Partnerships and Collaboration: What Skills are Needed?
Letter to the Editor by Amirah Brack to “Interprofessional Collaboration within Faculty Roles: Teaching, Service, and Research” by June Alberto, DNS, RN and Kaye Herth, PhD, RN, FAAN (March 31, 2009)
In the present day of healthcare, many practices are utilized to provide quality patient care and positive patient outcomes. The recent OJIN article, “Interprofessional Collaboration within Faculty Roles: Teaching, Service, and Research” by Alberto & Herth (2009), zeroes in on collaboration in the healthcare setting and its importance. Within the acute care and hospital setting, the interdisciplinary approach is common in the problem solving process and care plan of the patient. The various professions, ranging from physicians to nurses to respiratory therapists, all provide their knowledge and insight towards a case and work together towards the optimum solution. As stated in the article, “although clinical practice demands close cooperation among the different professions, interprofessional education and experiences are seldom a part of the curricula in the various schools in the United States” (Alberto & Herth, 2009, para 14). Considering the importance of collaboration in the world of healthcare, it is imperative that students are able to master this skill and the opportunity to participate in the collaborative process.
I was given the opportunity during my Capstone Project course as a senior nursing student at Bloomfield College in Bloomfield, New Jersey to partner with a preceptor for a clinical practice project. During this time period, I was able to experience and gain knowledge about the collaborative process with Registered Nurses in a Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit as a team and with other professionals on the unit. Prior to beginning my clinical practice hours, I had to create specific clinical objectives to achieve during the duration of the 60-hour preceptorship. Every objective required collaboration with my preceptor. With an understanding of what we wanted one another to take from the experience, there was a shared meaning and commitment towards achieving both our shared and personal goals.
Although collaboration is generally defined as working together, there are many skills which make this form of work ethic doable. Communication, problem solving and critical thinking, and professional skills are all integrated into the collaboration process. All of these skills were exercised during my clinical practice with my preceptor and were what made my goals attainable. From planning patient care to observing how RNs interacted with each other and their professional peers, it had to be established that all parties understood and listened to each other, analyzed information, and utilized interpersonal and leadership skills while maintaining respect of each other’s roles.
These partnerships and collaborations are an important part of nursing and the entire healthcare profession. The clinical practice project enabled me to experience the collaborative process first hand with this preceptorship, which highlighted the theory taught in the nursing curriculum. Effective collaboration can bring about a positive change amongst different professions while working as an interdisciplinary team. As a senior nursing student, I am looking forward to the transition from a novice to expert, not only with patient care, but with my teamwork and collaboration skills.
Senior Nursing Student