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Teamwork: Communication and Group

Essay Topic: ,

Communication is essential throughout our daily life, both in our personal life and professional life. Communication skills are vital when we are working towards a common goal as a part of a team (Kearney-Nunnery, 2008). By observing and evaluating yourself when in interaction with others, we can learn how to communicate effectively. Group work demonstrates our capacity to communicate effectively, share and reflect on our opinions, gain trust for group members, and resolve conflicts. A team can be defined as “a group of individuals who work together to produce products or deliver services for which they are mutually accountable (Tyrer, 2004). Teamwork is described as “a dynamic process involving two or more [health professionals] with complimentary backgrounds and skills, sharing common [health] goals (… ). This is accomplished through interdependent collaboration, open communication and shared decision-making (Ream & Xyrichis, 2007).

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” “Effective collaboration can lead to effective teamwork (Canadian Health Services Research Foundation). ” One of the most commonly used methods to assess our performance is through writing a reflective evaluation.

In this assignment, I have been asked to reflect on my communication patterns and experiences whilst working within a group. This semester we were asked to work in small groups of 4 – 5 students to prepare a 20 minute information session on the ‘completion of documentation’, and perform a presentation in front of the class. In this assignment I will demonstrate my understanding of group dynamics and communication skills, reflect on my experience during the group activity, and briefly explain how the member contributions were divided up for the group presentation.

Team members are described as “having complementary skills, being committed to a common purpose and holding themselves accountable for their performance (Tyrer, 2004). ” These descriptions make it clear that teams are about working together as a group, and each member of the team has a purpose within the group, in working towards a common goal. Team members share goals and are mutually held accountable for meeting them (Canadian Health Services Research Foundation). ” To be effective, team members must be flexible and tolerant. For successful teamwork, there must be open and effective communication between all of the team members.

Open communication means that all members of the team have their chance to share ideas without being criticized. Establishing such communication between all members is vital for productivity and achievement of goals. “If effective, the team is more likely to utilize the full range of diverse knowledge and skills available (Tyrer, 2004). ” Because the team is held collectively accountable, integrating with one another is expected and included in the responsibilities of each member. Unequal levels of participation between the members of the team may inhibit the smooth running of a team (Caldwell et al).

Group working allows people’s individual skills and knowledge to merge, which compensates in areas where individual members are lacking. “It has been argued that teamwork offers greater adaptability and creativity than any one individual can offer, while promoting job satisfaction and staff retention. (Ream & Xyrichis, 2007)” Many variables affect teamwork and team performance on group assignments; including the individual characteristics and personalities the students, the mode of delivery, and understanding of what teamwork involves. During the group work activity I learned how to work with different personalities.

Everyone approached the topic differently. I think each group member brought a unique perspective to the group, which helped to create ideas and allowed the group to discuss each angle with each other. Although our group did not have a clear leader chosen at the start of our group work, I believe Rebecca held many of the essential qualities of a group leader. “The leader has the responsibility to develop team processes (for example, clarity of roles and support for the team) and create favourable performance conditions for the team (Canadian Health Services Research Foundation). Our group decided to divide the topic of ‘completion of documentation’ up into categories with subheadings (e. g. reasons for documentation, history of documentation, forms of documentation, errors in documentation, etc. ); each group member was then responsible for writing a paragraph on one bullet point, ensuring we distributed the work fairly among the group. However, we did all of the brainstorming as a group and used group meetings to create outlines for the designated points each person was to follow.

Once a draft was written, each group member edited it and gave comments, but final adjustments were left to the writer’s discretion. This was to ensure that our categories flowed nicely. We then met as a group and collectively created a PowerPoint presentation with the information we had gathered, instead of having one person doing the majority of the work. In between group meetings, we kept each other updated on our progress via emails. This allowed us to exchange information and share resources.

We used email to keep in touch with team members as an easy way to get a hold of other members of the team in the fastest way possible. I found this effective as we were able to maintain contact during our busy weeks. Although I thought communicating via email was appropriate due to the colliding schedules of the group members, more direct observation of the team at work together as a group would be helpful in my assessment of the effectiveness of teamwork behaviours, and the writing of this paper.

More frequent team meetings dedicated to the group presentation may have resulted in better communication, which could have allowed for better transfer of knowledge and therefore may have increased our team performance during the presentation. During group meetings, all members participated actively, trying to express their point of view. I think everyone had equal opportunity to voice their opinions and incorporate their ideas into the presentation. I thought working in a group setting was really valuable, which enabled us to expand our communication skills, and become more aware of our behaviour in group situations.

In summary, Teamwork is the interaction or relationship of two or more people, who work interdependently towards a common goal. Team-based methods of working have many advantages. Team working has been viewed as a valuable way of improving performance, and quality of working life in a health care setting. Teamwork will accomplish a task more effectively and efficiently than an individual effort. Working in a team requires effective communication. For teamwork to be successful, it is important that every member of the team has patience or tolerance for the opinions of the rest of the team members.

When members respect each other’s opinions, there will not only be an increase in productivity, but in teamwork itself. The development of an effective team requires a positive attitude and commitment toward teamwork, along with an understanding of what teamwork involves. REFERENCES Caldwell, K. , Atwal, A. , Copp, G. , Brett-Richards, M. , & Coleman, K. (2006). Preparing for practice: how well are practitioners prepared for teamwork. British Journal of Nursing, (15) 22, 1250-1254 Canadian Health Services Research Foundation. (June 2006).

Teamwork in healthcare: Promoting effective teamwork in healthcare in Canada. Policy synthesis and recommendation. Retrieved October 13, 2010 From: Http://www. Chsrf. Ca/Research_Themes/Pdf/TeamworkSynthesisReport_ E. Pdf Kearney-Nunnery, R. (2008). Advancing your Career: Concepts of Professional Nursing (4th ed). Philadelphia: F. A. Davis. Tyrer, J. (2004). What lessons can we learn from effective teamwork? Nursing & Residential Care. 6 (2), 86-88 Xyrichis, A. & Ream, E. (2007). Teamwork: a concept analysis. Journal of Advanced Nursing: Theoretical paper. 61, 232–241.

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