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BMJ Qual Saf. 2013 May;22(5):374-82. doi: 10.1136/bmjqs-2012-000909. Epub 2013 Feb 8.

Building collaborative teams in neonatal intensive care.

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Department of Neonatology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, MA 02215, USA.


The complex multidisciplinary nature of neonatal intensive care combined with the numerous hand-offs occurring in this shift-based environment, requires efficient and clear communication and collaboration among staff to provide optimal care. However, the skills required to function as a team are not typically assessed, discussed, or even taught on a regular basis among neonatal personnel. We developed a multidisciplinary, small group, interactive workshop based on Team STEPPS to provide staff with formal teamwork skills, and to introduce new team-based practices; 129 (95%) of the eligible 136 staff were trained. We then compared the results of the pretraining survey (completed by 114 (84%) of staff) with the post-training survey (completed by 104 (81%) of participants) 2 years later. We found an improvement in the overall teamwork score from 7.37 to 8.08 (p=<0.0001) based on a range of poor (1) to excellent (9). Respondents provided higher ratings in 9 out of 15 team-based categories after the training. Specifically, staff found improvements in communication (p=0.037), placed greater importance on situation awareness (p=<0.00010), and reported that they supported each other more (p=<0.0001). Staff satisfaction was rated higher post-training, with responses showing that staff had greater job fulfilment (p=<0.0001), believed that their abilities were being utilised properly (p=0.003), and felt more respected (p=0.0037). 90% of staff found the new practice of team meetings to help increase awareness of unit acuity, and 77% of staff noted that they had asked for help or offered assistance because of information shared during these meetings. In addition to summarising the results of our training programme, this paper also provides practical tools that may be of use in developing team training programmes in other neonatal units.

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