To better understand effective teams in healthcare environments, this study has two aims. Initially, there was a desire to explore teamwork within healthcare environments, from the perspectives of healthcare practitioners. To achieve this, a constructivist epistemology was chosen to value the insights and shared perspectives about teamwork from a range of healthcare practitioners who had extensive experience working in healthcare teams. Individuals were facilitated to critically review their own experiences of teamwork, as a precursor to identifying and understanding shared perceptions of teamwork across all participants.
Using this collective knowledge and understanding of teamwork, this study also aimed to build a theoretical model that had functional utility for individuals and teams within healthcare organisations. Rich descriptions of individual experiences of teamwork provided a basis for inductively building a theoretical model of teamwork, using philosophically consistent methodological choices. An interpretive framework was designed to logically describe four sequential, yet overlapping iterations of data collection, analysis, reflection and interpretation.
This interactive spiral of inductive theory building generated a dynamic theoretical model, which encompassed six key characteristics of effective teams, that were both conceptually linked to each other and able to distinguish effective from ineffective teams. The functional utility of the emergent Healthy Teams Model remains philosophically consistent with its constructivist origins. There is a clear acknowledgement that team members are best positioned to evaluate their own team using both the Healthy Teams Model and a purpose designed complementary guide for reflective analysis and change. Together, they incorporate a reflexive process to facilitate individual reflection of current team performance, as a precursor to determining the need for intervention to enhance teamwork.
Ultimately this model has the potential to improve practice and individual understanding of teamwork for current and future healthcare professionals. As it does so, it will be receptive to further research that will continue to clarify and deepen the shared perspectives of effective teamwork in healthcare organisations.