Communication and Collaboration: Creating a Culture of Teamwork Through the Use of TeamSTEPPS Strategies


Poster Presentation

Purpose for the Program

To improve patient safety and satisfaction by implementing an evidence-based system to enhance communication and teamwork skills among healthcare professionals.

Proposed Change

TeamSTEPPS is an innovative program that works to solidify collaboration among the healthcare team to achieve the best outcomes for patients. A multidisciplinary group committed to changing the culture of the department attended the TeamSTEPPS master training course. The team identified communication as a recurring problem that threatened patient safety and satisfaction. The team then developed the department-wide “snapshot” as an intervention to improve communication.

Implementation, Outcomes, and Evaluation

The women's services department consists of high-risk labor and delivery (L&D), well-baby nursery, level II and level III neonatology units, mother–baby couplet unit, and perinatal special care unit. Direct patient care providers from the departmental units attended the TeamSTEPPS fundamentals 4-hour interactive workshop. This workshop provided hands-on learning experience of the TeamSTEPPS philosophy as well as an opportunity to practice the TeamSTEPPS behaviors.

At 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. daily, the obstetric (OB) faculty member on duty conducts the interdisciplinary department-wide “snapshot.” The snapshot is a scripted report that begins with the OB faculty giving L&D staff the big picture report. Next, the L&D team lead nurse reports on inductions, surgeries, expected patients, antepartum unit census and concerns, OB triage status, and patients waiting for beds and staffing. The OR nurse discusses concerns about scheduled cases and the mother–baby team lead nurse reports census, discharges, and concerns. The nurse–midwife and family medicine resident report on admitted patients and bring to light any concerns they may have. Next, staff from the anesthesia department discuss the OR cases, epidurals infusing, problem epidurals, and anticipated high-risk cases. The staff from the neonatology department then has an opportunity to discuss any concerns. To close the snapshot, the OB faculty clearly states, “If any team member sees anything unsafe or not in the best interests of our patients, we expect you to speak up. If you are unable to get a timely or effective response, call me, OB faculty, Dr. _______.”

Improved communication has been evidenced by expediting safe mother–baby discharges during periods of increased census, improved operating room productivity, timely and effective neonatology consultations, and accessibility and accountability of the OB faculty member on duty.

Implications for Nursing Practice

Effective collaboration and communication are essential elements of professional nursing. The department-wide snapshot encourages nurses to be actively involved in the multidisciplinary healthcare team and make valuable, evidence-based contributions to patient safety and satisfaction.