Healthcare leaders should consider these five elements when integrating nurse practitioners (NPs) and physician assistants (PAs) on a multi-disciplinary team.
In working with academic and organizational healthcare leaders nationwide, we have had many discussions on the topic of team building. I was impressed by vision of the Clinic Lerner College of Medicine at the Case Western Reserve. This innovative approach to educating healthcare providers on the importance of team building includes the opportunity to discuss patient care from a variety of professional points of view. Scott Wilkes, Assistant Dean at the Case School of Social Work, points out role clarity as one of the key elements of success in building teams. The process of defining and communicating the role of each team member can help as healthcare providers learn collaborative skills.
One of the biggest mistakes teams make when adding nurse practitioners and physicians assistants to a team is not clearly defining the roles of these providers and not aligning the role with the full scope of practice as defined by AANP and AAPA.
Five elements to consider when building teams
- Communication: Create a communication strategy inclusive of all team members to include a strategic directive, operational plan, with clear metrics, with a solid reporting strategy.
- Metrics: Effective performance management process (consider including a team measurement on a balanced scorecard): including self-evaluation, feedback, clearly defined and communicated (to all team members and at all levels within the organization) standards and expectations.
- Clarity: Provide role definition for each team member, inclusive of autonomy and authority within the role and clearly communicating this to all team members.
- Personal development: Develop leadership skills and capabilities for all team members on an ongoing basis.
- Goal alignment: Make optimal patient care and outcomes the number one priority on healthcare teams. In addition, provide ongoing education and training for team members.
Feel free to contact us if you are considering adding nurse practitioners or physician assistants to your team!