According to the World Health Organization, learning about inter-professional collaboration (IPC) is essential for health care students to work more effectively as a team and positively influence patient outcome. Patients needs comprise both physical and psychosocial needs and staffs multiple discipline works to address patient needs. IPC has been found to influence patient outcome, improve the quality of care and reduce health care cost. Health care makers recognize inter-professional collaboration as an essential step to prevent patient safety issues and efficiently manage health care resource (Reeves et al. 2017). For a health care staff to work as an inter-professional team, it is necessary that they possess a number of desirable attributes like trust and mutual respect. Authentic leaders can play a role in developing positive perceptions related to IPC among nurse practitioners or other staffs (Regan, Laschinger and Wong, 2016). The goal of IPC is realized by working as a time and applying underlying principles and core values related to team work in health care practice. Shared goals, clear roles, effective communication style, constructive feedback and leadership are important components of a team work in contemporary health services. Experience related to working in a team-based task also helps in professional learning (Babiker et al. 2014).
The main purpose of this essay is to provide a reflective account of the experience of working in an inter-professional learning set and use the Gibb’s model of reflection as a tool to evaluate the experience and identify important learning from the activity. In line with the Gibb’s reflective model, I will use the steps of description, feelings, evaluation, analysis, conclusion and action plan to define the experience of working as a team. The reflection gives idea regarding strength and weakness of approach taken to engage in inter-professional task and future action plan to develop team work skills.
I am going to reflect on my experience of working in an inter-professional learning set, where we were given the work to develop a presentation that gives information related to service user perspectives and the role of health and social care professionals. We were a total of six members and out team leader assembled us together to explain the main purpose of inter-professional collaboration. Each of us were given a scenario and asked to reflects on the event and suggest possible actions taken in similar situations in the wider context of health and social care in the UK. Each members had to provide their part of the presentation within 5 days and we were also asked to report on the progress of the task each day. Our team leader has instructed us that the presentation should focus on patient centred care and evaluating the case study from service user perspective. As this required assessment from different angles, multidisciplinary collaboration was essential to complete the task in effective manner. The six members included in our team were from different specialities and the leader expected to utilize the skill set and knowledge of each member to develop an informative and innovative presentation. Green and Johnson (2015) explain that collaboration works best when member with diverse speciality are present and when creativity and innovation is desired as the final outcome.
Our leader was very enthusiastic about the project and he utilized the Tuckman’s theory of team development as a framework to slowly build the team and prepare them to deliver a professional and unique work. While building a team for inter-professional practice, leadership style and nature of leadership has significant impact on the followers. In case of authentic leadership, the leader assumes all responsibility and they just impose their decisions to the subordinate (Lussier and Achua, 2015). In contrast, authentic leadership is a genuine and ethical form of leadership and it is characterized by self-awareness, openness and clarity behaviours. Authentic leaders disclose the personal values and expectation to the follower and they are open to take input from others (Wang et al. 2014). There are also examples of transformative leaders who play a role in motivating team members and initiating change in organization or a group (Jones and Phillips 2016). The action, personal values and attributes of our team leader matches with that of authentic leadership style. He worked to maintain positive psychological state, which are conducive to their performance and took team member’s input to complete the inter-professional learning set.
Authentic leaders are one who are known for their openness and they are very focused on the results. They have clear mission and they work accordingly to influence team members. In line with these attributes, our leader defined goals and expectations to the team member during at the first meeting. This meeting can be regarded as the forming stage of team development according to the Tuckman’s theory. Tuckman’s theory provides a foundation for effective team work and it is based on the assumption that a team do not starts functioning effectively from the start. In addition, it develops as a team after adapting strategies to brain storm and adopt best practice related to an activity (Natvig and Stark, 2016). During the forming stage, each member was given different scenarios to work on. The first meeting was a relaxed session as the leader aimed to openly express his views and ideas about the presentation to us. He suggested us resource that we can use to determine the needs of services users based on individual scenario. I refrained to ask any question at this time as I first wanted to study the scenario and research myself and then inquire about any issue. Other members were also a bit confused at this stage and only one or two members asked question related to the task. Hence, communication at this stage took place in a very superficial manner.
The next stage of team development is storming stage where conflicts is most likely to occur. This occurred during our inter-professional work too as we had members from different speciality. Two members were nursing students, two were from business and management field and other two were from social care. The knowledge and ideas of each members differed as per their speciality. We selected the scenario and each members has to discuss their work so that overall the presentation seemed connected and not out of context based on individual task. During this discussion, our leader had to deal with many arguments and disagreements. For example, some was favouring physical well-being needs as a necessity for client, whereas others were preparing the presentation from by focussing on social and financial needs. Our leader intervened at this stage to state that as the main goal is to achieve patient-centred outcome, identifying holistic needs is important. This was difficult for the team members as each member has to pay extra effort to identify holistic care needs and services based on scenario. Few members were irritated and wanted to leave the work in between. However, the leader personally went to each members to give them valuable advice and ways to manage anxiety.
