What do doctors mean when they talk about teamwork? Possible implications for interprofessional care

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The concept of teamwork has been associated with improved patient safety, more effective care and a better work environment. However, the academic literature on teamwork is pluralistic, and there are reports on discrepancies between theory and practice. Furthermore, healthcare professionals’ direct conceptualizations of teamwork are sometimes missing in the research.

In this study, we examine doctors’ conceptualizations of teamwork. We also investigate what doctors think is important in order to achieve good teamwork, and how the empirical findings relate to theory. Finally, we discuss the methodological implications for future studies.

The research design was explorative. The main data consisted of semi-structured interviews with twenty clinically active doctors, analyzed with conventional content analysis. Additional data sources included field observations and interviews with management staff.

There was large variation in the doctors’ conceptualizations of teamwork. The only characteristic they shared in common was that team members should have specific roles. This could have consequences for practice, because the rationale behind different behaviors depends on how teamwork is conceptualized. Several of the teamwork-enabling factors identified concerned non-technical skills.

Future studies should put more emphasis on the practitioners’ perspective in the research design, to create a more grounded foundation for both research and practice.
Sidor (från-till)714-723
Antal sidor10
TidskriftJournal of Interprofessional Care
Tidigt onlinedatum2018 okt 26
StatusPublished - 2019

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ)

  • Annan teknik


  • Teamwork
  • Interprofessional care
  • doctors
  • conceptualization of teamwork
  • non-technical skills


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