A Multisite Study of Interprofessional Teamwork and Collaboration on General Medical Services

Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2020 Dec;46(12):667-672. doi: 10.1016/j.jcjq.2020.09.009. Epub 2020 Sep 28.


Background: Teamwork and collaboration are essential to providing high-quality care. Prior research has found discrepancies between nurses' and physicians' perceptions in operating rooms, ICUs, and labor and delivery units. Less is known about health care professionals' perceptions of teamwork and collaboration on general medical services.

Methods: This cross-sectional study included nurses, nurse assistants, and physicians working on general medical services in four mid-sized hospitals. Researchers assessed teamwork climate using the Safety Attitudes Questionnaire and asked respondents to rate the quality of collaboration experienced with their own and other professional categories.

Results: Data for 380 participants (80 hospitalists, 13 resident physicians, 193 nurses, and 94 nurse assistants) were analyzed. Hospitalists had the highest median teamwork climate score (83.3, interquartile range [IQR] = 72.3-91.1), and nurses had the lowest (78.6, IQR = 69.6-87.5), but the difference was not statistically significant (p = 0.42). Median teamwork climate scores were significantly different across the four sites (highest = 83.3, IQR = 75.0-91.1; lowest = 76.8, IQR = 66.7-88.4; p = 0.003). Ratings of the quality of collaboration differed significantly based on professional category. Specifically, 63.3% (50/79) of hospitalists rated the quality of collaboration with nurses as high or very high, while 48.7% (94/193) of nurses rated the quality of collaboration with hospitalists as high or very high.

Conclusion: This study found significant differences in perceptions of teamwork climate across sites and in collaboration across professional categories on general medical services. Given the importance in providing high-quality care, leaders should consider conducting similar assessments to characterize teamwork and collaboration on general medical services within their own hospitals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Cooperative Behavior
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Health Personnel
  • Humans
  • Patient Care Team*
  • Physicians*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires