1. Section Editor(s): Davis, Charlotte BSN, RN, CCRN

Article Content

Today's healthcare organizations are filled with skilled, multigenerational, and culturally diverse interdisciplinary team members. Although each specialty has a specific focus, we all share a unified goal: We want both the patient care experience and our work environment to be positive. To ensure that patients are satisfied during their healthcare encounter, we must embrace a teamwork approach to care delivery.

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Teamwork requires effective communication skills and collaborative care coordination. Team members should be encouraged to ask questions, share ideas or concerns, and discuss potential solutions. Each team member's strengths and skills must be utilized to achieve an optimal patient care experience and workplace satisfaction.


It's essential that all interdisciplinary team members are knowledgeable about each other's job role, responsibilities, and level of accountability at the unit and organizational level. This knowledge provides the essential framework needed to take advantage of each team member's clinical skills and promote a cohesive teamwork approach to care.


When we routinely collaborate, the clinical climate within our work environment rises, workplace satisfaction improves, and staffing retention soars. All team members want to feel that their ideas and skills are valued. And increasing nursing workplace satisfaction is linked to positive patient care experiences.


When patients are surveyed postdischarge, the department most often referenced for satisfying encounters is nursing. However, all interdisciplinary team members play a vital role in every patient care experience; for example, the social worker who helps arrange rehabilitation services, the physician who orders the curative treatment, the pharmacist who ensures that there are no drug interactions, and the dietitian who orders palatable food choices. Some of the skills we bring to the interdisciplinary team are professional duties, but, more often than not, each specialty provides a unique personal touch during the patient encounter.


Communicating the patient's current clinical condition, care needs, and progress during frequent interdisciplinary meetings allows all team members to identify the areas of care they can impact. Coordinating interdisciplinary care for patients in today's work environment can be challenging-this is where situational awareness comes in.


Situational awareness is defined as a comprehensive, accurate understanding of the clinical situation; planned interventions; and the roles, abilities, and limitations of participants. During challenging situations, nurses should take a leadership role in offering assistance to other team members.


As nursing continues to experience growth as a proactive profession, we must continue to foster patient-centered, interdisciplinary care. Go team!