Putting teamwork in context

Med Educ. 2000 Nov;34(11):921-7. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2923.2000.00794.x.


Multidisciplinary teamwork is becoming more important in both the delivery of health care and in the organization and management of that delivery. The first of these has been accepted but traditional professional education has done little to address the challenge it presents to professionals. Recent reforms in the British NHS have made the challenge more urgent. Professionals must work together but in increasingly flexible and innovatory ways. They are also required to play more formal roles in NHS management and policy. Where teamwork has been addressed in professional education it has concentrated on the inter-personal dynamics of working teams. This remains important but to respond effectively to the new challenges curricula and educational practice will have to be clearer about the variety of teams involved and the importance of the context within which teams work. One view is offered as to how that context might be understood in order to map team diversity. Two models are offered to help develop multidisciplinary team learning. One of these deals with key aspects of the organizational setting and the other with factors that affect team processes. It is argued that both should help to facilitate multidisciplinary curriculum development but also suggest learning needs to be met within unidisciplinary professional education. Concentration on team dynamics alone will not deliver the teamwork required in the new NHS.

MeSH terms

  • Curriculum
  • Delivery of Health Care / organization & administration*
  • Delivery of Health Care / trends
  • Education, Medical / organization & administration*
  • Efficiency, Organizational
  • Humans
  • Interprofessional Relations*
  • Organizational Objectives
  • State Medicine / organization & administration
  • United Kingdom