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Safe teamwork


Successful teams reduce risk

Characteristics of successful teams (Page 1 of 3)


Senior physician providing feedback to team

The workplace culture supports teamwork

Team members focus on what is right for a patient and accept appropriate accountability.

Team members do not prejudge the reasons for adverse events (accidents in Québec) or blame others; they treat each other fairly, support each other, and view the team's performance and successes as group accomplishments.

Conflicts are dealt with constructively and openly. Disruptive behaviour is not permitted. For more information see disruptive behaviour.

In a culture that supports teamwork:

  • team members have clear accountability and authority
  • all strive for thorough care, attention to detail, and patient safety
  • all members of the team are listened to
  • the diversity of skills and knowledge is appreciated
  • teams are resourced adequately
  • tasks are distributed appropriately

Good workplaces provide feedback on the team's performance, and recognize and reward the team's efforts.

Roles and responsibilities are understood

Good teams:

  • define and understand the roles and responsibilities of individual members of the team
  • understand how decision-making occurs
  • distribute tasks appropriately
  • understand what knowledge and skills need to be developed
  • provide new team members with a proper orientation
  • maintain appropriate supervision

Collaborative teams employ the skills of the most appropriate healthcare provider for the care required. Team members look out for each other to detect potential problems or oversights early — before patient care is compromised.