A common problem that I have noticed during my two weeks in a hospital setting is that of role ambiguity. I observed a few situations where the doctors did not seem to understand the role of the radiographer and the guidelines, which they have to work within. Some of these situations did seem to cause annoyance and frustration to the radiographers. I do not wish to sound bias or insinuate that it is only the doctors who are at fault, as I am sure that it does occur across all health care professionals.
In fact one radiographer with whom I spoke to about this subject did say that she and other radiographers were guilty of similar offences. She mentioned that there were times that they expected too much from the nursing staff, asking them to do something and expecting it to be done straight away and not realising that the nurses too had there own work to do and that they are not their just to serve them. These examples highlight that there can be problems in trying to get the different health care professionals to work together.
I think that proper inter-professional working would greatly improve patient care and the running of the NHS. But to get to this stage we need to educate ourselves. The different professional groups need to learn how to communicate effectively with the different health care professionals using language that they all will understand. They need to learn to listen to and trust each other. They will need to learn new skills like how to resolve conflicts between the different professions. Each member must be able to acknowledge their area of expertise as well as their limits and take into account other members ability.
Instead of one leader, everybody should have a say and discussion between members should be the way an appropriate course of action is decided. I suppose the big question is how should we proceed in educating professionals so that they can work together effectively? As a new member of the NHS I have not yet had the opportunity to experience a team building/problem solving exercise in the work place and to be honest I don’t know how regularly these take place.
So I cannot comment on there effectiveness, but from what I have seen between the doctors, nurses and radiographers I do feel that this idea of inter-professional working should be introduced during there time spent and university and clinical placement. I think that when students are studying their respective professions they tend to get tunnel vision and begin to lose sight of the other professionals they will be working with.
They don’t seem to receive enough information or contact with these professions and so they enter the NHS with a preconceived idea of their own roles and the roles of others. I believe that each health care profession should have workshops and discussion groups where they can get familiar with working together. This will allow them to understand each other’s roles and their abilities and hopefully help them develop new team skills. They could learn how to resolve problems through discussion and utilise every body’s skills. This would better prepare them for successful inter-professional working when they enter the NHS.
In conclusion I believe that inter-professional working is fundamental to the successful running of the NHS. But I think that it has to be the right kind of inter-professional working. It cannot be just a label given to a group of health care professionals who are working together but in reality not everybody is been used to their full potential and the doctor seems to have total control in the decisions been made.
Instead we need to have a situation where each health care professional is educated and familiar with working with other health care professionals. They will communicate frequently, utilise everybody’s skills, and make decisions through group discussions and work together to provide the best care for the patient. Hopefully this constant communication and understanding of each others roles and abilities will help reduce waiting times and be cost effective for the NHS. I believe that this type of inter-professional working will play a key role in the successful running of the NHS.