Patient gratitude can positively affect care team performance

Gratitude from patients has a significantly positive effect on the performance of a medical team, according to a study published in Pediatrics.

The study involved 43 neonatal intensive care unit teams, each comprising two physicians and two nurses. The teams were randomly assigned to one of four simulations:

• Maternal gratitude, where the mother of a preterm infant expressed gratitude to NICU teams
• Expert gratitude, where a physician expert expressed gratitude to teams
• Combined maternal and expert gratitude
• Control

Maternal gratitude positively affected teams' performances, and the enhancement in performance was mostly attributed to team information sharing. Forty percent of the variance in team information sharing among the four simulations was explained by maternal gratitude. Information sharing predicted team performance outcomes.

"Patient-expressed gratitude significantly enhances medical team performance, with much of this effect explained by enhanced information sharing," study authors concluded.

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