Monday, September 12, 2016

Which team would you choose?

by Paul Uhlig

Our Tidbit this evening continues to explore team-level learning.

For tonight's Tidbit, imagine you or someone you love needs the care of a Code team. Three teams come running. You get to choose which team you will invite into the room.

All three teams have similarly capable individual members.

The first team is made up of people who don't work together on a regular basis. They are assigned to respond to codes based on their professional roles. When a code call comes in, a pharmacist responds, a critical care nurse arrives, and a doctor, a chaplain, a respiratory therapist, and so forth. Each person is very well trained individually. If you invite them in, they will do their very best.

The second team is also made up of good people. However, the members of the second team have been assigned to work together for an entire month at a time. When a code is called during the assigned month, this team always responds together. As the month has progressed, the members of the second team have become increasingly comfortable and better working together. It is now three weeks into their month.

The third team is also made up of good people who have also been assigned to work together for a month at a time, just like the second team. However, the third team begins every day by meeting to discuss and practice how they will respond when the next code call comes in. And, each time they do care for a patient, they sit down together afterward and reflect about the care they provided. They also ask the patients and families about their experiences. They reflect as a team about what they do, visualizing, exploring, and testing how they could do an even better job next time, as a normal part of their work.

Which team would you choose to care for you or someone you love?

This is an easy question, of course. Most people definitely choose the third team. Why? Because it seems pretty obvious that the third team will do a better job.

The third team has acquired additional abilities beyond their individual skills. Structures and routines are present that allow this team to develop and grow through team-level learning - in ways the first team can't, and much faster than the second team.

The point of the Tidbit is this question: Is your care environment organized to support the first team, the second team, or the third team?

It is startling how many care environments are organized in ways that produce care likeTeam One, and how few are organized to create care like Team Three. The potential is there, just waiting.

We can see that it would be better to have a Team Three, but, for many reasons, the changes that would bring Team Three to life are not yet common.

Is it hard to restructure a care environment so that it supports team-level learning? Well, sort of...but it can certainly be done. Is it worth it? Yes, definitely!

What can you do to set the stage for team-level learning in your own care environment?

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