Objectives: To elicit healthcare provider perceptions of working together in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).
Study design: We conducted focus groups to elicit descriptions of how providers work together. The groups included one each of transport nurses, staff nurses, residents, fellows, attending physicians and two multiple provider groups. To identify themes and their descriptive elements we performed qualitative data analysis.
Results: There were three to seven participants per group for a total sample of 36. Provider responses to questions about working together centered around three major themes: (1) Provider Characteristics; (2) Workplace Factors and; (3) Group Influences. Provider Characteristics were defined by personal attributes, reputation, and expertise. Workplace Factors included staffing, work organization, and work environment. Group Influences were described by communication and relationships.
Conclusions: Providers in this NICU described three broad organizational and interpersonal factors that influence how they work together, yet no consistent descriptions of teams or teamwork were found. The organizational factors, often far removed from bedside, should be considered when evaluating how providers work together.