4 ways Maine Medical Center boosts teamwork in residency training

Portland-based Maine Medical Center is improving teamwork at the physician residency training level with its Interprofessional Partnerships to Advance Care and Education (iPACE) program, according to a Nov. 8 article on the American Medical Association website.

The program improves interprofessional collaboration and cohesive work dynamics. Here are four ways it boosts teamwork:

Collaborate as much as possible

Multiple members of the care team, including physicians, nurses, pharmacists and occupational therapists, do rounds together at Maine Medical.

"Don't go see a patient alone," Kalli Varaklis, MD, principal investigator on the iPACE program, said. "Talk to the nurse and bring them in with you. If you see the occupational therapist on the floor, grab them and go in as a group to see the patient. … You can do that when it's not structured."

Give up the boss mantle

The program aims to create a space where all voices are heard and valued to build better cohesion.

"Popular representations of medicine, TV shows like 'Grey's Anatomy,' and some of the experiences in more traditional medical schools really tee up medical students to think that when they come to residency, they're the head of the team," Dr. Varaklis said. "And it's just not like that anymore in an iPACE setting — or not an iPACE setting. Nobody wants to feel undervalued in a healthcare team."

Create cohesion

Small interactions can build cohesion with new team members. The program asks residents to introduce themselves to new team members and try to have an interaction outside of the clinical realm during a shift to create psychological safety within the team.

Make the patient a teammate

Patients are the center of all care decisions but are often forgotten during chaotic shifts. Approaching patients in tandem with members of the care team keeps everyone focused on the patient and keeps patients engaged in their care plan.

"It is a way to demystify medicine for the patient and it allows this opportunity for the patient to peek into the process," Melissa Zelaya-Floyd, PhD, iPACE's program manager, said in the article. "Additionally, it gives the patient the opportunity to have a voice in developing the plan of care. And it extends beyond the patient to the family as well."

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