We moved to the norming stage when each member took personal responsibility to provide an innovative and creative presentation. With the motivation and constructive feedback of the team leader, our team members were much confident now. No one hesitated to ask question and clear communication took place. This helped to achieve stability in inter-professional work and individual skills set and experience of others was utilized in the best possible manner. Our team possessed good personal value of honesty, creativity, curiosity and respect (Valentine, Nembhard and Edmondson, 2015). By the time we reached performing stage, all our resource and knowledge were utilized in the perfect manner to develop an innovative presentation.
Although we were successful in developing and completing an interprofessional learning set, the preparation towards the collaboration was a chaotic and hectic experience. I was very relaxed initially as I thought that my professional knowledge would be enough to complete the work. However, one I received the feedback from the leader that instead of a single area focus, we need to identify holistic needs, I began to panic. I was also disappointed because the leader asked me to redo the few slides that I had prepared. However, this form of rejection did not created a divide between me and leader. I would give credit for this to the authentic leadership style of my team leader. Open communication with individual member and the team reduces all forms of conflict. This helped to overcome team disagreement and conflict too (Chun and Choi 2014). His activities were in line with Belbin’s team role theory. The Belbin theory defines team role as a tendency to interrelate with each others in a particular way to achieve team success (Meslec and Cur?eu 2015). My leader used this approach effectively to ensure that each member’s work were interconnected to each other. We as a team also faced challenges because there were some members who were not fully committed to deliver an excellent presentation. However, as the leader had result oriented focus and he had good negotiating skills, this problem was solved but after much time.
After recollecting the whole experience of inter-professional work to develop a presentation, I would say that our team had some strength as well as some strength. I would like to discuss about positive aspects first. Firstly, the authentic leadership style was the strength of our team work as authentic leadership played a role in clarifying roles, motivating team members and maintaining conformity in the team. Authentic leadership style played a role in transforming professional skills and values of each members and developing an effective team. As a team is main organizational building block that tackles complex and new challenges, having an effective and productive team is important. Authentic leadership shows promise in achieving follower commitment and eliminating team failure. They are self-aware, have moral perspective and balance processing of information to promote relational transparency. Similar to these attributes, my leader’s action of motivating team member’s and increasing their commitment helped to achieve positive outcomes. Relational transparency also played a role in instilling positive team based values in all members (Renlund, 2017). The leader utilized the principles of team based health care and values to achieve the expected results.
Open communication process and constructive feedback played a role in improving performance and managing conflicts. This impact of leader’s position and his communication and interpersonal skill was significant. The stage of confusion and chaos was resolved by means of open communication styles (Sexton and Orchard, 2016). For example, when the leader refused mine and many other member’s idea as they were not fulfilling the requirements of patient-centred conflict, some members developed resentment. However, acknowledge of the difficult situation and the need for change pacified me and many other members. The leader’s approach of coming to each of us helped us to get rid of disappointment and work again with new motivaton. Expression of feeling and other challenges eventually helped to develop a confident and highly engaged team. Furthermore, involvement of member from different field worked to our advantage as this gave me the opportunity to learn new things related to management process in social care and financial aspects of care giving. Effective conflict resolution enhance team performance and this supported me to professional develop in practice (Vandergoot et al. 2018). The negative point was poor commitment and motivation of some staff members. Although this was resolved, however delay in receiving prompt response from all made the inter-professional work very hectic at the last stage.
An analysis of the working experience suggests that all members of the team were able to successfully recognise their roles and responsibilities in relation to effective collaboration, with the aim of delivering patient-centred care. The teamwork experience was successful owing to the fact that it was based in one of the most influential theories postulated by Tuckman. During the initial stages, all possible efforts were taken to focus on the several levels of forming, storming, and norming, performing and adjourning (Raes et al. 2015). The fact that all of us met each other to learn about individual tasks that were expected of us, based on our professional roles, was an appropriate step in the activity. Conducting the forming stage ensured that all of the team members were well aware of their strengths and weaknesses, which in turn facilitated us to evaluate how well we fitted in with others (Seck and Helton 2014). The team leader provided necessary support during this stage and provided a basic structure and direction for the entire team that helped us to identify our intended visions. Research evidences state that providing a clear explanation of the objectives and goals help to ensure that all team members are well aware of their roles, thereby leading the team successfully through the succeeding stages (Wang and Hsieh 2013).
