Interdisciplinary Teamwork

2607965994_eefa9c459a_o (2)Support for the utilization of interdisciplinary teams is frequent and vociferous, with many sources citing the advantages of such an approach. Even as collaborative teamwork was being pioneered during the first world war its efficiency was emphasized, specifically in regard to continuity of care (Cooter, 2004). This increased efficacy has been related to the pooling of diverse skills, knowledge and experience from member disciplines, maximizing available resources and enhancing creativity in problem solving. Patients report greater satisfaction with care and several studies show findings with a significant correlation between interdisciplinary care and both decreased mortality rates and increased quality of life (Kramer & Schmalenberg, 2003). Moreover, the literature suggests increased cost-effectiveness, most likely as a result of greater resource efficiency and a reduction in duplication or gaps in services (Leipzig et al, 2002). Another area in which interdisciplinary teams show clear advantages over a traditional approach to care delivery is that of work-life satisfaction. Professionals themselves often identify teamwork as a more gratifying way to practice (Kramer& Schmalenberg, 2003). Working in interdisciplinary teams increases professionals’ self-confidence and sense of worth and importance, qualities that are likely positively impacted by the increased mutual respect between team members and the understanding of the unique skills of each. Indeed, such an approach is said to lead to increased honesty and openness between involved professions, factors that may further enhance a sense of fulfillment. It is clear why an interdisciplinary, professional practice approach to care delivery is currently the model of choice in health care.


Culture and Grief

medium_6789125591As human beings, we are molded by a rich interplay between physical, psychological, sociological, behavioural and cultural experience. The impact of culture upon individual experience is of specific interest to nurses as societies become increasingly multicultural. Increases in worldwide mobility, ease of migration, and fertility rates all demand an expanded cultural awareness and the incorporation of transcultural health perspectives in clinical practice. One human experience that occurs universally throughout all cultures is grief.

As nurses attempting to provide culturally safe care to grieving clients we must remember the individualized nature of the grief experience and differences in its manifestations across cultural lines. Developing an understanding of culturally defined mourning rituals, traditions and behavioural expressions of grief also present an essential key, assisting us to move beyond Western assumptions of “normal” reactions or “healthy” ways of coping. With a deepened understanding through cultural assessments, knowledge and an openness to diversity we can move to incorporate cultural practices into our clients’ care. Furthermore, we can help our clients to understand the meaning of their loss, a task crucial to working through grief. As with the overall experience of grief, loss carries with it different meanings from person to person and culture to culture.

Social Medicine

8583949219_f55657573e_z‘White Coat Black Art’ is a radio documentary series on CBC Radio One that examines the business and culture of medicine. In 2010, host Dr. Brian Goldman explored the subject of Social Medicine. There is much debate among healthcare professionals about connecting with patients through social media. While there is the risk of serious consequences, many are using social networking to reach out to patients while maintaining ethical boundaries. This documentary explores the benefits and pitfalls of using social media as a tool to bridge the divide between professionals and patients.

Who owns the data?


8595765522_384f31b0b7_zWireless medicine is showing amazing potential. As the interviewed physician reports in this piece, he prescribes more apps now than medications. The possibilities for distant assessments, diagnoses, and prescribing is especially salient for Canadians in rural areas without regular access to physicians and/or specialists. One thing to consider along with the wonderful advances of health care in the digital age is… who owns the information acquired through the technologies? To learn more, watch Hugo Campos’ TEDx talk where he discusses his implantable cardiac defibrillator which continually collects information about his body, yet he has no access to it. The information ‘belongs’ to the company who made the device.