Nurses' perceptions of multidisciplinary team work in acute health-care

Int J Nurs Pract. 2006 Dec;12(6):359-65. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-172X.2006.00595.x.


Multidisciplinary teamwork is viewed as one of the key processes through which care is managed in the British National Health Service, and yet is often viewed as one of the most problematic. Working in a multidisciplinary team requires many skills, which involves understanding not only one's own role but also the role of other professionals. The aim of this study was to explore nurses' perceptions of multidisciplinary teamwork in acute health-care. Nineteen nurses were interviewed using the critical incident approach to obtain their perceptions of multidisciplinary teamwork. Direct observation was conducted to record interactions between nurses and health-care professionals in multidisciplinary teams. In total, 14 meetings were attended in elder care and orthopaedics and seven in acute medicine. The findings of this study identified three barriers that hindered teamwork: (i) differing perceptions of teamwork; (ii) different levels of skills acquisitions to function as a team member; and (iii) the dominance of medical power that influenced interaction in teams. Thus, education establishments and nursing managers need to ensure that the acquisition of team-playing skills is an integral part of continued professional development.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • England
  • Geriatric Nursing
  • Humans
  • Interprofessional Relations*
  • Nurse's Role
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / organization & administration
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / psychology*
  • Orthopedic Nursing
  • Patient Care Team / organization & administration*
  • Qualitative Research
  • State Medicine