Exploring interdisciplinary teamwork to support effective ward rounds

Victoria Walton*, Anne Hogden, Janet C. Long, Julie Johnson, David Greenfield

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: This paper aims to explore if health professionals share understanding of teamwork that supports collaborative ward rounds. Design/methodology/approach: A purpose-designed survey was conducted in two acute medical and two rehabilitation wards from a metropolitan teaching hospital. Medical officers, nurses and allied health professionals participated. To understand characteristics that support collaborative ward rounds, questions developed from literature and industry experience asked: what are the enablers and challenges to teamwork; and what are clinicians’ experiences of positive teamwork? Descriptive and thematic analyses were applied to the dimensions of effective teamwork as a framework for deductive coding. Findings: Seventy-seven clinicians participated (93% response rate). Findings aligned with dimensions of teamwork framework. There was no meaningful difference between clinicians or specialty. Enablers to teamwork were: effective communication, shared understanding of patient goals, and colleague’s roles. Challenges were ineffective communication, individual personalities, lack of understanding about roles and responsibilities, and organisational structure. Additional challenges included: time; uncoordinated treatment planning; and leadership. Positive teamwork was influenced by leadership and team dynamics. Practical implications: Ward rounds benefit from a foundation of collaborative teamwork. Different dimensions of teamwork present during ward rounds support clinicians’ shared understanding of roles, expectations and communication. Originality/value: Rounds such as structured rounding, aim to improve teamwork. Inverting this concept to first develop effective collaboration will support team adaptability and resilience. This enables teams to transition between the multiple rounding processes undertaken in a single ward. The emphasis becomes high-quality teamwork rather than a single rounding process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)373-387
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance
Issue number4-5
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jul 2020


  • Clinician experience
  • Interdisciplinary
  • Teamwork
  • Ward rounds


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