Collaboration Collaboration, simply put, is the interaction between two or more people to solve problems. The term is frequently associated with partnership and teamwork. Collaboration requires intrapersonal and clinical competence as pre-requisites for collegial relations. Hamric, Hanson, Tracy, and O’Grady’s textbook (Hanson and Carter, 2014) propose collaboration to be “the most sophisticated and complicated interaction that occurs in practice” (p. 300), yet crucial to the well-being of patients and the goal to transform healthcare. How effective are you as a collaborator? Is this a skill that you need to develop? Healthcare is fraught with with errors leading to enormous human and financial costs. Healthcare is fragmented. Providers fail to confer with each other- repeating tests, missing the mark with patient hand-offs, and working from different patient careplans. Providers have been educated in silos viewing healthcare through the lens of their discipline. Few healthcare providers were educated to be a team member; yet, evidence indicates that collaboration and teamwork improves coordination and communication. There are various forms of collaboration (multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary, and most recently interprofessional). Hamric et al. provides a comprehensive overview of these different forms of collaboration. Take time to read this overview and learn how to use these words correctly. Negotiating Conflict Conflict is inevitable; the healthcare setting is noted as one of the highest conflictual environments because of the high stress, high emotions, scarce resources, excessive regulation, workplace diversity, and multiple stakeholder demands. Reactions to conflict can span a continuum of passive to aggressive behavior. Borkowski (2009) identifies five conflict-handling modes: competition, avoidance, compromise, accommodation, and collaboration. Conflict avoidance is a common response to a conflictual situation that can lead to an explosive reaction over time. Collaboration involves highly assertive and cooperative behaviors and reflects a win-win approach to conflict. An environment that recognizes conflict as inherent and normal is fertile for creative innovation.
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