Firefighters, police officials, airlines, and our military organizations may counter that teams are more important in their organizations than in the health care profession? How do you respond to...

Firefighters, police officials, airlines, and our military organizations may counter that teams are more important in their organizations than in the health care profession? How do you respond to this? What sets health care apart?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In a sense, I am not sure any profession can operate without teams that work to support one another in pursuit of a larger cause that envelops everyone.  There is a danger to suggesting that one profession has cornered the market on teamwork more than another.  Different professions necessitate different dynamics of teamwork and cooperation.  

The health care field is as dependent on teamwork as any other profession.  Consider the job of Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) as an example of this.  The Emergency Medical Technician must quickly respond to a particular scene, be responsive to what is happening at that moment, communicate with a hospital as to what needs to be done, and receive information from and offer insight to a physician- led team.  This is the embodiment of teamwork in how immediate relief and care is provided to those in need.  Disaster awaits to the patient if one component of the team concept is not respected.  Another aspect of health care being dependent on teams would be the cooperation between different professionals in delivering the best quality of health care.  Nurses, technicians, physicians, and administrative staff have to depend on one another.   Another example would be organ donation, the embodiment of teamwork and sacrifice.  The network of communicating for donors, finding donors, and delivering donor organs to those in need is the essence of teamwork.  Without this teamwork, people can die.  Teamwork cannot be more essential.  Delivering relevant and meaningful quality to patients is not in the domain of only one person.  It falls into the category of many people. Different individuals have to respond to the particular task at hand through completing different jobs and tasks to help the patient.  No one person in the delivery of high quality of health care can do everything. Teamwork becomes vital.

Health care deals with the quality of the patient's life.  In many respects, the patient lives as the result of high- caliber teamwork.  This might be where teamwork is shown to be essential in the health care profession.  A person's life, the alleviation of pain and discomfort, and their own longevity of life are directly impacted through teamwork.  In the end, all professions require teamwork and health care is no different.  I would suggest that as opposed to engaging in a "one upsmanship" of who is more dependent on teamwork, the paradigm moves towards how teamwork is essential in different professions.  In this, health care's dependence and need for teamwork can be seen as vitally important.

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