Big Ideas: Interprofessional Collaboration: The Impact on Eliminating Individual Silos and Meeting Industry Goals

Jennifer Thew, RN, January 6, 2016

Interprofessional Collaboration: The Impact on Eliminating Individual Silos and Meeting Industry Goals

It may seem strange that functioning as part of a team would cause discomfort, but the traditional paradigm of the physician as the sole controlling practitioner persists.

This article first appeared in the December 2015 issue of HealthLeaders magazine.

At Seattle's Virginia Mason MedicalCenter, teamwork is the name of the game. Healthcare providers who'd rather call an audible and play by their own rules are in for a surprise.

"Teamwork is one of our core values here, and has been since the beginning," says Charleen Tachibana, DNP, RN, FAAN, senior vice president for quality and safety and chief nursing officer at the medical center, which includes a 336-licensed-bed acute care facility that is part of the larger, nonprofit integrated healthcare system. "So the concept of forming teams and reforming teams and coming together and working together really becomes a way of being. If people want to work in silos here, that doesn't work very well; they're not very comfortable, and they aren't able to move agendas very quickly that way."

"Many healthcare professionals come with a mental model around what they expect when they're working with other healthcare professionals. I just think that's reflective of the profession and how they're educated in silos."

It may seem strange that functioning as part of a team would cause discomfort, but the traditional paradigm of the physician as the sole controlling practitioner persists.

"Many healthcare professionals come with a mental model around what they expect when they're working with other healthcare professionals," says Tachibana, who recalls a physician job candidate who declined a position after learning of Virginia Mason's emphasis on collaboration. "I just think that's reflective of the profession and how they're educated in silos."

Jennifer Thew, RN

Jennifer Thew, RN is the senior nursing editor at HealthLeaders Media.

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