Teaching team membership to family medicine residents: what does it take?

Department of Family Medicine, Concord Hospital, Concord, New Hampshire, USA.
Families Systems & Health (Impact Factor: 1.04). 03/2011; 29(1):29-43. DOI: 10.1037/a0022306
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Primary care reform proponents advocate for patient-centered medical homes built on interdisciplinary teamwork. Recent efforts document the difficulty achieving reform, which requires personal transformation by doctors. Currently no widely accepted curriculum to teach team membership in Family Medicine residencies exists. Organizational Development (OD) has 40 years of experience assessing and teaching the skills underlying teamwork. We present a curriculum that adapts OD insights to articulate a framework describing effective teamwork; define and teach specific team membership skills; reframe residents' perception of medicine to make relationships relevant; and transform training experiences to provide practice in interdisciplinary teamwork. Curriculum details include a rotation to introduce the new framework, six workshops, experiential learning in the practice, and coaching as a teaching method. We review program evaluations. We discuss challenges, including institutional resources and support, incorporation of a new language and culture into residency training, recruitment "for fit," and faculty/staff development. We conclude that teaching the relationship skills of effective team membership is feasible, but hard. Succeeding has transformative implications for patient relationships, residency training and the practice of family medicine.

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