■ Physician-team:

Leveraging the power of collaboration to foster safe care

Reflections on teams

Published: August 2021

Type of activity: Narrative

Activity summary

Writing about one's personal experience encourages self-reflection and improves self-awareness. In this activity, learners are invited to reflect, in writing, on their experiences related to teams. Faculty may choose to have learners personally explore the topic (e.g. keep a journal), or share their narratives as part of an interactive small group session. Depending upon the nature of the activity, it may be appropriate to have learners review the CMPA Good practices before or after participating in this exercise.

Note: Do not use open medico-legal cases. Patient and provider privacy and confidentiality must be maintained at all times. No names or other identifiers should be used.

Activity description

Ask learners to write about an event they observed or were involved in during their medical training or practice that they feel relates to teams or teamwork. Alternatively, learners may want to write about an event that occurred to them as recipients of healthcare, or as an observer of a friend's or family member's healthcare experiences. The event may be one that they feel reflects how teamwork supported patient care or perhaps compromised care.

Suggested content for the narrative:

  • A description of the event
  • An explanation of how this event relates to teams or teamwork
  • An explanation of how this event influenced patient care
  • The learners' reflections on the event including:
    • what worked well within the team
    • what role, if any, did the team leader play in what happened
    • what changes or improvements, if any, they would make within the team
    • how they felt at the time
    • how they currently feel about the event

Suggestions to faculty

Faculty may choose to have learners, if they feel comfortable doing so, share their narratives as part of an interactive small group session.

Examples of questions that may be used to debrief the learners' experience:

  • What did you learn from your experience?
  • How effectively did the team members communicate with each other?
  • Was the patient (SDM/family) integrated into the team? If so, how? Was the patient involved in decisions about care?
  • In what ways did the team members work together effectively to achieve a common goal?
  • Were team members respectful of each other? Discuss.
  • Was there conflict or disagreement within the team? If so, how was it resolved?
  • I would do something differently because ...

Additional resources

CanMEDS: Collaborator, Communicator

DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this learning material is for general educational purposes only and is not intended to provide specific professional medical or legal advice, nor to constitute a "standard of care" for Canadian healthcare professionals. The use of CMPA learning resources is subject to the foregoing as well as the CMPA's Terms of Use.