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Collaborative Caring: Stories and Reflections on Teamwork and Health Care

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‘Challenging, clever, frank, meaningful, informs, inspires - are just some words to describe this book.’

Title: Collaborative Caring: Stories and Reflections on Teamwork and Health Care

Edited by: Suzanne Gordon, David L Feldman & Michael Leonard

Publisher: ILR Press 

Reviewer: Jane Brocksom, urology & continence nurse specialist,Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

What was it like?

Despite expecting a heavy theoretical book on group psychology I was surprised to find a collection of 50  readable first person narratives. This book is edited by respected individuals involved in healthcare (Suzanne Gordon’s book from Silence to Voice is a recommended read). At 276 pages it is concise and provides enough conceptual and theoretical background to bring the narratives and personal reflections perspective, the narratives are lived experiences and observations from all levels of HCP and support staff on the front line of healthcare. It manages to capture the complexity but presents it as a thought provoking and inspiring read. Is the patient on the team or not? (p.67) ”….the patients experience is determined by the subtle process of receiving and responding to social cues” therefore “the patients voice needs to be at the centre of the conversation”.

What were the highlights?

These personal accounts show the level of perseverance and fortitude required to work successfully in teams and the diverse nature of team working, but not all about success - the book starts with success and then works through poor team work and the barriers to success. Brief introduction to start all eight chapters sets the scene, with supporting references; each chapter is consistently broken down into sub chapter with each narrative concise and readable. This book shows what team work is about rather than telling. The lack of an index could be an issue but an extensive notes section at the end of the book gives further reading. Here is also no conclusion or final chapter in this book, I’m almost sure this is deliberate as collaborative caring never ends.

Strengths & weaknesses:

The last two chapters are especially significant looking at the traditional limitations and changing culture required and provides effective stimulation to personally reflect. The number of contributors could be a weakness but actually is the strength of this book as it shows how diverse team work and collaborative caring is in healthcare.

Who should read it?

This book will resonate with those wanting a ”show how team work works”, rather than a theory based book. Individuals wanting a ”beyond the theory to practice and show book”. This book is a very important and timely read for healthcare professionals if only to show how to work with mutual respect and trust, flatten out the hierarchy and play, work, make, lead and be a successful team. It’s all about collaboration….

collaborative caring

collaborative caring

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