Teamwork Role in Patient Safety Promotion Free Essay


Available literature demonstrates that patient safety is a global problem that requires knowledge, skills, and competencies in manifold domains, hence the need to assume a systems engineering approach in dealing with the many diverse perspectives that collaboratively prevent and mitigate factors that compromise patient safety (Carayon & Wood, 2010). Although patient safety is compromised by human and nonhuman factors, it is clear that human factors that affect individual and team performance often lead to devastating consequences on patient safety and the capacity of organizations to provide quality care (Reid & Bromiley, 2012). Indeed, research is consistent that 70% to 80% of medical errors occurring in health care contexts are directly related to interpersonal interaction issues (Kaissi, Johnson, & Kirschbaum, 2003), that teamwork and communication challenges are the strongest predictors of surgical errors (Manser, 2009), and that one in every 300 patients experiences harm while getting health care due to factors related to medical errors or adverse events (Ammouri, Tailakh, Muliira, Geethakrishnan, & Al Kindi, 2015). Teamwork has been proposed as one of the main system-based interventions that can address or hinder patient safety, in large part because the provision of healthcare is intrinsically interdisciplinary in terms of obliging physicians, nursing professionals, and allied health personnel from diverse specialties, units and departments to work in clearly defined teams (Manser, 2009). In light of these observations, the present paper investigates the role of teamwork in promoting patient safety.

How Teamwork Promotes Patient Safety

Teamwork, which is defined in the literature as the level to which a health care entity underlines cohesion and morale among its employees, has the ability to promote or hinder patient safety due to its immense importance in enhancing collaboration, communication, and commitment across the care continuum (Jones & Jones, 2011). It can be argued that teamwork promotes patient safety not only by ensuring that each member knows and understands his or her responsibilities as well as those of other teammates but also through thorough planning and standardizing processes to reduce medical errors. Additionally, teamwork increases patient safety by allowing for proper integration and execution of clinical activities, giving nurses increased control over their work environment, and ensuring good coordination among care providers at various levels of the organization (Carayon & Wood, 2010; Jones & Jones, 2011).

According to Manser (2009), some of the most important considerations that either promote or hinder patient safety include the perceived quality of teamwork between professional groups, the quality of relational coordination and communication between team members, as well as the quality of cohesiveness and shared understanding of the team structure. Overall, teamwork has the capacity to promote patient safety due to benefits such as “enhanced effectiveness, fewer and shorter delays, improved morale and job satisfaction, increased efficiency, lower stress, and improved patient satisfaction” (Kaissi et al., 2003, p. 211). In many healthcare contexts, teamwork is improved by factors such as reinforcement of collegial trust within the team, predisposition to arrange for team meetings that act to bond members together, utilization of shared objectives in conflict management, and enhancement of autonomy or independence within the team (Jones & Jones, 2011).

Areas with Potential for Improvement

Healthcare organizations need to address the existing confusion around team leadership roles and place more emphasis on teamwork to deal with breakdowns in teamwork and communication, which in turn, hinder or compromise patient safety. Since lack of effective teamwork skills is directly associated with reduced patient safety, it is incumbent upon healthcare organizations to provide training and education programs on teamwork skills, team concepts, and good communication skills to ensure that healthcare professionals are able to perform as a team in care contexts. Additionally, it is important for healthcare organizations to deal with unnecessary administrative or reporting hierarchies that are known to dampen the team spirit and reinforce other communication barriers, resulting in poor patient safety outcomes.

Available literature demonstrates that “reducing the potential negative effect of hierarchies by improving communication and positive team behaviors is a key goal of the Five Steps to Safer Surgery integrating the WHO Surgical Safety Checklist” (Reid & Bromiley, 2012, p. 38). Rather than relying on administrative and reporting hierarchies to ensure service delivery, the WHO safety initiative underscores the need for healthcare professionals to support one another in terms of work and ensure that they treat each other with respect. Healthcare organizations also need to ensure that they adopt accommodative and transformative leadership styles that nurture and reinforce teamwork. Available literature demonstrates that “effective leadership in the hospital setting can easily nurture critical aspects of patient safety culture such as teamwork, organizational learning, and continuous improvement and communication” (Ammouri et al., 2015, p. 107). Overall, since lack of teamwork is directly related to the causation of adverse events in dynamic components of healthcare, it is important for healthcare organizations to look into these areas with the view to enhancing patient safety.


This paper has provided important information on the role of teamwork in promoting or hindering patient safety. Drawing from the investigation, it can be concluded that collaboration, shared mental models, coordination, communication, and leadership are important aspects of teamwork that promote or hinder patient safety. The areas that have been targeted for potential improvement relate around these aspects of teamwork, hence the need for healthcare organizations to put in place mechanisms and strategies that will increase collaboration and coordination between members, reinforce shared beliefs and objectives, ensure effective communication channels, and employ leadership styles and approaches that encourage teamwork and collaboration in care delivery. This way, healthcare organizations will develop the capacity to promote patient safety and significantly reduce adverse medical events that characterize care delivery.


Ammouri, A.A., Tailakh, A.K., Muliira, J.K., Geethakrishnan, R., & Al Kindi, S.N. (2015). Patient safety culture among nursesInternational Nursing Review, 62(1), 102-110.

Carayon, P., & Wood, K.E. (2010). Patient safety: The role of human factors and systems engineering. Studies in Health Technology and Informatics, 153, 23-46. Web.

Jones, A., & Jones, D. (2011). Improving teamwork, trust, and safety: An ethnographic study of an interprofessional initiative. Journal of Interprofessional Care, 25, 175-181. Web.

Kaissi, A., Johnson, T., & Kirschbaum, M.S. (2003). Measuring teamwork and patient safety attitudes of high-risk areas. Nursing Economic$, 21, 211-218. Web.

Manser, T. (2009). Teamwork and patient safety in dynamic domains of healthcare: A review of the literature. Acta Anaesthesiologica Scandinavica, 53, 143-151. Web.

Reid, J., & Bromiley, M. (2012). Clinical human factors: The need to speak up to improve patient safety. Nursing Standard, 26, 35-40. Web.This essay on Teamwork Role in Patient Safety Promotion was written and submitted by your fellow student. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly.

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