevant and necessary information with the concerned department in a timely manner. In this way, all the staff members are a team, and they are working to provide patients with quality of care.
The overall actions of all the doctors and nurses should reflect a teamwork. To ensure smooth delivery of care, the teams can be future divided into sub-teams so that tasks can be performed in small segments, and all the team members are assigned tasks according to their own abilities and skills. Also, to discuss the overall progress of each member and the health conditions of patients, meetings should be conducted on a regular basis so that effective plans can be made to improve the services. Besides, the feedback from patients is also important because it gives a clear picture to doctors and nurses about the patients satisfaction.
Teamwork is a reflective process, and as a result of effective teamwork, individuals are able to recognise their strengths and weaknesses and identify the areas in which they need more training and learning. Self-awareness is crucial in nursing and in the overall teamwork. All the team members communicate with each other and learn from the experiences and knowledge of their colleague and seniors. Also, teamwork enables individuals to maintain positive and professional relationship with patients. The new team members should quickly integrate with team members, and they should not hesitate to share their concerns and ask any questions. In this context, the role of team leaders is of high significance as they guide all the team members, and take them along, make them feel comfortable, and lead them from the front. Also, the environment of the team should be friendly for the members to share their experiences with each other. The seniors of the team should encourage the interdepartmental collaboration so that effective care can be ensured.
The self-evaluation of all the healthcare providers whether senior or junior is also critical as it gives them opportunity to improve themselves and learn from their mistakes. The evaluation of strengths and weakness enables doctors and nurses to get better. The ultimate goal of a hospital or a healthcare centre is a patients care and satisfaction. All the teams and sub-teams need to work together to make sure they are on the right track in achieving their goals. From planning to execution, all the stakeholders should be involved. As a part of a team, I know the consequences of the lack of communication therefore, first element of a nurse training should be effective communication alongside development of other skills that are required for patients care.
Souza, G. C. D., Peduzzi, M., Silva, J. A. M. D., Carvalho, B. G. (2016). Teamwork in nursing restricted to nursing professionals or an interprofessional collaboration. Revista da Escola de Enfermagem da USP, 50(4), 642-649.
Strese, S., Meuer, M. W., Flatten, T. C., Brettel, M. (2016). Organizational antecedents of cross-functional coopetition The impact of leadership and organizational structure on cross-functional coopetition. Industrial Marketing Management, 53, 42-55.
Tang, F., Mu, J., Thomas, E. (2015). Who knows what in NPD teams Communication context, mode, and task contingencies. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 32(3), 404-423.
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