Working with Experts from Non-clinical Fields

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Simulation programs can benefit greatly from inter-disciplinary collaboration, especially with specialists outside of clinical fields. A working knowledge of relevant non-clinical fields can help simulation program directors by enriching the diversity of lessons learned, enhanceing the impact and maximizing the value derived from simulation. Such knowledge also provides a resource for finding and working with experts in these fields. We outline top non-clinical fields that have played important roles in various aspects of simulation in healthcare. These fields include professional education, human factors, safety science, quality improvement, gaming, psychometrics, biostatistics, and sensor technology. Expertise in some of these fields, such as patient safety and professional education, may be readily available in a clinical setting. Other fields will require working with local and regional organizations, such as nearby universities. It is necessary to develop common ground with non-clinician experts, such as orientation on health care priorities and culture. Non-clinicians may find it useful to shadow in clinical settings, attend case discussions and project meetings. It may also be feasible for healthcare simulation specialists to attend introductory training in certain fields, such as professional education, so that they can bridge the language gaps when working with experts from non-clinical fields.

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This study into understanding health care teams began with listening to participants' teamwork experiences. It unfolded through a dialectic of iterations, analyses and critique towards a simplified model comprising six key characteristics of effective teams. Using the complementary theoretical perspectives of personal construct theory and inductive theory building, three research methods were used to collect a range of participant perspectives. A purposive sample of 39 strategic informants participated in repertory grid interviews and clarification questionnaires. A further 202 health care practitioners completed a purpose designed Teamwork in Healthcare Inventory. All responses were transformed through three iterations of interactive data collection, analysis, reflection and interpretation. Unstructured participant perspectives were qualitatively categorised and analysed into hierarchies to determine comparative contributions to effective teamwork. Complex inter-relationships between conceptual categories were investigated to identify four interdependent emerging themes. Finally, a dynamic model of teamwork in health care organisations emerged that has functional utility for health care practitioners. This Healthy Teams Model can be utilised in conjunction with a Reflective Analysis and Team Building Guide to facilitate team members to critically evaluate and enhance their team functioning.
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  • EF Taylor
  • D Peikes
  • J Genevro
  • D Meyers