Formal Assessment of Teamwork Among Cancer Health Care Professionals in Three Large Tertiary Centers in Nigeria

JCO Glob Oncol. 2020 Apr;6:560-568. doi: 10.1200/JGO.19.00233.


Purpose: There are strategies to bring quality cancer care to underserved patients, but poor use of the principles of teamwork is a major barrier to achieving quality services. The intent of this study was to assess teamwork as perceived by health care workers caring for patients with cancer.

Methods: We conducted a survey among health care professionals in cancer care at 3 tertiary centers in southwestern Nigeria from July to November 2016. Respondents rated teamwork using the Safety Attitudes Questionnaire; we focused on the teamwork climate subscale comparing health care providers and institutions using analysis of variance and on collaboration using logistic regression.

Results: Three hundred seventy-three professionals completed the survey: 177 physicians (47%), 51 nurses (14%), 21 pharmacists (6%), 31 laboratory technicians (8%), and 88 others (24%); 5 (1%) participants had missing professional information. The average teamwork climate score across all professionals in the study was 70.5 (SD = 24.2). Pharmacists rated the teamwork climate the lowest, with a mean score of 63.9 (SD = 29.5); nurses and laboratory technicians rated teamwork higher, with means of 74.5 (SD = 21.7) and 74.2 (SD = 27.1), respectively; and physicians rated teamwork 66.0 (SD = 23.6). Collaboration with other health care providers was reported as poorer by physicians compared with nurses and pharmacists.

Conclusion: Although overall teamwork scores were consistent with ambulatory studies in the United States, important subgroup variations provide targets for intervention. Physicians rated collaboration as poor both intra- and interprofessionally. Pharmacists rated interprofessional teamwork with nurses as poor. Efforts to transform cancer care must focus on building trust among the key stakeholders. This is critical in low-resource settings, which must maximize the use of limited resources to improve patient outcomes.

MeSH terms

  • Health Personnel*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms* / therapy
  • Nigeria
  • Patient Care Team*
  • Pharmacists
  • Physicians*