Envisioning successful teamwork: an exploratory qualitative study of team processes used by nursing teams in a paediatric hospital unit

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Whitehair, L, Hurley, J & Provost, S 2018, 'Envisioning successful teamwork: an exploratory qualitative study of team processes used by nursing teams in a paediatric hospital unit', Journal of Clinical Nursing.

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Aims and objectives: To explore how team processes support nursing teams in hospital units during every day work. Background: Due to their close proximity to patients, nurses are central to the process of maintaining patient safety. Globally, changes in models of care delivery by nurses, inclusive of team nursing are being considered. Design and methods: This qualitative study used purposive sampling in a single hospital and participants were nurses employed to work on a paediatric unit. Data were collected using nonparticipant observation. Thematic analysis was used to analyse and code data to create themes. Results: Three clear themes emerged. Theme 1: “We are a close knit team”; Behaviours building a successful team – outlines expectations regarding how members are to behave when establishing, nurturing and managing a team. Theme 2: “Onto it”; Ways of interacting with each other – Identifies the expected pattern of relating within the team which contribute to shared understanding and actions. Theme 3: “No point in second guessing”; Maintaining a global view of the unit – focuses on the processes for monitoring and reporting signals that team performance is on course or breaking down and includes accepting responsibility to lead the team and team members having a widespread sensitivity to what needs to happen. Conclusion: Essential to successful teamwork is the interplay and mutuality of team members and team leaders. Relevance to clinical practice: Leadership behaviours exhibited in this study provide useful insights to how informal and shared or distributed leadership of teams may be achieved. Without buy‐in from team members, teams may not achieve successful desired outcomes. It is not sufficient for teams to rely on current successful outcomes, as they need to be on the look‐out for new ways to ensure that they can anticipate possible risks or threats to the team before harm is done.

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