Sunday 30 April, 2006

Embrace the multidisciplinary team

Posted in Advice, Emergency Dept., Michael Tam, Wards, Workplace at 12:51 by Michael Tam

Original article by: Michael Tam :: Printer friendly

The multidisciplinary team

Doctors are just one part of the team.

The concept of the “multidisciplinary team” in health care is alive and real and if you are not already used to it, then you need to quick. The nursing staff and allied health (i.e., dieticians, occupational therapists, social workers, physiotherapists, speech pathologists, etc.) are as much part of the team as you are.

Actually this is a great thing as it off-loads a lot of work that you might otherwise have had to do. For instance, the social workers take much better social histories than you do and unlike most doctors, generally have perfectly legible handwriting so you can read their summaries. Better yet, they know all sorts of social work interventions in the community so they can actually do something about it too.

Similarly, rather than guessing what someone’s function is, a physiotherapy and occupational therapy assessment is usually easy to arrange. Physiotherapists, also, generally put on better plaster casts.

During your time as a junior doctor, try to learn what skills and resources the nursing staff and allied health can offer and then use them where you can. That’s what they are employed for and you will be providing better care for your patients. Less work for you, better health outcomes, it’s a win-win situation.

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