1. Bailey, Amanda MSN, ACNP-BC, CWS, CPSN, ISPAN-F
  2. President, ISPAN

Article Content

Collaboration is the act of at least a couple of people working toward a common goal. The roles of the people involved may vary, and the individuals involved may come and go during the process to achieve success. Unfortunately, collaboration can be seen as a dirty word that is overused and hyped up as the only way to get the team to the finish line. To keep the collaborative process clean and efficient, you need a well-defined goal, a timeline, and a director to guide each team player.

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For effective collaboration to occur, each participant's role will need to be established and his or her "jobs" well delineated within the group. Clear definitions can help keep team members on task and will also help other team members to be clear about each member's role. The director can continue to define the roles more clearly as the collaboration process proceeds. Inherent in the director's leadership responsibility is the ability to identify when team members may need to change assignments based on experience, ability, and time management or when an assignment should be divided among several group members. Collaboration is generally thought to be 100% group work, but respecting individual efforts is crucial to accomplishing the group mission.


When the timeline is established to accomplish the goal of the project, the director should establish how frequently the team needs to meet as a group. Collaborative energies can be exhausted when the group is expected to meet too frequently. On the contrary, failure to bring the group together on a regular basis may lead to dwindling excitement surrounding the project. Also, the meeting schedule for each project or piece of a project may need to be adjusted to allow for creative efforts to occur behind the scenes prior to group discussions.


Once the group is assembled, the director should lead the participants to relay their individual findings or present their "homework." The collaboration and interplay should begin as ideas are shared. The "think tank" can flourish as ideas are bounced between participants, and those ideas, solutions, resolutions, developments, and even difficulties are triaged among the group. Each person can either echo the sentiments discussed to bolster confidence in a concept, build on the concept presented, or dispute a concept to foster alternative solutions.


Collaboration in a manner promoting not only individual ideas but also group discussions can lead to more efficient and multifaceted solutions. The success of the collaboration is not only based on the team members' capability, knowledge, and experience but also on the director's ability to guide the group to the most choreographed result in a timely manner.


One of the best areas for collaborative effort is within an organization such as ISPAN. Our organization is full of talented members who may be seeking direction and interaction. I encourage each of our members to join a committee to experience true collaboration for a meaningful purpose.




President, ISPAN