1. Schmutz, Kelly BSN, RNC-NIC

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Dear Ms Witt,


I applaud Ms Charney on providing information regarding the Team Strategies and Tools to Enhance Performance and Patient Safety (TeamSTEPPS) program in her article titled "Making a Team of Experts Into an Expert Team" (October 2011).1 Breakdowns in communication can compromise teamwork and increase errors in patient care.2 Providing education to staff regarding tools that can be used to enhance teamwork is essential to providing the best care for the neonatal patient.


As a TeamSTEPPS master trainer, I would like to provide suggestions to readers regarding launching this program within their institutions.3 First, there should be support from hospital administration to provide the necessary funding for instructor and staff training. By supporting this program, hospital administration will receive a significant return on its investment through improved patient safety due to improved teamwork and communication. Second, a diversified team should be enrolled in training classes to become the future experts on the TeamSTEPPS program. When the medical director of the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) or another respected neonatologist assists with TeamSTEPPS training, the credibility and importance of the teamwork training are more effective. Lastly, teamwork principles will need to be reinforced to sustain the positive transformation of teamwork that will be seen in NICU. More information about training to become a TeamSTEPPS master trainer can be found at


Kelly Schmutz, BSN, RNC-NIC


Woman's Hospital of Texas


Houston, Texas




1. Charney C. Making a team of experts into an expert team. Adv Neonatal Care. 2011;11(5):334-339. doi:10.1097/ANC.0b013e318229b4e8 [Context Link]


2. Samra HA, McGrath JM, Rollins W. Patient safety in the NICU: a comprehensive review. J Perinat Neonatal Nurs. 2011;25(2):123-132. doi:10.1097/JPN.0b013e31821693b2 [Context Link]


3. TeamSTEPPS: National implementation. Accessed November 28, 2011. [Context Link]