Certain problems arose during the storming stage due to certain interpersonal issues that resulted in polarisation. Such instances of polarisation due to differences in the ideas most often lead to disagreements, and create challenging opportunities for the leader. However, the team leader took an authentic approach to his leadership where he emphasised on enhancing the overall teamwork by valuing and considering the inputs of all team members. This can be considered as a good strategy since, authentic leadership is a direct manifestation of self-actualisation of individuals, being aware of their limitations, strengths and emotions (Azanza, Moriano and Molero 2013). Furthermore, this authentic leadership also helped in promoting openness in the team work and built a trust, which provided us great support and helped us to improve our performance. Our leader emphasised on the need of caring for people in an ethical way, over market and profit. This form of leadership acts as a boost and enhances several distinct qualities namely, relational transparency, internalised moral perspective and balanced processing. Thus, the authentic leadership style demonstrated by our team leader provided the scope for constructive feedback, interpersonal communication and we became close with most of the team members, at the end of the project (Nichols and Erakovich 2013). The team work can also be explained as an effective approach based on its consistency with John Adair’s leadership theory, which elaborated on the fact that tasks can only be accomplished by a team and not by individuals alone.
The fact that our leader provided equal value to each of our thoughts and ideas on inter-professional collaboration, in relation to patient centred care, was established by the his belief that a team is only capable of achieving excellent task performance, upon full development of all team members (Zulch 2014). Moreover, the team leader also emphasised on the continuous need of challenging and motivating all team members. An effective team leader gas to balance the aforementioned three elements of a team functioning. This is in accordance to Adair’s model of leadership and boosted our morale, thereby resolving conflicts and enhancing our overall performance (Black 2015). Belbin further stated that a team with diverse workforce is capable of utilising the strength and weakness of all, which in turn results in an advancement of the group. According to the theory, gaining a clear understanding of the role within a team assists in developing the strengths and also improves the contribution to the overall performance of the team (Senaratne and Gunawardane 2015).
Presence of similar styles of personal qualities and behaviour might often result in a disruption in the balance of a team. Furthermore, if the team members are found to possess similar weaknesses, they might develop a tendency to compete for the responsibilities and tasks, which best suit the natural styles. Owing to the fact that our team leader adopted an authentic approach, no such conflicts arose in the tenure of the team work. Each one of us were given the complete scope of recognising the talents and drawbacks, unique to ourselves, which helped in avoiding all kinds of turmoil. Thus, the Belbin’s team theory model was appropriately put into effect by the leader to ensure coverage of all team roles. Adoption of the model also allowed the team leader to address the potential behavioural weaknesses and tensions among all team members (Batenburg, van Walbeek and in der Maur 2013).
Although the leader took efforts in managing the conformity between members, efforts could have been taken to take risky shifts that would result in making daring decisions in the group, for the betterment of the service users. We adopted the conventional approaches of inter-professional collaboration to provide optimal care services for the patients. However, taking shared risk decisions about healthcare approaches would result in group polarisation and might have resulted in formulation of new health strategies. Furthermore, increasing the team size could also have allowed emergence of different roles that would have influenced the team operation for better outcomes.
Thus, it can be concluded that team work is the best way for maximising efficiency, productivity and creativity. However, it is imperative to the role of effective leaders to keep the team members motivated for allowing the latter to achieve their full potential. Developing an authentic leadership approach and motivating us was the best strategy that our team leader adopted, which in turn helped us to overcome challenges and produce high quality work, while engaging in effective interaction with the fellow team mates. The experience was an enriching one as it inculcated in us the core team values of relationship, honesty, profitability, teamwork and passion. Appropriate identification of these team values guided us in our decisions and underpinned the efforts of the entire team. Furthermore, this team work helped us to recognise inter-professional collaboration as the primary practice for approaching patient care from a team perspective and helped us to understand that a range of health disciplines should effectively work together for improving patient outcomes.
With this experience, I have learned about the skills to develop an effective team and nurture a novice member to a confident and contributing team member. In future, my action plan is to use the SMART framework to clearly define goals. As inter-professional team work requires good communication skills, I aim to develop my interpersonal communication skill so that I can save time and reduce chances of conflict or errors during inter-professional collaboration. Building team spirit is a very complex task. To take on the leadership role in the future, my action plan is to learn about motivational theories and ways to apply them in different situation.
The essay gave a reflective insight into my experience of working in an inter-professional learning. To conclude, it can be said that the leadership style and presence of values and principles related to team work is crucial to maintain team dynamics and achieve desired outcome. The role of leaders, open communication process, mutual trust, creativity, conflict management and shared decision are some important elements of inter-professional team work. Good amalgamation all these factors helped our team to achieve the desired result. I have gained valuable experience related to the way to work in a team and use constructive feedback to promote professional development. For student entering health care practice, gaining such experience is important so that they can easily translate the values of team based care in actual health and social care setting.
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