In every hospital in the US, patient care is overseen by a team of people rather than one single medical professional. Interprofessional working practices in healthcare have always been present to a certain extent, but now the idea of medical providers collaborating to improve the outcomes for patients is considered the norm.
What does interprofessional working entail?
There are many reasons why collaboration creates excellent healthcare experiences. However, it all starts with a team of two or more practitioners who join forces to reach a shared goal. For instance, if a person checks into an emergency room and complains of being short of breath, they will initially be checked over by a triage nurse. In the following days, they are also likely to visit a pulmonologist and a respiratory therapist. Next, working as a team, the doctors would collaborate to deliver an accurate diagnosis and establish a treatment plan.
In more complex cases, there are likely to be more professionals involved. Either way, each individual will work in their capacity and share their knowledge to ensure a patient recovers swiftly and can go back to leading a normal life. This pooling of knowledge has led to improvements across the board, in terms of both patient support and employee satisfaction.
Patient care excels
Working as a group with different perspectives, professionals can find more effective ways of treating people in their care. When a nurse is responsible for a patient who is showing signs of a condition they have specialized in, they can contact other healthcare providers if they feel the treatment plan is not right. Similarly, when they are diagnosing a patient as part of a team, different specialists may have alternative ideas or more innovative ways of tackling the same issue. This means that rather than following the generic path, a new and better procedure is developed.
By combining their experience, their medical knowledge, and what they have learned from spending time with the patient, a group of professionals working together can establish a better course of care. Nurses play a vital role in patient care, working in an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect with physicians. People who feel they could excel in this role can take an accelerated BSN from Baylor University and graduate within the year. The course is designed for people with a bachelor’s degree in a non-medical field, so students take part in clinical placements to prepare them for working in a healthcare environment.
Workers experience increased job satisfaction
Healthcare roles are rewarding, but the day-to-day experience can be tough and relentless. Although caring for patients and watching them improve is a key factor in job satisfaction for medical teams, interprofessional collaboration can also play a role. Employees who feel their voice is heard and their contribution is valued are more likely to be happy in their work. As a result, they are more inclined to stay put, rather than look for a better job elsewhere.
This is good news for employees, but also for clinics and hospitals which have a low staff turnover and need to reduce investment in recruitment. In every discipline, people like to see how their contribution at work fits into the bigger picture. Professionals from a range of specialisms who collaborate and communicate knowledge do just that. This ensures they feel more engaged with their role and encourages them to stay loyal to the organization.
Patient readmission rates are lowered
Patients who do not receive the right care the first time around are likely to return to the same clinic or hospital very soon. This leads to backlogs, higher rates of infection and increased costs for the facility, but it is also distressing for the patient involved. Interprofessional collaboration can prevent readmissions by ensuring the focus remains on providing an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment for all. This is possible because every team member can offer unique insights and personal perspectives on the patient’s care. One person might have previous experience that enables them to spot unusual symptoms or suggest an alternative approach. As a group, they can produce a comprehensive interpretation of the problem and a more holistic attitude toward the patient.
People who are treated well and fully are only discharged from hospital care when all of their problems have been addressed. They will have medications, if necessary, and a list of follow-up appointments scheduled for the coming months. This level of organization is beneficial for the patient, but also the hospital’s reputation and budget.
Fewer errors are made in patient care
All healthcare professionals work hard to provide the right care and avoid errors in their treatment of patients. Although problems still linger, research has shown that collaboration amongst interprofessional teams can: ”mitigate preventable errors and improve outcomes for all patients.”
With the assistance of nurses, physicians can spot a problem before it escalates, even when the ward is busy. Furthermore, by nurturing a culture of communication within a team, facilities are likely to offer better and more efficient care, as years of expertise are condensed into one treatment plan. Having all the required information ensures that care is delivered appropriately, there are fewer unnecessary tests, hospital costs are lower, and patients recover faster.
Teamwork boosts communication
To collaborate effectively, a team must know how to communicate well with one another. They should feel confident when offering suggestions and ideas, regardless of their rank, to other professionals. People who can communicate well establish a rapport with each other. This promotes continuity of care for the patient, better collaborative work overall, and a culture of responsibility.
Interprofessional collaboration can drive progress
All health professionals strive to deliver the best possible service to their patients, but as individuals in a particular specialty, they might miss crucial clues that other practitioners would pick up. By working together as members of a team, healthcare providers can formulate a coordinated, informed and dynamic response to even the most challenging of cases.