The role of teamwork and communication in the emergency department: a systematic review

Int Emerg Nurs. 2010 Jul;18(3):127-37. doi: 10.1016/j.ienj.2009.05.006. Epub 2009 Jul 9.


The aim of this study was to develop a systematic review using international research to describe the role of teamwork and communication in the emergency department, and its relevance to physiotherapy practice in the emergency department. Searches were conducted of CINAHL, Academic Search Premier, Scopus, Cochrane, PEDro, Medline, Embase, Amed and PubMed. Selection criteria included full-text English language research papers related to teamwork and/or communication based directly in the emergency department, involvement of any profession in the emergency department, publication in peer-reviewed journals, and related to adult emergency services. Studies were appraised using a validated critical appraisal tool. Fourteen eligible studies, all of mid-range quality, were identified. They demonstrated high levels of staff satisfaction with teamwork training interventions and positive staff attitudes towards the importance of teamwork and communication. There is moderate evidence that the introduction of multidisciplinary teams to the ED may be successful in reducing access block, and physiotherapists may play a role in this. The need for teamwork and communication in the ED is paramount, and their roles are closely linked, with the common significant purposes of improving patient safety, reducing clinical errors, and reducing waiting times.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Clinical Competence
  • Communication*
  • Cooperative Behavior*
  • Emergency Nursing / organization & administration
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Interprofessional Relations*
  • Job Satisfaction
  • Patient Care Team / organization & administration*
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Physical Therapy Specialty / organization & administration*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Quality of Health Care
  • Research Design
  • Safety Management