Introduction: Communication and teamwork failures are a common cause of adverse events. Residency programs, with a mandate to teach systems-based practice, are particularly challenged to address these important skills.
Aim: To develop a multidisciplinary teamwork training program focused on teaching teamwork behaviors and communication skills.
Setting: Internal medicine residents, hospitalists, nurses, pharmacists, and all other staff on a designated inpatient medical unit at an academic medical center.
Program description: We developed a 4-h teamwork training program as part of the Triad for Optimal Patient Safety (TOPS) project. Teaching strategies combined didactic presentation, facilitated discussion using a safety trigger video, and small-group scenario-based exercises to practice effective communication skills and team behaviors. Development, planning, implementation, delivery, and evaluation of TOPS Training was conducted by a multidisciplinary team.
Program evaluation: We received 203 evaluations with a mean overall rating for the training of 4.49 +/- 0.79 on a 1-5 scale. Participants rated the multidisciplinary educational setting highly at 4.59 +/- 0.68.
Discussion: We developed a multidisciplinary teamwork training program that was highly rated by all participating disciplines. The key was creating a shared forum to learn about and discuss interdisciplinary communication and teamwork.