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Interprofessional team management in pediatric critical care: some challenges and possible solutions

Authors Stocker M, Pilgrim SB, Burmester M, Allen ML, Gijselaers WH

Received 14 November 2015

Accepted for publication 12 December 2015

Published 24 February 2016 Volume 2016:9 Pages 47—58

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/JMDH.S76773

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Devang Sanghavi

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser

Martin Stocker,1 Sina B Pilgrim,2 Margarita Burmester,3 Meredith L Allen,4 Wim H Gijselaers5

1Neonatal and Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, Children's Hospital Lucerne, Lucerne, 2Pediatric Intensive Care, University Children's Hospital Berne, Berne, Switzerland; 3Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, Royal Brompton Hospital, London, UK; 4Department of Pediatrics, The Royal Children's Hospital, Victoria, Australia; 5Educational Research and Development, School of Business and Economics, Maastricht University, Maastricht, the Netherlands


Background: Aiming for and ensuring effective patient safety is a major priority in the management and culture of every health care organization. The pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) has become a workplace with a high diversity of multidisciplinary physicians and professionals. Therefore, delivery of high-quality care with optimal patient safety in a PICU is dependent on effective interprofessional team management. Nevertheless, ineffective interprofessional teamwork remains ubiquitous.
Methods: We based our review on the framework for interprofessional teamwork recently published in association with the UK Centre for Advancement of Interprofessional Education. Articles were selected to achieve better understanding and to include and translate new ideas and concepts.
Findings: The barrier between autonomous nurses and doctors in the PICU within their silos of specialization, the failure of shared mental models, a culture of disrespect, and the lack of empowering parents as team members preclude interprofessional team management and patient safety. A mindset of individual responsibility and accountability embedded in a network of equivalent partners, including the patient and their family members, is required to achieve optimal interprofessional care. Second, working competently as an interprofessional team is a learning process. Working declared as a learning process, psychological safety, and speaking up are pivotal factors to learning in daily practice. Finally, changes in small steps at the level of the microlevel unit are the bases to improve interprofessional team management and patient safety. Once small things with potential impact can be changed in one's own unit, engagement of health care professionals occurs and projects become accepted.
Conclusion: Bottom–up patient safety initiatives encouraging participation of every single care provider by learning effective interprofessional team management within daily practice may be an effective way of fostering patient safety.

Keywords: pediatric intensive care unit, patient safety, interprofessional team management, teamwork, psychological safety, organizational learning

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