Managing Cross-Disciplinary Teams is a Required Skill
of us in healthcare have worked in silos for so long it has become the norm. In
fact we justify it by saying due to the complexity of our body of knowledge,
others just will not understand. Physically and psychologically we are more
comfortable sharing space and projects with colleagues who are like us.
are shared but usually within the group. Even high quality outcomes tend to
have just the perspective of our peers as opposed to any other stakeholders on
the outside. We serve on teams and committees, but that’s not fully
cross-disciplinary because we tend to come together, give input, accept or
reject ideas and then move apart to continue life as usual.
is becoming popular to learn how to cope with inter-generational teams as the workplace changes.
It is common to have two or three generations of workers side by side in the
same department. But again, that is not inter-disciplinary.
recent interactions with clients and colleagues I have seen the following odd bedfellows, if you will:
radiological technologist in charge of the laboratory (in a non-licensure state)
of Care duties shared by a nurse coordinator and an MLS analyst
pathologist who is Director of Diagnostics (with the medical laboratory, imaging
and sports medicine reporting to him)
pharmacist substituting for a pathologist for coagulation consults for laboratory testing
the above situations, laboratorians are forced (“made to” as opposed to “coerced”)
to interact with nonlaboratorians in a significant and ongoing way. This is new
work teams are being increasingly created out of the necessity for leaner staffing, need for
increased productivity and efficiency.
Mark Lanfear, a
global practice leader at KellyServices, a company that specializes in
providing workplace solutions, believes successful interdisciplinary teamwork
always begins with a committed manager.
must make the commitment and deliberate effort to start thinking in a more
interdisciplinary fashion. They must consider various options and direct the
team to think of a “common front.” What is the desired outcome? What do all the
stakeholders have in common? What perspectives do they want to consider/include
in the project?
manager must explicitly communicate the cross-disciplinary nature of the project
and the interconnectedness of all team members. There are no winners or losers
or head honchos based on the silos they previously occupied
it clear that in the same way that communication and working together
strengthen the outcome, failure to fully engage will hurt the outcome.
This cross-pollination might be a new, even uncomfortable method of relating. However as laboratorians
we will find that this is an increasingly common, efficient and beneficial way