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Chapters 9, 10, and 11 deal with key processes in healthcare teamwork. These processes are important for all team members, but they have special importance for the team leader, who guides their development in the team. Chapter 9 covers decision making. This chapter examines the process of fostering creativity in teams. Chapter 11 deals with managing conflicts.

Creativity is the generation of novel ideas, plans, and solutions to problems. A related concept, innovation, commonly is used to refer to the application of creativity in the form of a new product or service. With some exceptions (Mitchell et al, 2012, p. 5), creativity typically is not listed as a required characteristic for teams and members of teams in interprofessional team care (Canadian Interprofessional Health Collaborative, 2010; Interprofessional Education Collaborative Expert Panel, 2011). This is problematic, given that creativity can add value to almost every healthcare team. Exceptions might include template teams, where members count on each other to fill predefined roles reliably without deviation, and time does not permit the team to devise new creative approaches to their work. But even in template teams, responses to surprises, mistakes, and unpredicted challenges require a degree of creativity. Also, template teams are often composed of professionals drawn from a pool such as the pool of nurses and technicians in a surgical suite. These pools can be organized to do creative work.

The need for creativity is particularly salient for problem-solving teams, including virtually all management project teams and leadership teams as well as clinical teams that wrestle with customized treatments provided to patients who differ in ways that affect their clinical needs. Quality improvement project teams, in particular, often are charged with devising creative ways to improve outcomes or save resources. For such teams, there is a strong argument that creativity should be a required competency.

Creativity in healthcare teams also can go far in avoiding some common team pitfalls, enumerated in Chapters 6 and 9. Premature consensus and groupthink, 2 common hazards, are less likely in creative environments. Another hazard for teams, fear that suppresses the expression of novel ideas, by definition is avoided in teams that encourage creativity.

Creativity is a mysterious capability, to some degree. However, scholars of innovation and creativity have introduced several useful concepts that sharpen awareness of relevant team processes so that team structure, culture, and processes can be shaped to be more supportive of creativity. In addition, there is a wide range of formal tools for helping to generate team creativity. These concepts and tools are covered in this chapter.

Shawn Jackson, MSN, PNP, a pediatric nurse practitioner, was particularly excited about Wednesday's quality improvement project team meeting. Mr. Jackson worked in a clinic closely associated with a community hospital.

The goal of the quality improvement team was to devise a ...

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