Original Publication
Open Access

Teamwork and Communication in Acute Care: A Teaching Resource for Health Practitioners

Published: March 5, 2012 | 10.15766/mep_2374-8265.9109

Included in this publication:

  • Teamwork & Communication folder

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The need for cesarean birth is sometimes so urgent that regional anesthesia techniques such as spinal or epidural cannot be done quickly enough to safely deliver the baby. Primary general anesthesia for surgery is a rare event on the labor and birth unit, but is the only way in which cesarean birth can occur without jeopardizing the health and safety of the baby and/or mother. While this represents a small number of patients overall (10-12 per year in the authors’ unit), the outcome can be devastating for both mother and baby when this procedure is not well managed. The purpose of this resource is to improve patient safety and quality of care for patients who must have an emergency cesarean birth under primary general anesthesia.

This quality improvement resource emphasizes teamwork and communication in the labor and birth unit during these critical and emergent times through a series of videos depicting a pregnant woman requiring emergency cesarean birth under general anesthesia. This web-based and interactive video format is used as a clinical example that emphasizes the importance of teamwork and communication in an interdisciplinary acute care setting. Further, it is the authors hope that engagement with these videos will provoke an emotional involvement that will prime the learner to more actively participate in other medical education exercises such as debriefings after medical simulations.

Educational Objectives

By the end of this session, learners will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate characteristics of effective leadership and teamwork in an acute care setting.
  2. Identify strategies that promote patient safety by enlisting skills and attitudes of effective teamwork and communication.
  3. Demonstrate techniques that can be used for conflict resolution.
  4. Recognize and develop strategies against common barriers to effective patient care.

Author Information

  • Neil Cowie, BSc, MSc, MD, FRCP: University of Saskatchewan College of Medicine
  • Kalyani Premkumar, MBBS, MD, MSc, PhD: University of Saskatchewan
  • Angela Bowen, RN, BSN, MEd, PhD: University of Saskatchewan
  • Susan Kuling, RN: Saskatoon Health Region
  • Joann Kawchuk, BSc, MD: University of Saskatchewan
  • Mike Rooney, BSP, MD: University of Saskatchewan
  • Gary Morris, MD, FRCPC: University of Saskatchewan
  • Mark Burbridge, BSc, MB BCh BAO, BMedSci, MD: University of Saskatchewan
  • Jocelyne Martel, MD, FRCSC: University of Saskatchewan
  • Joanne Sivertson, MD: Prince Albert Parkland Health Region
  • David C. Campbell, MD, MSC, FRCPC: University of Saskatchewan
  • Cyril Coupal, PhD: University of Saskatchewan
  • Kelvin Boechler, BSc: University of Saskatchewan

None to report. 

This research was supported by a Royal University Hospital Foundation Grant, a University of Saskatchewan Matching Grant, the College of Medicine University of Saskatchewan Accreditation Fund, Frasenius-Kabi Canada, and Schering-Plough Canada Inc.

Prior Presentations
Presented at: Association for Medical Education in Europe Annual Conference; August 2011; Vienna, Austria.

Presented at: International Meeting on Simulation in Health Care Conferenc; January 2011; New Orleans, LA.

Presented at: International Symposium on Simulation Applied to Health Care in Brazil; June 2011; Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Presented at: Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN); April 2010; Montreal, Quebec, Canada.


Cowie N, Premkumar K, Bowen A, et al. Teamwork and communication in acute care: a teaching resource for health practitioners. MedEdPORTAL. 2012;8:9109. https://doi.org/10.15766/mep_2374-8265.9109