Teamwork is extremely important in health care. Any dysfunctional organization will be structurally and temperamentally incapable of executing its core mission properly. For most organizations, that situation will result in lost or diminished sales or contracts, lost competitions in the world of sports, or missed opportunities in any business or activity. Within the realm of health care, a lack of teamwork can result in the deaths of patients and serious legal problems for the individuals and institutions involved. A dysfunctional health care facility simply cannot function in the manner necessary to ensure the well-being of its customers, the patients. Especially in the case of hospitals, surgical centers and urgent care clinics, the need for effective teamwork is absolutely essential if the patients are to receive the quality of care they require.
Establishing effective teamwork in a high-pressure medical care environment can be as difficult as it is necessary. Disparate personalities, skill levels, functional specialties, and priorities can be a lethal combination when an overwhelmed staff is operating at a high tempo. Any failure to function like a team can, and probably will, result in improperly treated patients, with the high possibility of an unnecessary death or disabling error. One common problem in establishing effective teamwork in a health care facility is resolving personality conflicts that frequently arise in an environment characterized by highly-educated physicians some of whom may be imbued with what has been called “the God complex,” the sense of one’s power over life and death by virtue of their specialized and extraordinarily rigorous training. Doctors are the ones directly in the spotlight during any complicated medical procedure, and their skills and knowledge are determinative of the patient’s future well-being, but a failure to control that sense of intellectual superiority and resistance to input from subordinates can prove fatal.
Teamwork is not a luxury in a high-pressure medical environment; it is a requirement.