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A Pilot for Understanding Interdisciplinary Teams in Rehabilitation Practice



Mary Joe White, PhD, RN, Associate Professor of Nursing, Department of Systems, The University of Texas Health Science Center Houston, School of Nursing, 6901 Bertner, Houston, TX 77030. E-mail:


Interdisciplinary teams in rehabilitation are effective for positive patient outcomes. They require skills in team building and interprofessional collaboration. The Institute of Medicine has interdisciplinary teams as one of the five core competencies for healthcare workers. In reviewing the literature on teams, several themes were developed, such as communication, collaboration, understanding of roles, and educational levels of team members. Using these themes, a survey was developed to assess perceptions of teams by rehabilitation nurses, physical therapists, and occupational therapists. Significant findings came from questions on educational levels of team members between nurses and occupational therapists and also within the nursing groups. Open-ended questions asked about barriers and facilitators for effective teams. We hope that these pilot results will lead to discussions on how to improve interdisciplinary teams and make them more effective for better patient outcomes.