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Bringing different perspectives to bear on health care
  1. T Smith
  1. Senior Policy Analyst, Health Policy & Economic Research Unit, British Medical Association, London WC1H 9JR, UK;

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    This JournalScan concentrates on two issues. The first two papers examine interprofessional collaboration and find that doctors and nurses tend to understand the term in different ways. The rest of the papers concentrate on ways of better relating community and group voices to health care so that services can be more responsive.

    Interprofessional collaboration in English hospitals ▸

    This paper begins by making the point that “enhancing collaboration between different health and social care professionals is a key aspect of modernising health and social care systems” but notes that “in practice … factors such as insufficient time for team building, confused team roles, the effects of professional socialisation, power and status differentials, and the vertical management of professionals can all undermine attempts to work collaboratively”.

    The study examines the meaning different professionals attach to their collaborative work. The research was undertaken in the general and emergency medical directorate of a large inner city teaching hospital in the south of England and draws on “individual and group interviews” with doctors, nurses, therapists, and social workers (n = 49) as well as “participant observation of ward based work” over 3 months.

    Observation concentrated on two wards. The first had retained the traditional “Nightingale” arrangement with 27 beds organised in long dormitories. The nurses’ station was located at the entrance to the ward. The second ward had a more modern design with the 27 beds organised into three bays and the nurses’ station situated between two of the bays. In both cases the bays were the focal point for verbal interaction between professionals.

    The researchers found that interprofessional collaboration consisted largely of short, unstructured, and often opportunistic interactions. They found wards busy and therefore not conducive to drawn out discussions. They also saw that a large number of professionals come and go and the wards had up to 15 doctors from …

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