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TeamSTEPPS Seeks to Enhance Care, Team-Building


By Petty Officer 1st Class Chris Krucke

WRNMMC Public Affairs staff writer

Walter Reed Bethesda staff consistently seeks out new best practices to enhance the patient experience and deliver extraordinary patient care and for clinical departments across the medical center, as well as build stronger and more reliant teams in the work place. Team Strategies and Tools to Enhance Performance and Patient Safety (TeamSTEPPS) training is just one of many one ways, the medical center staff are working to meet those goals.

The TeamSTEPPS principles are about providing extraordinary patient care,” said Navy Lt. Cmdr. Ogwo Ogwo, service chief, 4 Center, Surgical Nursing Department.  “The class teaches skills necessary to provide quality and safe patient care,” continued the recent TeamSTEPPS course graduate.
“The goal is to have all hospital personnel trained and using the TeamSTEPPS methodology. This would make our hospital safer for our patients,” agreed Victor Mosley, TeamSTEPPS champion for Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and the National Capital Region, Medical Directorate. “As we are striving to become a High Reliability Organization (HRO), teamwork plays a pivotal role in this transformation.”
According to the WRNMMC TeamSTEPPS web page, which link can be found on the intranet under the PROGRAMS tab, “TeamSTEPPS is an evidence-based teamwork system developed jointly by the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) to improve institutional collaboration and communication relating to patient safety.  It is designed to improve the quality, safety, and efficiency of health care by improving communications and other teamwork skills among health-care professionals.”
The course includes skills necessary to communicate effectively to fellow team members, leadership skills, skills necessary to be a supportive team member, and conflict resolution skills,” Ogwo added.
The TeamSTEPPS gauges its success on testimony from evidence-based stories shared by organizations which have successfully implemented and sustained the initiative using the materials and tools discussed in the curriculum. 
At a recent AHRQ TeamSTEPPS National Conference, civilian and Department of Defense staff members from various facilities presented some of their success stories.  For example at the U.S. Naval Hospital Sigonella in Italy staff reported: “decreased late operating room starts by 48 percent; team members freely shared information and communicated safety concerns; all staff stated they feel more empowered and their concerns were being taken seriously at all levels.”
Ogwo explained the importance of TeamSTEPPS at WRB detailing how the Surgical Nursing Department uses TeamSTEPPS daily. 
“We start the day with a safety muster. In attendance is the entire unit’s staff.  During this muster the previous shift goes through any difficulty they had.  They also discuss the current census, restraints, [patient directives], any patient requiring special care, expected admissions, possible discharge, patient having procedure for the day, administrative information, current and ongoing training and equipment issue.  The team leader for each team will then communicate any information that is unique to their team.  The team leader will also articulate the plan for the day.  For all TeamSTEPPS huddle, pre-brief and debrief, every member of the team is given opportunity to voice any concern they may have,” Ogwo explained.
TeamSTEPPS instructors lead the interactive team-building classes, which include the half-day Fundamentals course designed for all clinical personnel and individuals who come in contact with patients. The Train-the-Trainer course is a 16-hour TeamSTEPPS course designed to give participants skills and knowledge to help implement a TeamSTEPPS program in their work area, whether it is an inpatient, outpatient or administrative setting, according to Mosley.
There is also the Essentials course, available for all other personnel on an as-needed basis.
For more information or to sign up your department for training, contact the TeamSTEPPS Chief of Quality, Dr. Thomas Fitzpatrick at: 301-319-8455.